The Blanco Republic
Comments and opinions on just about anything!

Jul
28

Op-Ed Contributor

Why Won’t Obama Talk to Israel?

By ALUF BENN
Published: July 28, 2009

President Obama’s silence toward Israelis undermines his case for a settlement freeze.

Read more by clicking here…

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Jul
21

Some of you will recall that on July 8, 1947, a little over 60 years ago, witnesses claimed that an unidentified flying object (UFO) with five aliens aboard crashed onto a sheep and mule ranch just outside Roswell , New Mexico. This is a well known incident that many say has long been covered up by the U.S. Air Force and other federal agencies and organizations.

However, what you may NOT know is that in the month of April 1948, nine months after that historic day, the following people were born:

Albert A. Gore, Jr.
Hillary Rodham
John F. Kerry
William J. Clinton
Howard Dean
Nancy Pelosi
Dianne Feinstein
Charles E. Schumer
Barbara Boxer

See what happens when aliens breed with sheep and jackasses?

I certainly hope this bit of information clears up a lot of things for you. It did for me.

No wonder they support the bill to help illegal aliens!

Now you know…

Apr
04

Companies are cutting expenses due to the economy’s downward slide. Not even workers with a perfect track record are immune to layoffs. And with an unemployment rate that reached 8.5 percent in April of 2009, it can be tougher than ever to find a new job.

If you’re handed a pink slip, here are five ideas to help you get the best possible severance package and/or “exit” plan:

1. Don’t blindly sign your severance agreement. The terms can be negotiated. (This is best done by talking to your boss instead of HR.) You can, for example, ask for more money, extended health benefits, or job search assistance.

2. If you’re in the middle of a project, ask to stay on until it is completed. Explain the consequences if it is not done on time.

3. Offer to keep working as a freelancer or consultant. Your pay will be lower, but at least you’ll have some money coming in while you look for another job.

4. Ask for a prorated bonus, especially if your scheduled performance review is only a couple of months away.

5. Don’t spend too much time and effort begging your soon-to-be-ex boss to “extend” your old job. Remember, it would be just a stopgap until you find a new job – so direct most of your attention to that task without delay. You’re not going to be able to live off your severance for long. That money will dry up very quickly.

There’s no reason to keep worrying about the possibility of losing your job. Take control of your future by starting an Internet business. You can operate it on the side if you like, or make it your full-time job. Get all the details for getting started right here

Feb
14

Reverence In Silence


by Ernest O’Dell
Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing

There’s an old maxim that says “Silence is golden.” If that is the case, then I am most wealthy, as I have experienced more of it than some, and less than others.

I was impressed one night-while on the ranch in the Texas Hill Country-to watch a meteor shower. I wondered if anyone in town saw it; or were they going about their own lives, in their own world, not noticing that the world was passing them by…

Standing under the stars, in a field just outside of Sundown, Texas, one can look up and see the waning moon, and just about south/southwest, Venus. If you look even closer, you might catch the International Space Station passing by… in silence.

The buzz and hum inside the space station, and the flurry of scientific activity doesn’t seem to bother the Universe. No, He’s not disturbed by your activity.

We wake up each day (or night, depending on which shift you work), some of us earlier than others, we turn on the TV and watch the news. We get in the car, commute to work and listen to talk radio.

I wonder if they’re listening to Rush and Hannity up there in the stars?

We arrive at work 30 minutes early, pour ourselves a hot, steamy cup of coffee, make light banter with the cute little, perky brunette in the cubicle next to me…

Then I slip into my comfortable leather chair in my cube, prop my feet up on my desk, put on my headphones and crank up Concerto No. 10 for 2 Pianos & Orchestra in E-Flat Major, K. 365… by Mozart.

Since I arrived 30 minutes early, I have just enough time to listen to the first movement of the Allegro, the Andante and the Rondeaux Allegro.

Ah! Brain food…

Long day…

Eighteen hours later, I leave work, drive back to the ranch, and repeat everything in reverse order.

No, I’m not addicted to noise. And yes, it’s easy to fall into the habit…

…but I rush home to get back to my silent little world and watch the Universe pass me by.

