Archive for the ‘General’ category

The End of a Long Sabbatical

July 17, 2007
paperwork2.jpg The end of the long sabbatical that I have been forced to take from this blog site may be nearing.  Work, of all things, has kept me from keeping it updated with the frequent posts and content that had been fairly consistent up until a few months ago. 

After many months, however, it appears that the current project which has required most of my attention is finally wrapping up.  After a little more catching up in the work world, I will be able to continue in the consistent manner you had come to expect. 

Stay Tuned…I’ve got a lot to say and a lot of catching up to do.

Songs of the States

January 6, 2007

us-map.jpg 

A few of my friends and I were sitting around one night after one or two drinks and discovered something.  Please keep in mind as I tell you this that we were not exactly in our right minds, many of us had been traveling to various states as of late, and most of us are originally from different parts of the United States.  What we discovered was, most of the titles listed as official state songs were lame.  Thus began the debate:  If you were to pick new songs for states, what would they be?

We came up with several titles for various states (Examples are listed below) some retained the official state song, other states had so many suggestions that debate has continued as to which would be most appropriate.  And so, after much consideration, we open the floor to the readers of The Report Card.

To nominate a song, or to vote for one previously nominated, please visit the Songs of the 50 States page.  

Examples:

Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd – Obviously the appropriate song for the state.

Alaska

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice – Hey, I felt that Ice Ice Baby should be in here somewhere; what other state would be better? 

Idaho

My Own Private Idaho – B52’s – An obvious choice due to the title and the lyrics

Iowa

American Pie – Don McClean – Written about the day that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash in Iowa.

Kansas

Southbound 35 – Pat Green – A great song about why living in Texas will always be better than living in Kansas City.

Kentucky

My Old Kentucky Home – Stephen Foster – The current state song, it would be a shameful to change it.

Oklahoma

Theme song from the musical OKLAHOMA – An obvious choice, but still appropriate

South Dakota

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Indigo Girls – The state is known for it’s history as part of the Western Frontier.  Wounded Knee is in Southwest South Dakota.

Tennessee

Rocky Top – Felice & Boudleaux Bryant – The current state song, and still good to listen to.

Texas

Songs About Texas – Pat Green – A song about all the songs written about Texas

Vermont

I kissed a girl – Jill Sobule – 1st State to allow gay civil unions

The First 100

January 4, 2007

As the clock ticks down to January 4th, when Democrats take control of the House and Senate, they are reminded of their “First 100 Hours” promises.  Those that may stand in the way of accomplishing Pelosi’s promises are not only Republicans, but anti-war Democrats as well.  Protesters lead by Cindy Sheehan, demanding that the Democrats cut funding for the war and bring the troops home beforedoing anything else, showed up during the Democrats press conference on lobby reform today.  They were so disruptive, that the intended speaker actually gave up and left the room. 

Pelosi has made many promises for the Democrats first 100 hours in control, but cutting funding and bringing the troops home was not one of them.  Will the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party keep the party from acting on the things they actually promised in the First 100 Hours?  Probably not.  Will they be very, very unhappy when they see that bringing the troops home is not the Democrats first priority?  Absolutely.  Will the American people see that the Democrats may be rendered ineffective by extremist elements they happily embrace during campaign fund raisers?  Time will tell.

 Let’s examine what Pelosi has promised for the First 100 Hours of the Democratically controlled Congress.  The first two are what would be considered the minimum.  The rest have been labeled as “if we have time”.

  1. Put new rules into place to break the link between lobbyists and legislation
  2. Enact ALL the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001
  3. Raise the Minimum Wage
  4. Cut Interest Rates on Student Loans in Half
  5. Allow government to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to get a better price for medicare recipients
  6. Broaden stem cell research
  7. Pay as you go spending policy – no deficit increase

It will be interesting to watch the effectiveness of the Democrats over the next 100 hours, stay tuned for results.

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.

Should We Stay or Should We Go?

December 13, 2006

In his speech announcing his candidacy for President in 2008, Dennis Kucinich said he was running because the Democratic Party has been ineffective in getting our troops out of Iraq.  According to Yahoo News, Kucinich said “”We Democrats were put back in power to bring some sanity back to our nation…We were expected to do what we said we were going to do — get out of Iraq.”

Even though Kucinich has been in Congress for 12 years, perhaps he hasn’t taken the time to study the workings of American Government.  His party has not yet taken power.  How can he claim this prior to his party taking Congressional power back?  It is an interesting question, however, as Kucinich probably sees the Democrats as unwilling to cut funding for the troops and simply pull out of the war.  If the Democrats do not cut funding, would they be neglecting campaign promises?  Not necessarily.

