Friday, May 21, 2004


After getting a stern, but constructive email from a friend about my "Friends" post down below, I have three important corrections to make:
1. There were six (6) characters on the show and not four (4) as I had previously stated. This was an extremely sloppy fact-checking error that shouldn't have seen the light of day and in a rush of passion, I eagerly published it.
2. This same email also pointed out that the various Friends DID have jobs and these occupations were featured from time to time on the show. This is a more subtle error, but one that could have been prevented from occuring.
3. Finally, my friend's email taught me the importance of letting most written things cool off for at least 24 hours before publication. This time allows the writer time to reflect on what he/she has actually typed on to the page. I should have directed more of my anger and passion to the hype surrounding the finale' of the show without mentioning directly what I thought the show was or wasn't about.
On all three counts, I beg the readers of this blog to have some leniancy on me and my writing skills. This blog will be a place I can vent and let off some steam. I am sorry for such a mediocre effort on my part.


In the link above, there is an amazing photograph of a Soviet MIG-25 aircraft that is mostly buried in Iraq. According to the caption, U.S. soldiers didn't know about the aircraft until a local resident tipped them off about it. The photograph is amazing because it highlights that Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction are still unaccounted for by our forces. If I'm right, many biological agents in particular could be hidden in a normal freezer until needed and could, if used properly, cause a massive amount of destruction and death. These weapons are far more dangerous to innocents than a MIG-25 and A LOT easier to hide.
After you check out the MIG photo, go on to view some of Glenn's other news stories. For those of you who don't know, Glenn Beck is a nationally syndicated talk radio host. Here in Cincinnati, he goes on the air from 9 a.m. to noon on WCKY AM550. His sense of humor and wit and passion are what I find most appealing about him. If you haven't heard, please give him a nice long six or seven week try.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

That Gassy Feeling 

I have just read a brief article in the Cincinnati Enquirer that makes, in a small way, my point that government should not be trusted with power. The article states that when wholesale prices for gas on average peak above $1.11, then the Commonwealth of Kentucky raises the tax on gas by a penny.

So let me get this straight: when the market price of gas goes ABOVE a certain level, the price paid at the pump is further raised by the state. When gas prices go up, it is, in essence, a tax on consumers. When the price of gas goes up, the state sales tax goes up with it. Now, I know that compared to other states, Kentucky's gas taxes are really reasonably priced and I realize that it's just a penny per gallon instead of 2 or 3 cents per gallon.

What has me boiling over is the laws in place. Back in 1980 the General Assembly put the law into place, I think, to ostensibly encourage conservation of fuel. But here's the rub: right now, with our technology and our capabilities, we can get enough oil domestically to keep our needs pretty well met without having to depend on other countries' whims and fancies. I believe, also that we can contain the smell and other side effects of refineries to increase our capacities of turning crude oil into heating oil and gasoline and kerosene, among other products.

Government is not to be trusted with power because they will abuse it. There is no reason whatsoever for an automatic tax increase . . . EVER. This is an example of the state thinking that it knows what's best for us. It is insulting. It is enraging and must be put to a stop. Government MUST have its knuckles rapped when it tries to reach into your wallet.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Greetings to one and all. "Conventional wisdom" is something that can and sometimes does drive me crazy. One small area in which "conventional wisdom" drives me nuts is the idea that cutting taxes will ALWAYS lead to government deficits. I am a supply-side conservative and from what I know about the doctrines of this school of economic thought is that cutting taxes will, to a point, generate more revenue than before for government because the prospect of lesser punishment by government's taxes will encourage the declaration of income to be taxed. To see a graph and simple explanation of what I'm talking about, Click here.

Another piece of conventional wisdom is the idea that trade deficits are bad for our country's economy. The truth is that trade deficits are good or bad depending on how they are measured and what the money is used for. Victor Canto has a good piece explaining trade deficits and putting them into context. It has become an article of faith in recent years for conservatives to praise trade deficits because the ability to import more goods and services than you export is a sign of economic prosperity. Mr. Canto notes that in the 19th century the U.S. ran trade deficits and emerged as the world's economic superpower at the end of that century. Mr. Canto also notes that China is also running huge trade deficits. Is it not coincidental that talk out of China's government has been of slowing their economy down and their huge international trade deficit? To read Mr. Canto's article Click here.