It won’t be long before dawg and I nod off to sleep in the recliner, with Junior comfortable in my lap. And it won’t be long before I wake up to look out the window and see the waning moon as it circles high overhead to set in the west.

If there is any advice what to do with your earthly possessions, I have but one piece to offer: leave your kids and grandchildren an appreciation for silence. For it is only in silence that you can hear God whisper in your heart. He can only be heard in that “still, small voice,” and not amid the hub-bub of the incessant cacophony of daily life.

Warren Buffett once suggested you leave your children enough money so that they could do what they want, but not so much that they could do nothing. I guess those are wise words.

Donald Trump has pretty much done and said the same. He was raised by his father with a good work ethic and he, himself, has passed that on to his children.

Must be something to that “Billionaire Club” mindset…

Plato felt it was more important for parents to leave “…their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.” It seems that reverence is in such short supply these days.

You don’t see it much and it’s almost totally non-existent in our daily affairs. Certainly it’s a rare commodity even in church.

Reverence means understanding human limitations. Not only our own, but the limitations of others. It’s a feeling of respect for what lies beyond our control: nature, truth, fate, life and death. It’s a healthy awareness that there is something much bigger than ourselves watching over this world.

It’s also an attitude of accepting life as it comes our way, and learning to be content in whatever station we find ourselves. Contentment is also a distant cousin along with reverence and silence.

Flawed as we may be, we fail to see the frailty in others. While we are too quick to point fingers of judgment and condemnation towards others, we fail to see the other three fingers pointing back at us.

Perhaps we should spend some time in silence and listen to St. Paul’s words in his epistles, or listen to the parables of our Lord. Perhaps a little silence and solace is in order…

Reverence girds us up with grace and civility to make life bearable and pleasant. It reminds us what’s important, what’s sacred, what’s worth protecting. Thucydides called it a cardinal virtue, existing universally across all cultures… for all times.

Reverence gives respect to those who are weaker: children, prisoners, the poor, the elderly.

Many equate reverence with religiosity. Yet this is not always the case. Although a little more of it could be injected into the liturgical environment, it is not limited only to your faith and religion.

Throughout history, religion and reverence have often gone their separate ways. Taken to extremes, religious beliefs sometimes engender just the opposite: intolerance, guilt, fear, ignorance, zealotry, and hatred.

Why? Because not all religions were initially based in reverence and tolerance. And I’m not talking about a politically correct version of tolerance. I’m talking about a “long suffering” tolerance for the stupidity that plagues us as humans.

You know the kind: that sort that besets us to know better, but yet we do things we shouldn’t, and we leave undone those things we should do?

In the West today, there are some who would have you believe that most of us live peaceably beside those with different beliefs. But such is really not the case.

A case in point is the intolerance displayed by militant zealots, extremists, and liberal minded politicians. It is in their own fanaticism that they display their hypocrisy.

What the devout admire is not faith, but reverence. Most people would reject the content of most religions, but they seem to stand in awe of some supposed standard of religious tolerance. That universal sense of wonder, respect, and humility is not to be found in over-abundance.

Some experience reverence in worship, in community with others, some find it in their gardens. Others discover it outdoors, sometimes at night, wondering if the angels could just sing a little louder.

Yet something else comes closer to capturing the true spirit of reverence: silence.

“Do you think the Universe is agitated?” asked Lao Tzu a few thousand years ago. “Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question.”

A quiet mind, freed from a noisy environment and the onslaught of continuous thought, has long been a signpost of spiritual development.

In Orthodox Christianity, the Church Fathers and Saints wrote voluminous treatises about silence and contemplative prayer. Silence is to be found within.

Silence creates the fertile soil for inner growth. Silent meditation is the path to true enlightenment from God. For how else can you hear Him if your mind is constantly thinking?

Silence allows for the development of heart and mind. Silence before worship is more beneficial than the most florid of homilies.

Claude Debussy reminded listeners that music is found in the space between the notes. Composer John Cage took this idea to an extreme and composed 4 minutes and 33 seconds of complete silence. (To this day, it’s the only piece I can play on the piano. It sounds even better than Mozart’s Concerto No. 12.)

Silence opens us to the experience of reverence. Yet many today lead noisier lives than ever. Some choose to live near busy highways and airports. I choose to live in the country.

