Archive for December 2006

SMU Expected To Receive Presidential Library

December 22, 2006

SMU's Dallas Hall

A little after 3:00 pm (EST) The Drudge Report provided a letter from SMU President R. Gerald Turner regarding the current status of the George W. Bush Presidential Library Selection Process.  The Letter Reads:

December 21, 2006
TO: SMU Students, Faculty and Staff
FROM: R. Gerald Turner, President

It is my pleasure to inform you that Don Evans, Chairman of the George W. Bush Presidential Library Search Committee, notified us that SMU has been selected by the Committee for the next phase of planning discussions. These discussions will begin after the first of the year.

We do not know how long these discussions will take. However, any significant announcement concerning the process will come from Chairman Evans. Today at 2:30 pm SMU is hosting a press availability to which Trustees and the campus community are invited. The press availability will be held in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom.

We are obviously delighted to have reached this final stage of the selection process.

This is not the first time that SMU has been in the running for a Presidential Library.  It was also considered as a location for the George H. W. Bush library.  An honor that was eventually bestowed upon Texas A&M University in College Station. 

As an alumni of Southern Methodist University, I will be proud to have the George W. Bush Presidential Library at my former school.  Should SMU receive the final approval, it will be a fantastic addition to an already phenomenal campus. 

SMU Main Campus Entrance 

Some of SMU’s other well know institutions include the Cox School of Business, which is consistently rated as one of the top Business Schools in the World.  Meadows School of the Arts is nationally recognized for it’s Theatre, Dance, and Music curriculum.  SMU is also home to a wide variety of Centers & Institutes Including:  The Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, Temerlin Advertising Institute, Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, London Forum, John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, and the Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Evangelism.

Advertisements

The Name Game

December 21, 2006

Labeling certain people or certain types of groups negatively seems to be on the increase in society.  For example, it’s easy to call someone with a different point of view a “left wing cook” or a right wing wacko”.  We often hear these and other terms used by the talking heads on television; and we read them every day in the blogoshpere.  The labeling and wording used in posts (such as “track record of dishonesty”) only serve to inflame, rather than inspire, analytical debate.

Labeling someone in this manner is simply taking the lazy, easy, way out.  It is much easier to do this than, for instance, examine someone’s point of view and challenge it in the realm of political thought when it disagrees with your own.  Currently, the most popular form of labeling seems to be against the President of the United States.

Words like dumb, moron, imbecile, and stupid are used daily on a wide variety of blogs to describe Mr. Bush.  When these words are used to describe anyone, particularly the President, I usually stop reading a post at that point.  So what has the person posting achieved?  He certainly hasn’t changed my mind on any issue and has (to me) described with the use of one word or phrase exactly the type of person he is.  If one is looking to change the mind of someone else, usually the best method is not to resort to name calling of any kind.  Rather, challenge the ideas with counter points of your own in a clear, concise manner.

Too many talking heads and bloggers use the name calling, “hit and run”, method to try and express their points of view.  Following are some examples of posts, articles, and people that use labeling to try and bolster their own beliefs by tearing down others.  Are they contributing anything to the public debate?  Do they care?

PresidentMoron.com / Canadian official called Bush ‘a moron’ / Another Idiot in Congress / Another Virginia Congressional Whack Job / The Outrageous Silence of Dumb & Dumber

Some of these sites even have some interesting ideas, but most are simply full of hate.  For those that actually do have good content, it’s too bad that all but other’s who already have similar points of view have turned a deaf ear once the name calling begins.  For no one with an opposing point of view is going to sift through the trash to find a coherent argument.  If the objective of the writter is to change the opinions of those who do not agree, he has not acheived his goal.

Thanks to Stephen for his comments on my post “Should We Stay or Should We Go?“.  His contributions assisted me in shaping my point of view on this issue.

Dems’ Grade Updated

December 20, 2006

The first update of The Dems’ Grade is complete.  The grade rose a bit from it’s original B- to a B.  Although the national unemployment rating slipped a tenth of a percentage point, the rise is negligible.  Additionally, the rise in the 30 year fixed mortgage standard was offset by a climbing Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ Composite Index, and S&P 500 Index.

 You may remember that The Report Card began grading the Democrats just after the election.  This was done because, although they are not yet in power, the 2006 election put Democrats in a position to take some of the credit for government’s successes and failures.  As future events unfold, other categories may be monitored as well as the one’s currently displayed on the page.  As always, you are welcome to suggest categories that should be added for future grading.

