Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Heroes Come In All Sizes ...

Pictured on the left is 7-yr old Alexis Goggins with her mother, Seliethia Parker.

Little Alexis, as a gunman was about to fire, leaped from the back seat of an SUV, throwing herself across her mom, crying out, "Don't hurt my mother!" Alexis was hit by six 9mm rounds, one in the right eye. Only two of the bullets got past her and into her mother.

The piece of shit gunman who shot Alexis and her mother, Calvin Tillie was the mom's ex-boyfriend and an ex-convict on parole. Tillie, who was hiding in the shadows by their apartment, jumped into the SUV after they had gotten in.

Seliethia has been released from the hospital, but little Alexis is still in critical condition and blind in one eye at Children's Hospital of Michigan, after three operations.

Ladies, consider this a public service announcement from The Blogway Boys: Be careful who you date ... especially if you have children. Remember, you may not only be endangering your own life, but the lives of your kids. At the very least, google your dates.

Please join me and my family in praying for our little hero, Alexis.

And for Calvin Tillie ... may he burn in hell.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Be Afraid ... Be Very Afraid

Yesterday, I listened to the Democrats debate in Iowa on the radio. I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing and thought ... no wait ... I must have heard that wrong, or maybe I got it out of context. So this morning I have been sifting through the transcripts ... and sure enough, I heard them right ... now I am more than worried for our country ... I am downright scared.
I did indeed hear Senator Biden say that he would pay for his social programs by increasing taxes by $200 billion dollars, bringing home the troops from Iraq and cutting military spending by eliminating wasteful programs like the F-22 Raptor (the US Air Force air superiority fighter that is replacing the F-15 Eagle which has been in service since 1972. This aircraft has stealth technology and can be used as a fighter, a bomber, electronic warfare or signals intelligence as well), the Nimitz class destroyer (the US Navy has a Nimitz class nuclear powered carrier, but I know of now destroyer with that nomenclature. Then again Biden is a senator and I am a lowly blogger. Still I think he may have been thinking of the Arleigh Burke class destroyer which is an Aegis guided missile destroyer and essential in the defense of our carriers.) and "Star Wars" (after all, why would we want an anti-missile defense shield).
Yes indeed, every one of the Democratic candidates promised to close the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ... but not one of them mentioned what they would do with the 400 plus terrorists that are there now. Will they just release them? Perhaps bring them to the United States and put them into the federal prison system where they will spread their militant brand of Islam among all the "born-again" Muslim convicts ... that would be pretty stupid.
Every single one of the candidates, would "rescind some of the Bush tax cuts" which is just liberal-speak for increase taxes. These folks often talk about how the "rich" don't pay their fair share, but they don't ever say what they consider rich. I fear that if you have a decent job, you are rich in the eyes of these candidates.
Each one of them wants to cut subsidies to big business ... o-kay, at least one thing that I can agree with them on. You and I should not be forced to subsidize multi-billion dollar companies with our taxes, and if these companies have off-shore accounts, I'm sorry but those accounts should be taxed ... and taxed at a higher rate than if they had kept their money here at home. I firmly believe that a healthy economy depends on independent business, but I also believe in an even playing field. Most of these tax breaks and subsidies are a result of successful lobbying in Washington, and I am sick of politicians selling out to lobbyists.
In summing things up, it is interesting to note that the candidates mentioned the word tax or taxes 31 times, and except for one mention by the moderator didn't mention terrorist or terrorism once. While education was mentioned 29 times by the candidates, national defense wasn't discussed at all. Health care was used 28 times but Iran was the furthest thing from their minds. This speaks volumes as to what will happen if one of these clowns are elected to our highest office. We will have lots of social programs till we are attacked again ... too bad our military will still be using antiquated weapons ... God Bless America ... we are going to need it.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

For Shame Reverend Huckabee

It seems that an article, due to be published in the New York Times Magazine this Sunday, Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, and ordained Southern Baptist Minister, asks, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

For years, this question has been raised by people who want to smear the Mormon faith. For Mike Huckabee to be asking it now is a testament to how the prospect of presidential power can corrupt even a good-hearted soul. It also raises another huge question in the minds of the electorate. Is Mike Huckabee another one of the far-right religious wackos. While Huckabee is perhaps cementing his standing with the religious right that makes up about 40% of the conservative base, he is ruining his chances in the general election.

But where does this misconception about Mormonism come from? During 2 hours of intense research along with a couple of games of free cell I have found nothing in the tenets of the LDS doctrine to support this misconception. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism makes no reference to Jesus and Satan being brothers ... It says that Jesus was the son of God and Satan is a fallen angel. This jibes with my Catholic upbringing ... and probably with all Christian faiths. The only place I could find was in the writings of Paul who said, "God is the father of all". This meant that all of God's creation were his spiritual children ... but then again, that was in the New Testament and not the Book of Mormon. No, statements like the one being published on Sunday are for the express purpose of relegating Mormonism to cult status and not a religion.

Have no doubts, the Democrats would love for Huckabee to be the Republican nominee ... they consider him to be the easiest candidate to destroy next November. Personally, I was always uneasy about having a fundamentalist christian as President ... my gut feeling has now been confirmed. I am truly disappointed in Huckabee.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Must See TV

Been super busy at work ... hopefully I will be able to visit everyone next week. In the meantime, enjoy this video ... I know I did.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Will Justice Finally Be Served?

The appeal of the conviction of former border patrol agents, Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos is now in its' second day. If today goes as well as yesterday, these men should soon be free.