Restaurants and retail stores blast rock and country music non-stop. Boutiques play a low, subtle volume of jazz, contemporary or classical music. Everybody seems to think that noise is a required component in our lives.

A study conducted by Pennsylvania State University found that urban teenagers listen to four and a half hours of pop and rap music a day. In our homes, radio and television broadcasts are punctuated with a steady stream of commercial messages at trumped up volumes.

I can’t wait until DTV puts analog TV to bed… forever, because I refuse to take part in the hoax of government sponsored coupons for converter boxes. May silence rule!

Noise… that’s my classification of pop and rap “music.” It only creates frustration and anxiety, especially for innocent bystanders.

Psychology professor Jonathan Haidt writes that “noise, especially noise that is variable or intermittent, interferes with concentration and increases stress. It’s worth striving to remove sources of noise in your life.”

Sensible advice. Silence reveals our weaknesses to us, our shortcomings. And God forbid that you should point out my frailty!

Silence manifests to us the person we are and the person we are capable of becoming. It is for this reason that we fill our lives with noise, to distract ourselves from the challenge to change.

Change… real change. Perhaps a real “change” we could live with… if only we could become more reverent…

…and silent.

This can be fixed, however. You can hit the off button, walk outside, take a walk in your garden, or a walk down a country road.

If you really can’t escape the barking dogs, screaming kids, or the Super Bowl, then do yourself a favor and buy a pair of noise-canceling headphones. They tell me that they actually work.

I was sitting at the top of the summit one day, out at the Brushy Top Ranch, just watching the sunset. It looked like heaven was coming down to earth to kiss us all goodnight.

As I sat there and listened, my mind asked me, “What do you hear?”

I heard the evening breeze blowing softly, the birds in the trees nearby, and the gazelles nearby, eating the grass. They seemed content that I wasn’t shooting at them, so they paid me no mind.

I looked around and saw the valley below, and the growing shadows of the sun setting behind the hills. I looked across the valley and saw cars going by on the highway, but couldn’t hear them.

Nothing.

“Wasn’t that great?” I asked myself.

“Yeah, it is.”

About that time my cell phone rang and broke the serenity.

I forgot to turn it off.

That won’t happen again.


Ernest O’Dell is the Editor in Chief of Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing. For more articles, check out his blog at Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing blog.

Originally published on SearchWarp.com for Ernest O’Dell Saturday, February 14, 2009
Article Source: Reverence In Silence


Feb
13

How to Panhandle

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
It is a beggar’s pride that he is not a thief.Japanese proverb
A panhandler is a person who depends on the spontaneous charity of strangers for their survival. In some parts of the world, begging is the only alternative to starvation, especially in the context of a poor economy or an oppressive government; in other parts of the world, panhandling is illegal because of its association with addiction and irresponsibility. You never know when you might have to ask strangers for help, whether you’ve been mugged in a foreign land, and need enough money to make it home; or life deals you a particularly harsh hand of cards (like abuse, disability, illness, war); or you become so dissatisfied with your existing options that begging seems like a better alternative.