Clinton / Obama Ticket May Spell Dem Disaster

December 19, 2006

With the buzz beginning regarding the 2008 Presidential Campaign, certain candidates are already starting to stand out as “front runners”.  Recently, some liberal talking heads have seemed almost giddy over the prospect of a ticket containing both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Even some Republicans admit that the prospect of this ticket has them fearful of Democrats taking the White House in 2008.  But before Democrats parade their anointed ones to the stage at the Democratic Convention, they may want to consult the history books.

 Since practically anything can happen between now and the primaries (character assassination, scandal, insufficient funds to continue), it is virtually impossible to know who will come out ahead after Super Tuesday.  However, recent history shows us that an electable ticket must have a Southern name on it.  Only one ticket since 1929 has succeeded in winning the White House without one.  The exception was Republican Richard Nixon (California) when he ran successfully with Spiro Agnew (Maryland) in 1968 and 1972.  Does this spell doom for a Clinton / Obama ticket in 2008?  Possibly, but arguments can be made for this ticket eluding the history books as well.

Some will argue that Hillary Clinton is from the South.  After all, Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas before earning his ticket to the White House.  However, Hillary has solidified herself as a New York politician with her Senatorial victories; and has primarily been backed by northeast liberal donations.  Others will argue that this ticket will be about breaking more than just one historical norm; as the first Presidential ticket with an African American and a woman on it.  Will the novelty of the ticket be enough to override the influence Southern States seem to have on our electoral process?  Only time will tell.

Should the Democrats decide (due to history or other factors) that a Clinton / Obama ticket is not the best option for 2008, then what would the alternatives be?  Although it seems a bit ridiculous to begin seriously discussing candidates with the election more than 22 months away, the last few elections have shown that those who can get a jump start on fund raising often have the advantage going into Iowa and New Hampshire.  Of course a lot can happen in 22 months, but just for fun let’s use the historical formula depicted above to see who may have good potential for a 2008 victory.  This list was obtained from Wikipedia, and can be found here.

Rebuplican
John Cox – Illinois
Michael Smith – Oregon
Sam Brownback – Kansas
Duncan Hunter – California
Rudy Giuliani – New York
John McCain – Arizona
Tommy Thompson – Wisconsin
Jim Gilmore – Virginia
Newt Gingrich – Georgia
Chuck Hagel – Nebraska
Mike Huckabee – Arkansas
Frank Keating – Oklahoma
George Pataki – New York
Mitt Romney – Massachusetts
Tom Tancredo – Colorado
Democrat
Mike Gravel – Alaska
Dennis Kucinich – Ohio
Tom Vilsack – Iowa
Joe Biden – Delaware
Wesley Clark – Arkansas
Hillary Clinton – New York
Christopher Dodd – Connecticut
John Edwards – North Carolina
John Kerry – Massachusetts
Barack Obama – Illinois
Bill Richardson – New Mexico
Al Sharpton – New York

This may get a bit controversial, but let’s pair this list down to those that I consider to actually have a shot at making it to Super Tuesday.  Based on lack of national name recognition (i.e. lack of funding), we’ll eliminate the following candidates: Cox, Smith, Hunter, Gilmore, Hagel, Keating, Tancredo, and Gravel. Based on idealistic beliefs (i.e. too far right or left), we’ll eliminate the following candidates: Brownback, Gingrich, Kucinich, Clark, and Sharpton. We will also eliminate those candidates who have successfully obtained their party’s nomination before and lost, as very few are nominated again: Kerry, Edwards. Anyone’s blood boiling yet, I told you it would get controversial.

Rebuplican
Rudy Giuliani – New York
John McCain – Arizona
Tommy Thompson – Wisconsin
Mike Huckabee – Arkansas
George Pataki – New York
Mitt Romney – Massachusetts
Democrat
Tom Vilsack – Iowa
Joe Biden – Delaware
Hillary Clinton – New York
Christopher Dodd – Connecticut
Barack Obama – Illinois
Bill Richardson – New Mexico

From the list above, something interesting develops:  there are no candidates from the South remaining on the Democratic side of the list.  If the assumptions made above regarding who will make it to Super Tuesday prove accurate, history would indicate that the Democratic ticket may have some electability problems come election day.  To be fair, this assumes that Republicans have someone from the South on their ticket (Mike Huckabee).  Should the Republicans come away from their National Convention without a southern candidate on the ticket, the election would seem to be a toss up, historically speaking.