All of the hand wringing in the press drives me crazy. Michael Cox and Richard Alm in their book Myths of Rich and Poor explain very plainly and clearly why trade deficits shouldn't concern the average citizen, except when they shrink. Cox and Alm point out that the last time the U.S. had a major reduction in our trade deficits, the economy was in the midst of economic recession/depression. Who wants to reduce the trade deficit now?....anyone?....Bueller?.....ANYONE?! The simple fact is that our country is wealthy enough to buy from abroad, if we choose to, goods and services that we otherwise wouldn't have here. What has really cheesed me off about these articles is that they almost exclusively repeat the conventional wisdom which states that trade deficits are BAD and trade surpluses are GOOD. As stated earlier, I think conventional wisdom is 180 degrees off course and that's another thing that irritates me about these stories.

I've ranted on this minutiae long enough.

Random Thought: Hector Berlioz has to have THE coolest sounding name I have ever come across. Becoming a famous and creative composer of music also helps his stock too. *shrug* Just a thought for one and all.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

This coming Thursday is the end of "Friends" on NBC. I, for one, am glad that these overgrown adolescents will be going bye-bye this week. Sure, the show will and still exists in syndication, but after the show is gone, all I can say is GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!!! Please take the show and all of the NBC-GE corporate hype and just flush it. The only person from the cast that I will in any way miss will be Jennifer Anniston and that's only because I liked her performance in "Office Space".
I never saw the show, so maybe someday if I'm feeling REALLY bored, I might watch it in syndication and MAYBE figure out what all the hype was about. Let me see...four single people having sex outside of marriage and apparently not working either somehow hanging together for 10 years. I think what has irked more than anything has been the needless, senseless hype that has come with the show. Does anyone seriously think that any of the cast or crew would reveal juicy bits of info from behind the scenes to either Matt Lauer or Katie Couric?
I have been inundated constantly on NBC's affiliate about the cheap drama that has spawned from the set of a blasted sitcom. Give me a break. When did the show change from a sitcom about 4 seeming adults to some cheap melodrama about 4 overgrown adolescents.
If it wasn't for "Friends" going to syndication purgatory, it would be "Frasier" getting the hype. Note to NBC: Thank you for mercifully killing off a spinoff that had outlived its shelf life. If it wasn't for "Friends" I would get swamped with Kelsey Grammer's mug in some sitcom-spinoff-turned-cheap melodrama that, hey, is shockingly (sic) similar to...."Friends". Imagine that.

On a different note: I was watching the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and they played some clip of John MacNammera talking to then President Johnson on the phone about the Viet Cong in the mid 60's. The implication from Mr. Williams' lead was that our involvement in Iraq was a repeat of Vietnam. There you had the Secretary of Defense saying that the Viet Cong in a particular location and saying "there are only about a couple thousand" and trying to convince the President that this was some small operation. The implication from the "news" was that Rumsfeld is basically repeating the same mistakes that MacNammara made some 30 years ago. There are some similarities between the Viet Cong and the rabble rousers in Fallujah. The biggest similarity is that a foreign country is helping the uprising that we are involved in. In Vietnam, it was the Soviet Union and China. In Iraq, it is Iran and Syria. We have an uprising in Fallujah just like the Viet Cong in 1968. The problem with all of this is that Iran and Syria ARE NOT a world superpower like the Soviet Union. Had the dissent not been so vocal and heated, we might have stopped "playing pattycake with the terrorists" in Fallujah and could have really put down this uprising and secured Iraq.
Of course had Donald Rumsfeld had his way, things might have been much more stable and secure for us and Iraq with the training and use of Iraqis in the liberation of their country to chasing the terrorists into both Syria and Iran. Had the 4th Infantry Division been allowed to come down from Turkey, the region around the city would have been subdued. Had our State Department shown some truly independent thinking, our policies even now might be different. It isn't too late to change course, but it will take A LOT of work and effort on everyone's part.

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