Steps

  1. Swallow your pride. Most people find it difficult to quietly beg for money from friends or relatives; it’s even harder to beg from complete strangers where everybody can see you. Still, you’re going to have to suck it up and be humble. If you’ve already exhausted the alternatives (see Tips) and begging is your last resort, it may help to keep in mind that in many countries, begging does not hold the stigma it does in most of the Western World, and in some places asking for alms is considered an honorable profession.
  2. Remember what you’re offering. People who give you money do so because it makes them feel good. A person is more likely to help you if they can identify with you, and if they feel their contribution will make a significant difference in your situation. Sometimes, people give alms for religious reasons, and other times because they feel guilty for having been born with so much more than others without having necessarily earned it. The more you learn about why people give, the better you’ll be at receiving.
  3. Clean up. Before you begin, make an effort to look presentable. You certainly don’t want to be smelling of alcohol, for example, but you also should comb your hair, practice overall good hygiene, and dress in clean, but cheap clothes. If you stand out, people are more likely to give you money. Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers so you don’t get too warm or cold. You want to present an image of a hard-working, normal person who is just like the people from whom you are asking for money, except that you’re a little down on your luck.
  4. Make a sign. A simple sign on a piece of cardboard makes you more noticeable and tells your story—it’s advertising, plain and simple. Remember, you want to make people feel good for giving you money, so give them a reason: you just got laid off, you’ve got a family to feed, etc., and you need help. Tell your story concisely, and make your sign in neat, large letters. Make sure the letters are bold enough to read.
  5. Find a suitable location. Location is all-important to a successful begging endeavor, and the most important facet of location is traffic. The more traffic you can get, the better. There are two general approaches to location: you can target foot traffic or automobile traffic, but usually not both.
    • Foot traffic: Find a busy sidewalk and “set up shop” so as to be noticeable and unavoidable, but unobtrusive. Street corners and public squares (places where a lot of people tend to slow down or stop) are usually good locations. Stores where people make small purchases, such as grocery, liquor, and convenience stores, are often good because people will come out with change. Experiment a bit with different locations to find the best spots. Don’t hit the people up for change when they go into the store. Wait until they come out.
    • Auto traffic: Find a median or curb at a busy intersection with a long stoplight. The median should be right next to stopped cars’ windows, preferably on the driver’s side (every car has a driver). You can stand in place or, better yet, slowly walk up and down the median when cars are stopped at the light. See Warnings for safety considerations when dealing with auto traffic.
  6. , despite collapse of the social system and rampant inflation that created her situation.]]Smile and greet people courteously. You’d be surprised how far a simple, unassuming smile will go. Smiles are welcoming, and put people at ease. Especially in the U.S., people generally appreciate a positive attitude. Then again, remember that you’re down on your luck, and you may want to play it a bit differently. Regardless of your approach, say “hello” or “good morning” to people and make an effort to notice them politely—they’ll be more likely to do the same to you.
  7. Ask for money directly and softly. You may assume that people know you want money, and most people do, but you’ve still got to work for it. Ask passersby nicely and in a quiet voice—they’ll have to listen more carefully and may slow down, and you’ll also appear less aggressive. Have something to put money in: a cup, a cap, a guitar case, a pan, etc. This makes it easier for people to quickly drop some change in. Empty it regularly so people—both customers and potential crooks—can’t see how much you’re bringing in.
  8. Remember the regulars. If you frequent a certain location, make an effort to remember the people who give you money. You probably won’t get a chance to know them by name (although you may), but you can recognize their faces and any distinguishing characteristics—for example, a person may carry an umbrella every day, even when it’s not raining—and give them a special greeting. Maybe even give certain regulars endearing nicknames if you don’t know their real names.
  9. in wheelchair in the background.]]Thank everybody. If someone gives you money, show your appreciation. Even when people don’t give you money, thank them (implicitly) just for listening, and wish them a good day. Doing so will make them think twice about refusing your request next time they pass you.

Tips

  • Some options to look into before depending on panhandling for survival are:
    • Local churches, non-profit organizations, soup kitchens, shelters, and related services that are designed to help you get back on your feet.
      • For example, if you are homeless or vulnerably housed, and live in the UK then you are entitled to sell The Big Issue. Most cities have a Big Issue office where you can sign up to become a vendor and sell the magazines. Each issue costs you 60 pence and can be sold for £1.40.
    • Jobs that are considered undesirable by most, mostly involving cleaning and hard manual labor. For some, becoming a nomadic hobo is preferable to panhandling.
    • Busking, or performing for money on the streets as a street musician or living statue, for example. If you can dance, play music, or tell jokes, you can cross the line from beggar to street performer, and you’ll usually enjoy more donations. But don’t do this unless you are actually good at it. Also, living statues are not the most welcome buskers on the street. Most buskers call them “crate slugs,” because they stand on a crate that has been decorated, and indicate that they want money for doing absolutely nothing.
  • Be a good neighbor. Your relations with nearby businesses and other panhandlers can make or break your efforts. Be courteous and cooperative to business owners and their customers. Show your appreciation for their tolerance by patronizing their shop if you can, and if you’re asked to leave or asked to stand a little further away, do so without argument. Your pleasant appearance should also help alleviate many business owners’ concerns about you. If your relationship with a business and its staff is strong enough you may even find yourself first in line to fill a newly vacated position washing dishes. Always be friendly to other beggars, as well, and avoid territorial disputes. At the very least you’ll avoid dangerous and unsightly squabbles and you may even get some good money-making tips and make some friends.
  • Are donations dwindling in a previously prime location? Maybe you’ve been relying on the kindness or “regulars” who wanted to help you get on your feet but who now think that you’re just lazy. Move on. Many long-term beggars, especially those who work vehicle traffic at intersections, move daily—some even travel from town to town cyclically.
  • If you are in an area with a lot of litter, it can help your image if you pick up and discard the litter. This demonstrates that you are a good citizen down on your luck.
  • Cyberbegging is becoming increasingly popular, and there have been some amazing success stories, but don’t expect great results. While there are some sites on which you can beg just by putting up a brief ad, if you’re looking to make any substantial money you’ll probably have to build your own site and invest the time and money into it to make it successful.
  • Being outside of a store to take change from broken dollars can be a good idea, but some shop owners won’t allow it. Always take care to make sure that you’ll stay out of trouble.

