Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Truth behind Obama

Why are conservative talking heads promoting Barrack Obama? The answer is simple; he is obviously beatable by several GOP presidential candidates. It is not simply his race but his name that will be an extreme handicap in a national election. Misplaced optimism has lost Democrats the White House for 8 years. Successful people will tell you they made it by doing what is practical. The right candidate for this time in America will bring success for the Party. The practical Democratic presidential nominee is Hilary R. Clinton.

Comments welcome.

Supporting President Hillary Clinton

Frankly the people of the USA don’t need a president that is simply perceived to be likeable. The nation needs leadership; I am confident Clinton is the strongest leader amongst all current democratic and republican presidential candidates.

Friends don’t vote for a President because you’d like to have dinner with them but vote for a president whom will address the issues facing our nation. Clinton has never changed her tune on healthcare in addition to issues relating to children and families. President Bush Jr. was and is seen to be a “likeable” person however what’s your opinion of his presidency?

The Clinton’s have a mandate to build a lasting legacy of quality leadership that could potentially set America back on the right course. If elected no one can question that Hilary Clinton would fight for the working class just as she is fighting tooth and nail to be elected. I have respect for her service.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Are nuclear weapons vital for our defense?

It is in my opinion that yes they are in a world where at least 2 nations possess nukes. There are only 2 solutions: complete control and elimination of nukes or the eventual development of such weapons by all nations in order to ward off attack from other nation states.

The spread of Democracy could also stage off nuclear conflicts. Such an ideology is often touted as foreign policy. I however believe this to be bolder dash obviously since the United States is the only country in history to deploy nukes.

Nuclear technology has the potential to be beneficial in energy, healthcare, and space exploration.

We must dissect the words “vital” and “beneficial”. Vital and necessary when faced with the realities of war. Beneficial they are not to a world on the edge of destroying itself.

A Positive Outlook Is Overrated

“I believe that there is no one right way to cope with all the pain of living. ... If we are prevented from coping in our own way, be it 'positive' or 'negative,' we function less well.”

"Many Americans insist that everyone have a positive attitude, even when the going gets rough. From the self-help bookshelves to the Complaint-Free World Movement, the power of positive thinking is touted now more than ever as the way to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.
The problem is that this demand for good cheer brings with it a one-two punch for those of us who cannot cope in that way: First you feel bad about whatever's getting you down, then you feel guilty or defective if you can't smile and look on the bright side. And I'm not even sure there always is a bright side to look on.

I believe that there is no one right way to cope with all of the pain of living. As an academic psychologist, I know that people have different temperaments, and if we are prevented from coping in our own way, be it "positive" or "negative," we function less well.
As a psychotherapist, I know that sometimes a lot of what people need when faced with adversity is permission to feel crummy for a while, to realize that feeling bad is not automatically the same as being mentally ill. Some of my one-session "cures" have come from reminding people that life can be difficult, and it's OK if we're not happy all of the time.

This last point first became apparent to me in 1986. I came down with the flu accompanied by searing headaches that lasted for weeks afterward. Eventually a neurologist told me that a strain of flu that winter had left many people with viral meningitis. He reassured me that I would make a full recovery, but I was left traumatized by the weeks of undiagnosed pain. I really thought I had a brain tumor or schizophrenia. Being a psychologist didn't help; I was an emotional wreck.
Fortunately it happened that my next-door neighbor was a brilliant psychiatrist, Aldo Llorente from Cuba. I asked him, "Aldo, am I a schizophrenic?"
"Professor," he pronounced, "you are a mess, but you are not a mentally ill mess. You are just terrified."

I told Aldo that two of my friends insisted that I cheer up. I tried to be cheerful for a week, but that only increased my distress. Aldo told me, "You say to them: 'Friends, I would like to be more cheerful, but right now I am too terrified to be cheerful. So I will let you know when I am not terrified anymore.'"