As is the case with most politicians, many Democrats did not put a time line on this promise.  Therefore any action, including acting only in an advisory role to the President, could be construed as living up to their promise…as long as it leads to America getting out of Iraq, eventually.  Kucinich, and others who demand an immediate withdrawal, can be considered farther left than the mainstream Democrat.  Most Democrats, as well as Republicans, agree that an immediate withdrawl would lead to cataclysmic consequences for the Iraqi people.  I contend that an immediate withdrawal would be the most morally bankrupt action the United States has ever taken.

Those who fail to see what effect an immediate withdrawal  would have on Iraqi’s, not to mention the entire Middle East, are so wrapped up in their ideological beleifs that the probable massive loss of life following such a decision seems of little consequence to them.  Should this extreme leftist viewpoint prevail, the genocide would most likely be blamed on the Bush administration.

The current administration is to blame for the loss of life (Iraqi, American, and others) that has already occurred in Iraq.  Because of it’s previous actions, the administration would certainly share the blame of any genocide that would occur after American withdrawal; but if that withdrawal is immediate, the far left will also be to blame for the political pressure they have placed on the administration.  Although unpopular, the best course of action is to stay until the job is done.  Changing strategy instead of staying the course is a good idea, but that strategy must include Iraqi stability prior to American withdrawal.

Swamped Officials Turn to the Honor System

December 2, 2006

Thursday, the Federal Election Commission asked politicians and contributors to consider reporting their own possible violations of campaign finance laws.

 Following this fine example of law enforcement, the St. Louis Police Department said Thursday afternoon that it was going to try a similar system.  “After the recent survey that ranked St. Louis as the most dangerous city in America, we had to try something different…my job was on the line”, said Chief of Police Max McBride.  McBride’s solution is a three part plan. 

First, he has told the police force to stay at their respective precincts on Friday and not to venture out under any circumstances.  He then went on television early Friday morning and let St. Louis citizens know that if they think they may have committed a possible crime, to go into their local police station and turn themselves in.  Lastly, McBride offered concessions to those who followed the program.  “We will make sure that every person who turns themselves in will get the most comfortable jail cells, with the cleanest corner toilets.  We have also promised them that they can sit on the opposite side of the dinning hall from violent offenders”.  When The Report Card asked what he would do if a violent offender turned himself in and requested to sit at the opposite side of the dinning hall from the other violent offenders, McBride seemed confused and had no comment.

Things seem to be going well so far for the police chief this Friday.  As of this morning, the holding cells and booking departments of every squad in St. Louis are the slowest they’ve been in five decades.  Additionally, phones at the 911 emergency center and at police headquarters are not ringing as much as they have in the past few years.  Rumors that a record number of people encountering busy signals when they called these numbers could not be confirmed at this time.

 “It’s simply Amazing”, the chief commented.  “We haven’t had one person come through those doors and confess to committing a crime.  This is the slowest day for booking I have ever seen.  It looks as if this program has made St. Louis virtually crime free.  If this kind of public response continues, we’ll be back below Detroit before you know it.” 

Editors Note:  The Report Card sent seven reporters into St. Louis to follow up on this story starting Friday morning.  None of them have been heard from since.  We’ve called the St. Louis police department to report them missing, but each time we tried the phone was busy.  Chief McBride called us around Friday at noon to tell us the good news about his program.  When we asked about our missing reporters, he said he was certain that if anything had happened to them, the responsible parties would be turning themselves in shortly.

Pelosi Makes a Good Decision

November 29, 2006
nancy-pelosi-2.jpg In a brief moment of lucidity, future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decided to reject the bid of Deomocrat Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida to Chair the House Intelligence Committee.  Hastings was impeached as a federal judge in 1989 after being brought up on corruption charges.  He learned about the decision during a meeting with Pelosi on Tuesday.

I’m honestly surprised by this.  Hastings had the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group which Pelosi will need in order to push through most of her 100 hours agenda.  I doubted that she would reject Hastings in fear of upsetting them.  My article on the Democrat Culture of Coruption all ready to go had Pelosi given the nod of approval to Hastings.  It started by stating, after running on a Republican Culture of Corruption campaign in the 2006 election, Democrats have decided to appoint a former federal judge, who was impeached after being brought up on corrutption charges, to chair the House Intelligence Committee.  After the Murtha for majority leader debacle, I suspect Pelosi is trying very hard not to step into anything too sticky until January.

We must, however, give Pelosi some credit here.  After all, it takes guts to stand up to the Congressional Black Caucus, even when their candidate is an impeached federal judge.  Credit Pelosi for a good decision on this one, by keeping those who have been formally impeached from attaining House Committee Leadership Positions.  Of course, if the people of Florida were smart enough to keep the formally impeached from being elected to the House of Representatives, Pelosi wouldn’t have to watch out for this kind of trap.