Warnings

  • and others have it thrust upon them.]]Most people won’t give you money. In fact, you’ll meet with more resentment than generosity. Don’t let it get you down; it’s a fact of life in your situation. Try to keep a positive attitude, and never show your frustration.
  • Depending on what you want the money for, you may not want to be completely honest, although some people really appreciate it if you’re honest enough to say that you just want to buy a beer. That said, you want to give the impression of being earnest. Keep your story believable, and generally don’t fake a disability that you don’t have. Above all, don’t say that you’ll work for food if you aren’t really willing to do so.
  • Catering to vehicle traffic can be dangerous. Do not walk in the street between cars, and choose medians that offer you plenty of room to stand without stepping into the street. Do not block traffic. Do not collect money from people after their light turns green, because the people behind them will have you arrested.
  • Many jurisdictions now have laws against begging. Most of these concern “aggressive” panhandling, such as being verbally abusive, using intimidation, or standing near ATMs. You may also be charged for loitering, trespassing, or vagrancy. Learn the laws, and if you encounter police, be polite and make a point not to break the law again. If your country has an anti-mendicancy law, street begging isn’t such a good idea.
  • There’s some dispute as to whether bringing pets hurts or helps your bottom line. If you have your well-fed dog with you, people may reason, you can eat. However, having a pet can also make you look more like your customers. Whatever you do, do not bring along a malnourished or sick animal. People will despise you for mistreating your pet.
  • Don’t ask for money while smoking a cigarette (or anything else for that matter), or while drinking alcohol. People will just assume the money will go towards cigarettes or drugs, not something substantial.
  • It may not be a good idea to panhandle in an area where there are stores with “help-wanted” signs hanging in their windows. People will assume that you are unwilling to work and may not feel sympathy for your situation.
  • If you are a woman on the streets, BE CAREFUL. There are scary people out there, no offense but especially men. You don’t need to be afraid of them, but certainly be cautious.
  • Don’t just say Could you just give me some money? DO NOT be rude. Be kind and grateful!

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Panhandle. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Jan
18

NEWS RELEASE

National Real Estate Pages Kicks Google In the Shins

By Ernest O’Dell – Editor In Chief, Texas

(USA) National Real Estate Pages eliminates hours of searching for real estate by consumers, making search engines almost obsolete. Real Estate has become one of the biggest search terms on the Internet and has almost become a national pastime.

Search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo haven’t figured it out yet…

The National Real Estate Pages have come in like the “new kid” on the block and just “strummed” the neighborhood bully. Google is still trying to figure out how, and why, they can’t drive local traffic to the county and city level like NationalRealEstatePages.com.

By the time they figure it out, it will be too late for the search engines.

This is good news for buyers and sellers, because now they can go directly to their county and city and list their homes or search for one for FREE.

When the NationalRealEstatePages.com launched their flagship site on September 19, 2007, they immediately started seeing an explosion of traffic to their site. The servers were going crazy with all the bandwidth!

The National Real Estate Pages is only the first of 300 unique ULS (Universal Local Search) sites, which allow users to search for real estate in their local areas by location.