This is a local (El Paso) story that has gotten some play nationwide, but for those of you who are unaware of the story ... a quick re-cap is in order.

On February 17th, 2005, border patrol agents Compean and Ramos intercepted a vehicle with 750 pounds of marijuana near Fabens, TX (just outside of El Paso). The driver, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, a citizen of Mexico, ran from the vehicle and started running across the Rio Grande (the border). According to the border patrol agents, Aldrete-Davila turned, holding something shiney in his hand, and they opened fire, striking the drug smuggler in the buttocks. Aldrete-Davila continued running across the border and escaped capture. The agents, violating policy, picked up the shell casings and did not report the shooting (probably to avoid paperwork and the temporary desk duty till the shooting investigation is closed). Somehow, Johnny Sutton, the US district attorney for the El Paso area found out about the incident and started an investigation. He offered the drug smuggler immunity for his testimony against the officers and convicted the two agents, sending them to jail for 11 and 12 years. Failure to report the discharge of a weapon is subject to administrative punishment under the Border Patrol's usual procedures and these sentences were extreme, especially since it came down to whether the jury believed the agents or a drug smuggler. Problem is that the jury was not allowed to know about the drug smuggling that went on that day or a couple of months later when Aldrete-Davila was again caught smuggling drugs.

The two border patrol agents have been serving their sentences in solitary confinement after Ignacio Ramos was severely beaten by five illegal aliens in prison. Twenty-three hours a day in a small cell, with one hour a day that they can walk in the yard or watch TV.

Congressman Sylvester Reyes (D-TX), the former head of the El Paso Sector of the Border Patrol, instead of standing up for the agents, decided to side with the drug smuggler and it required Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to stand up for the agent, sending a letter to the President, signed by 50 lawmakers, asking for a pardon for the two agents. Rep Rohrabacher makes the case that since these two are in solitary, they are receiving worse treatment than we give to the terrorists at Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba). President Bush, to his shame, has not acted upon this letter.

Back to the present. Federal prosecuters have admitted that Aldrete-Davila lied during the trial. "He told some lies on the stand," Mark Stelmach, the assistant U.S. attorney representing prosecutor U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton said under questioning by a three-judge 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel in New Orleans. In addition, the questioning by the judges seemed to point to a victory for the agents. Judge Patrick Errol Higgenbotham questioned Stelmach closely about why the prosecution had sought to seal from the jury information about a second smuggling attempt by Aldrete-Davila after Sutton's office gave him immunity and a border pass.

The judge also said it defied common sense to believe that Aldrete-Davila was a lowly mule, as he represented at trial and not an actual player in the world of the drug cartels. Which of course makes it more likely that he had a gun.

Hopefully today is as good as yesterday and these two men can be released quickly ... but who will give them their lives back again? One step at a time I guess.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Don't Celebrate Yet

El Presidente Hugo Chavez lost in a referendum election to change the Venezuelan Constitution and allow him to run for a third term, eliminating term limits completely. The referendum would also have allowed him to suspend the constitution whenever he felt like it. In order to garner support, the referendum also would have shortened the work-day to 6 hours and would have given pensions to street vendors and housewives.

The referendum was defeated 51% to 49% and Chavez quickly called admitted defeat and called for calm ... earning him some statesmanship points. He had promised last week to cut off oil to the United States if the referendum passed and the US objected to the outcome of the election, so I was wondering what would happen if he lost.

But do not pop the champagne corks yet, Chavez will still be in power till 2010. In that time, I'm sure that this referendum will once again (maybe twice or thrice) rear its' ugly head. It only needs to be passed one time for the possibility of a President for life. Chavez has pledged to find another way to pass his reform plans.

But for now, we can take solace in the fact that 51% of Venezuelans don't want to give up democracy. I'm thinking that it is probably a bigger number ... but Chavez underestimated how much he had to stuff the ballot box in order to win.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

CAFE Standards And Other Assorted Energy Stuff

An agreement among Congressional Democrats has paved the way for an increase in the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Standards of 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. As a person working in the auto industry, I have always been a firm believer in letting the market dictate what kind of vehicles the consumer buys. But I am going to shock everyone by actually supporting this increase. Here are my reasons why:

  1. The United States needs to decrease its' dependence on foreign oil, and this will save over a million barrels a day.
  2. A million barrels a day at $96 a barrel equals $3.5 billion a year of our cash that we don't put into the pockets of Hugo Chavez, Armagedonijihad et al.
  3. There is enough time for our auto companies to work out the technology to accomplish this feat. In fact, with the fuel cell and advanced dual-mode hybrid technologies that General Motors is already putting into production, 40 miles per gallon is not too far away.

My problem is in a couple of other parts of this energy bill.

This bill mandates a seven-fold increase in the production of ethanol for use as a motor fuel. Are they nuts? We currently subsidize ethanol to the tune of $1.45 per gallon. With the new requirement to produce 36 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2022, subsidies would amount to almost $54 billion of our tax dollars. We are already seeing an increase in the price of corn and meat (corn is a staple in most animal feed). With the increased farm land that would have to be dedicated to corn production, we will also see an increase in just about every farm product.

Another part of this legislation that sticks in my craw is the requirement for non-public electric utilities to produce at least 15 percent of their power from renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. I can understand the desire to slow down our use of coal. Even if you don't believe in global warming, spewing all that crap into the air just can't be good. But unless they consider the atom a renewable energy source, they aren't attempting to use the cleanest energy available.

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