Although any of the assumptions made above may become moot as we get closer to the primaries and election day, they are no more unrealistic than those political pundants who are already overjoyed by the prospect of a Clinton / Obama Presidential ticket.  Personally, assuming the Republicans have a Southern politician on the ticket, I would love to see a Clinton / Obama Democratic ticket.  After all, historical data is very rarely wrong when predicting who will win the Presidency.

Live Nativity Scene Goes PC

December 15, 2006

After reports of holiday trees going up…then down…then back up again and focus group results showing a better reception to the greeting of “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas”, the Hope Lutheran Church of Jessieville Arkansas has voted to slightly modify it’s live nativity scene.  According to Church council member Kevin Schmidt, the move was made to avoid lawsuits from other religious groups and Secular Prgressives who may have been offended by the old display.  “We always hold our Nativity Scene in the town park”, Schmidt said, “in order to keep it in the park, we are going to have to make minor changes to avoid lawsuits.

live-nativity-original.jpg

Sources say that the display will no longer be called a Live Nativity Scene, as that may be offensive.  Instead it will be dubbed a Live Holiday Birthing Event.  Additionally, some of the characters will be defined differently.  The traditional Virgin Mary has been replaced by Mary, the teenage girl who continues to deny having pre-marital sex…even after giving birth.  Joseph, of course, has been removed completely in an effort not to offend anyone regarding the ideals of a traditional family.  The wise men will be changed to represent the likeness of Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen G. Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – arguably the three most liberal justices.  The Angels will be replaced by a group of ACLU lawyers who insist that they are the true saviors.  The shepherds will not change at all, except they will be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour instead of their traditional goats milk and stale cheese.

Market analysts have also suggested that the following additional changes be made to up the income from the free will donation jar placed near the new Birthing Event.  The church council will vote on these early next week; all are expected to pass.  The stable will be said to represent the current plight of the American homeless.  The star will be replaced by a realistic looking UFO (to draw the Roswell crowd).  Finally, the Oxen will represent the solidarity to make Christmas more of a Holiday event for everyone…not just Christians.

live-nativity-modified.jpg

Mildred Hue, a fiery old widow serving on the church council, has made a suggestion of her own.  She suggests that the Ass be made to represent all those who take political correctness too seriously.  The council seems split on this motion, not wanting to offend Mildred, or all those who take political correctness too seriously.  Schmidt remarked “The last thing we want to do is to offend, or be perceived to be offending, anyone”.

Kevin,
From all of us here at the Report Card,
Good Luck My Friend…Good Luck.


In a related story, the mayor of Las Cruses, New Mexico (Spanish for “The Crosses”) has proposed renaming the town to avoid future lawsuits.  The new name of the town would be Ciudad del T’s minúsculo.  The rough English translation is “City of the lower case T’s”.  The mayor admits that he came up with the idea after watching an episode of South Park, where a lower case letter “t” was used instead of a cross.

Thurston County Lags Behind

December 14, 2006

nebraska-map.jpg 

According to the official web site of the state of Nebraska, Thurston county is one of only 12 counties in the state that does not currently have a web site.  The other counties include Arthur, Boyd, Furnas, Grant, Greeley, Harlan, Logan, McPherson, Sheridan, Thomas, and Wheeler.  For Thurston to be included in this “special” group of 12 is reprehensible.

Nebraska county web sites vary in the degree of information they provide, but all serve as an important vehicle of communication to it’s citizenry.  A typical county site is one like the Pawnee County Web Site.  Their site contains links for a public meeting calendar, county services, elected officials, and county election results.  The site seems to be fairly up-to-date and is organized in a way that allows the user to easily find information.  They could, however, at least post something in their local news section.

pawnee-county-web-site.jpg

The best Nebraska county web site, an example for all, is the Douglas county web site.  It has very good information including current and upcoming county events, Douglas County Government Employment Opportunities, information on obtaining Marriage Licenses, Vehicle Registrations, and Home Valuations, even live and archived on-line broadcasts of county board meetings.  Honorable mentions go to both Lancaster and Buffalo Counties for great site design, visual attractiveness and content.  Cuming County (just south of Thurston County) also has a very good site.  It is the best site based on content and visual attractiveness of any county that borders Thurston County. 