The moment I delivered Aldo's message, I felt better. Aldo had made it OK for me to cope in my own way, to recover at my own pace, to be my own mess of a self. That is when I began to realize that I had been tyrannized by the idea that everyone must always have a positive attitude.

Having flourished in my own authentically kvetchy way, I believe that we would be better off if we let everyone be themselves — positive, negative or even somewhere in-between.
Independently produced for All Things Considered by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman with John Gregory and Viki Merrick."

Hate Crimes Rise

"WASHINGTON November 19, 2007, 4:55 p.m. ET · Hate crime incidents rose nearly 8 percent last year — more than half motivated by racial prejudice, the FBI reported Monday, as civil rights advocates increasingly take to the streets to protest what they call official indifference to intimidation and attacks against blacks and other minorities.

Police across the nation reported 7,722 criminal incidents in 2006 targeting victims or property as a result of bias against a race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origin or physical or mental disability. That was up 7.8 percent from 7,163 incidents reported in 2005.
Although the noose incidents and beatings among students at Jena, La., high school occurred in the last half of 2006, they were not included in the report. Only 12,600 of the nation's more than 17,000 local, county, state and federal police agencies participated in the hate crime reporting program in 2006 and neither Jena nor LaSalle Parish, in which the town is located, were among the agencies reporting.

Nevertheless, the Jena incidents, and a subsequent rash of noose and other racial incidents around the country, have spawned civil rights demonstrations that culminated last week at Justice Department headquarters here. The department said it investigated the Jena incident but decided not to prosecute because the federal government does not typically bring hate crime charges against juveniles.

Organizers said 100 busloads of protesters joined Friday's march here. In September, an estimated 20,000 protesters marched through Jena. On Nov. 3, hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Charleston, W. Va., to urge prosecutors to add hate crime charges against six white people charged in the beating, torture and sexual assault of a 20-year-old black woman who was discovered Sept. 8 after several days of alleged captivity in a rural trailer.
The Jena case began in August 2006 after a black student sat under a tree known as a gathering spot for white students. Three white students later hung nooses from the tree. They were suspended by the school but not prosecuted. Six black teenagers, however, were charged by LaSalle Parish prosecutor Reed Walters with attempted second-degree murder of a white student who was beaten unconscious in December 2006. The charges have since been reduced to aggravated second-degree assault, but civil rights protesters have complained that no charges were filed against the white students who hung the nooses.

"The FBI report confirms what we have been saying for many months about the severe increase in hate crimes," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who organized Friday's march. "What is not reported, however, is the lack of prosecution and serious investigation by the Justice Department to counter this increase in hate crimes." Sharpton called for Attorney General Michael Mukasey to meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights leaders to discuss this enforcement.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse noted that Mukasey praised the civil rights movement at his confirmation hearings and plans over the next several months to meet "with a number of groups and individuals who have an interest in or concerns about the work" of the department. Roehrkasse also noted that federal prosecutors convicted a record 189 defendants of civil rights violations in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

The Justice Department says it is actively investigating a number of noose incidents at schools, workplaces and neighborhoods around the country. It says "a noose is a powerful symbol of hate and racially motivated violence" recalling the days of lynchings of blacks and that it can constitute a federal civil rights offense under some circumstances.

The FBI report does not break out the number of noose incidents but the two most frequent hate crimes in 2006 were property damage or vandalism, at 2,911 offenses, and intimidation, at 2,046 offenses. There were 3 murders, 6 rapes, 860 aggravated assaults, 1,447 simple assaults and 41 arsons. Other offenses included robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.
The 7,722 hate crime incidents involved 9,080 specific criminal offenses, include 5,449 against individuals, 3,593 against property and 38 classified as against society at large. A single incident can be aimed at both people and property.

Since the FBI began collecting hate crime data in 1991, the most frequent motivation has been racial bias, accounting for 51.8 percent of incidents in 2006, down from the 54.7 in 2005.
Also in 2006, religious bias was blamed for 18.9 percent of the incidents; sexual orientation bias for 15.5 percent, and ethnic or national origin — for 12.7 percent.

