Archive for the ‘In The News’ category

Banana’s deserve our protection too…

March 16, 2007


By:  Fred Jackson 

After installing democracy in various developing countries throughout the world, don’t you think we should begin protecting our food supply from those that wish to harm Americans?  Chiquita Banana brand attempted to do just that by hiring a local security firm to provide protection for their banana plantations, and was punished for their good intentions.

I always assumed that the major cost of banana production was incurred in the supply chain.  Boy was I wrong… Fox News reported that the Chiquita banana corporation was fined $25 Million USD for it’s payments to a highly trained security organization that happens to be on the US Terrorist watch list.  The company admitted to paying upwards of $1 Million USD to the United Self-Defense forces of Columbia who is on the Terrorist watch list for their part in ongoing civil conflicts within Columbia.  Hopefully, we can trust that our leading potassium supplier is still inspired to protect their precious cargo from all elements which cause harm.  

After a search for alternate means of protection, I came up with the following:

  1. Banana Guard – whose curved shape gets criticized for not “fitting” all bananas
  2. Banana Bunker – Preferred choice of housewives who enjoy the ribbed edges
  3. Traditional Method – Demonstration video of how to prevent a banana attack

Hopefully Chiquita is still going to maintain their protection of our food supply, and I encourage them to investigate the above protection methods as soon as possible to help insure our families are safe.  Chiquita Bananas, I applaude your effort to keep our food supply safe, and I love the hot latino with the fruity headdress… Keep up the good work!


“Super” Cows Threaten The World

January 10, 2007


Okay, so it’s not that bad…No 200 foot cow is going to walk off of the plains of West Texas, take a stink on Dallas, and suffocate an entire metro population.  However, news of “super cows” in Britain showed up in the Daily Mail today and are being seen by some as a threat to the nation’s food supply.  These cows promise to deliver 70 pints of milk per day and could lead to a source of cheaper food.

 The Problem?  The cows are second generation clones…embryos from a cow that is a clone of a champion dairy Holstein.  Only one has been born so far, but it has four “brothers” rumored to be on the way.  As one can imagine, this development has raised quite a stir in Britain; a country that has been fearful of even accepting genetically engineered U.S. grain products in the past.

Concerns raised vary from quality of life of the animal to “purity” (if that’s the correct word) of the food product itself.  Clones have shown to have shorter life spans than traditionally bread animals and seem to suffer from imperfections that lead to early arthritis and other ailments.  Although adverse effects on human populations eating food that is cloned (or genetically engineered) have not been proven, there are those who are concerned about the possibility.  The positive effect of allowing cloned or genetically engineered food to be used for human consumption is simple:  cheaper food.

Higher food supply will lower the cost of food on the world market.  This could allow countries to feed their own populations and have some left over to help feed other populations that are starving.  More supply on the world market would lead to a reduced cost in the effort of doing so.  If the food continues to prove benign, why wouldn’t we allow it to be used to help feed those who don’t have enough?  It seems to make perfect sense to continue along this path and see if it leads us to a larger food supply for a growing world population.

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.

Gay Sheep Are People Too?

January 1, 2007


According to the Times Online, Scientists at Oregon State University are conducting experiments to genetically remove traits in sheep that may cause them to be born with homosexual tendencies.  It has raised fears of one day being able to reverse homosexual tendencies in humans prior to birth.  This research, of course, raises many ethical and Constitutional questions. 

The ethical questions are numerous, but the primary issues can be summarized into two categories.  The first, animal rights involving genetic research.  Testing on animals has always contained a controversial element, and animal rights activists have fought hard to protect them against harm.  Genetically altering animals to eliminate certain traits would fall under the same category of genetically enhancing animals to possess certain desirable traits.  This practice has been going on for years involving livestock used in the agricultural industry.  It has been labeled by animal rights activists as cruelty, particularly when the desirable trait that may improve marketability leads to a decrease in the quality of life for the animal.  The second ethical category involves the assumption that the supposed homosexuality trait is bad.

When researchers begin studying how to remove homosexual tendencies genetically, it must be assumed that the researchers’ premise contains the idea that homosexual behavior is undesirable.  Some would agree with this statement.  Others would argue that homosexual behavior is benign in its effects on society as a whole.  Should researchers be able to make this “undesirable” determination unchecked?  If the research yields results, should mothers be able to have the option of removing the gene from unborn babies?  One possible result of this practice could potentially breed homosexuals out of existence. 

Constitutional issues must also be considered.  For example, if homosexuality is genetic, it would be assumed that the condition must be treated much like race as far as civil rights are concerned.  Therefore marriage, and all the benefits associated with it, are certainly in play. Homosexuals would have a much stronger Constitutional case under the Bill of Rights.Whether you view the issue as an ethical or Constitutional one, the consequences of genetic research on animals with homosexual tendencies could be dramatic.

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.

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? / 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.

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.

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
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.

Rudy Giuliani – New York
John McCain – Arizona
Tommy Thompson – Wisconsin
Mike Huckabee – Arkansas
George Pataki – New York
Mitt Romney – Massachusetts
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.