Douglas county gets an A+ for the extras, particularly for the on-line broadcasts.  Although I’m personally not fond of the visual attractiveness of the site, it’s design is functional and it’s content is superb.  Buffalo and Lancaster Counties get a grade of A for visual attractiveness and site content.  Cuming County receives a B+ for the same reasons.  As for Thurston County’s other neighbors, here are short reviews of their web sites. 

cuming-county-web-site.jpg

Dakota County (B):  The Web Site is both informative and somewhat entertaining.  The unique thing I found on this site is a PDF link to an EPA Crossword Puzzle on Storm Water Runoff.  Like most sites, election results are posted, as is a calendar for upcoming meetings.  Visual attractiveness could use some work when compared to Cuming County, but is above that of most.  Content is harder to find as the user must scroll down the page to find the links, but it’s there.

Dixon County (C):  All pertinent information for county services and officials is on the site.  However, no election results were posted and there was no news under the “news link”.  It also appears that the Dixon County History link is broken.  A very functional site, but the “extras” need some work and it needs to be updated more often.

Wayne County (C):  A fantastically designed site promoting both the city and county of Wayne.  Exemplary for any rural town trying to attract the interest of industry and future residents.  One problem though, the site has very little county content.  Unlike most county sites, I could not find a county services page or links to county election results.  There is more fluff on the page promoting the city of Wayne than actual county content.  Another thing I noticed, the only mention of any town on the web site is Wayne itself.  If I were a resident of Carroll or Winside, I’d be pissed.  The site gets the same grade as Dixon because they’ve missed the mark by not providing county services information, and focusing exclusively on only one town in the county.

wayne-county-web-site.jpg

Burt County (C+):  Much like the Dixon County site, the Burt county site is good on content but could use some attention on the “extras”.  It does, however, have a great calendar of local events that take place within the county.  The site is nicely designed and information is easy to find.  Burt gets a little higher grade than Dixon because of the visual attractiveness of the site.

As for Thurston County, it gets an F for not even making an effort.  When only 12 of 93 Nebraska counties do not have a web site, this is inexcusable.  Additionally, it is the only eastern county in the state to not have one; and western counties with much smaller populations have managed to pull it off.  It’s time that county officials bring Thurston County into the 1990’s and get a web site published.  It will, of course, take time for the site to be as functional and visually attractive as some of the other sites listed in this article, but having something is much better than nothing at all.

It should be mentioned that the local Pender-Thurston Community Foundation has a web site that posts information relative to Western Thurston County.  Included on this site is information pertaining to local businesses, community events, and community services; as well as information for new residents in the area.  The site is very informative, but cannot be counted as an official county site as it does not pertain to anyone living within Thurston County outside of the Pender-Thurston area.  It also doesn’t, nor should it, list other official county information stated as examples in some of the reviews above.  Listing this information is the responsibility of county government; it should not have to fall on the shoulders of a local charitable organization.

Links:

State of Nebraska Web Site

Listing of Nebraska Counties with Web Sites

Pawnee County Web Site

Douglas County Web Site

Wayne County Web Site

Cuming County Web Site

Dakota County Web Site

Dixon County Web Site

Burt County Web Site

Saudi Arabia Gets It, Why Can’t The Extreme Left?

December 13, 2006

The New York Times is reporting that Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that it may financially assist Iraqi Sunni’s in any war that breaks out with the Shiites due to an American troop withdrawal.

What I fail to understand is the reasoning behind those on the left who continue to insist that Congress pull funding and bring our troops home now.  Do they not comprehend what the rest of the world finds to be such an obvious concept?  Is it entirely impossible for them to realize that American troops are the only plug in a genocidal dam that would most likely burst as soon as the last American boot left Baghdad?

Arguments can be made on both sides as to whether or not Iraq is already engulfed in civil war.  That point, however, is minor compared to what would happen  if American troops would leave before the country is stabilized.  Should Saudi Arabia support the Suni’s, and Iran Support the Shiites after an American pull-out, it is quite possible that the “civil war” in Iraq would grow into a regional conflict.  We, as American’s, cannot allow this to happen. 

Once we began this conflict by ousting Saddam from power, going home at our convenience was no longer an option.  Immediate withdrawal just isn’t a valid choice given the current situation.  It’s time all Americans wake up to this reality.