"This FBI report confirms ... that hate crimes protections for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community are long overdue," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights group. Solmonese called on Congress to pass pending legislation that would expand the federal hate crime statute to cover crimes motivated by sexual orientation. The law currently covers only crimes based on race, color, religious or national origin.
Lack of full participation by the more than 17,000 police agencies around the nation somewhat undermines year-to-year comparisons.

For instance, in 2004, 12,711 agencies reported 7,649 incidents. In 2005, only 12,417 agencies reported and incidents dropped 6 percent to 7,163. But in 2006, agencies reporting rose to 12,620 and incidents climbed 7.8 percent to 7,722.

In 2006, police identified 7,330 offenders; 58.6 percent white, 20.6 percent black, 12.9 percent race unknown and the rest other races. Thirty-one percent of incidents occurred near residences; 18 percent on roads; 12.2 percent at colleges or schools, 6.1 percent in parking lots or garages, 3.9 percent at churches, synagogues or temples, and the remainder elsewhere."
On the Net:
FBI report: http://www.fbi.gov/page2/nov07/hatecrime11190

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Demands on Army Exceed Supply

"The war in Iraq has achieved its own share of milestones: It is the third-longest in American history and will soon be the second-most expensive. And now, it's the first prolonged war since the American Revolution that has been fought by an all-volunteer military.

It's no secret that the U.S. Army is too small to face the current demands placed on it by its civilian leaders. By 2012, the Army — the largest of the four service branches — will grow its active-duty component to about 550,000 soldiers. And the Army's top military commander, Gen. George Casey, wants to make it bigger.

"I believe that the 547,000 active [duty component] that we're building is a good milestone," Casey told members of the Senate Armed Services committee on Thursday. "But I believe it's probably not big enough."
The Army chief now says that if the United States were to take part in another conflict, he probably wouldn't have the troops to carry out the mission.

"The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply," Casey said. "We're consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight and are unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other contingencies."

Lately, the Army has boasted of strong recruiting and retention numbers. But peel back the layers and you find that recruitment standards are dropping, and some of the best soldiers are getting out.
Right now, the Army faces a shortage of about 3,000 majors and captains. By 2010, that number could double. Close to 58 percent of the graduates from West Point's class of 2002 no longer serve in the Army. It's a record number.

More than half of the Army's total equipment is either in Iraq or Afghanistan. Half of the Army's fighting units — Brigade Combat Teams — are not considered ready to deploy. And the Army, stretched to the breaking point, can't maintain a strategic reserve of troops at home that might be needed to protect the U.S. or U.S. interests abroad, should that need arise.

To make things slightly more complicated, the military now faces a potential crisis in funding. While the Pentagon's budget eats up about one-third of the total amount of money the government has to spend, the war in Iraq requires "supplemental" funding.

Congress hasn't been able to legislate an end to the war. So instead, it has tried to use the power of the purse. On Wednesday night, the House passed a bill that would send $50 billion to the Pentagon to continue funding the war. But President Bush says he won't sign it because the bill calls for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

The Pentagon warns that if the money doesn't come soon, as many as 100,000 civilian employees across the country could face temporary lay-offs."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fires Out Wast

“RAMONA, Calif. - Wildfire evacuees in Southern California are returning home, but things certainly aren't the same and won't be for some time.
Residents in the San Diego County town of Ramona don't have water. Officials say the city is in an "extreme water crisis," and that no water use is allowed.
Residents can pick up jugs of spring water at a water distribution center in the city.
Meanwhile, about 12,600 San Diego Gas and Electric customers are without power, while 675 don't have natural gas.
And authorities warn that smoke and ash across Southern California are making the air dangerous. Officials are urging children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems to stay indoors.
In all, more than a dozen fires have scorched more than half a million acres. About 1,700 homes have been destroyed, and at least three people have been killed.”