The National Real Estate Pages is a new search technology that brings all local real estate properties and services together into one, easy to navigate site, eliminating the need to search the Internet for hours on end.

Think of it like your Yellow Pages, the classifieds, or CraigsList for all your real estate needs

says Fred Miller, Founder and CEO.

National Real Estate Pages is increasing its exponential exposure and visits each day on raw “viral” search—without going through search engines. They have had over 1 million unique visits in the last 90 days from over 40 different countries.

Residential and commercial real estate for sale and rent, apartment and vacation rentals, ranch and rural properties, land for sale or lease, investment properties for sale or lease, business opportunities for sale, foreclosures, short sales, and FSBO (For Sale By Owners), as well as a comprehensive directory of all real estate related service providers can all be found on one site.

“The best part of all is it’s free for those that want to list their properties for sale or rent” says Miller. “We believe that the most efficient and logical way for sellers, landlords and agents to market their properties on the net is to bring the consumers to their products, not to bring the products to the consumer. By putting your inventory and services in one place, you make it easy for the consumer to find you, ‘one site fits all.’ It’s like a local, virtual shopping mall for everything real estate related,” says Miller.

Listings will be featured with 10 photos, virtual tours links and can easily be searched by area, price, size etc. as well as a convenient mapping feature.

The company rolled out its next ULS sites for the automotive industry at www.nationalautomotivepages.com which is creating a truly viral, local, auto mall.

Each county site will have 50 industry exclusive slots for businesses that want to take advantage of the targeted consumer traffic that is coming to each of the sites.

Ad slots are filling up fast, and once they’re taken, there will be no more room. Get your unique ad space now at The National Real Estate Pages by contacting Ernest O’Dell, Editor In Chief, at 888-874-7607 (toll free), or by email at eodell@intersolutionshome.com.

Jan
18

You know, this isn’t about banning cupcakes in school, this is about banning personal responsibility in America.

Don’t you see what’s going on here?

You can’t take care of yourself, let the Food Police take care of yourself… for you.

You can’t control your kid’s weight, let the government control their weight for you.

You can’t read the paperwork on a sub-prime mortgage, that you suddenly can’t pay, let the government pay it… for you.

You can’t find a level playing field with the rich? Let the government tax them more, and level it… for you.

You see a trend here? I do. We are stupid, we are fat, we are lazy, we are clueless. And the government is coming in to make things right.

Now, some of us welcome the help. I fear it, and here’s why: good intentions come at a cost, my friends. I’m not talking about the cost in dollars; I’m talking about the cost in dignity.

Because this “Nanny State” costs us our freedom, our self respect, our very being. They don’t TELL you that when they help you… you only see it after the fact: when they own you.

Neil Cavuto – 12/18/2007

Jan
18

“Electile Dysfunction”: the inability to become aroused over any of the choices for president put forth by either party in the 2008 election year.

Electile Dysfunction (ED or political impotence) is an emotional dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain any excitement over the political process. There are various underlying causes, such as general apathy of the voting bloc, nerve trauma from negative propaganda in the news media, none of which can be cured by traditional surgery.

The causes of electile dysfunction may be physiological or psychological. Physiologically, election excitement is achieved by a hydraulic mechanism based upon blood entering and being retained in the brain to feed it the necessary oxygen for the necessary thought processes that go into making political decisions.

There is, at present, a general lack of cogent thought process in much of the political debate by candidates, and even less in the electorate.

There are various ways in which this can be impeded, most of which are amenable to treatment. Psychological impotence is where logical penetration fails due to thoughts or feelings (psychological reasons) rather than physical impossibility; this can often be helped.

Electile Dysfunction is often tied closely to erectile dysfunction and can have devastating psychological consequences including feelings of shame, loss or inadequacy. There is a strong culture of silence and inability to discuss the matter, especially in circles of friends where you are in the minority opinion of philosophical ideas. In fact around 1 in 10 voters will experience recurring Electile Dysfunction at some point during a political campaign.

Causes

* Neurogenic Disorders (spinal cord and brain injuries) caused by “slamming” from push polls, and sudden impact with mud slinging.
* Hormonal Disorders (pituitary gland tumor; low levels of the hormones) due to abnormalities inherent with candidates of both genders.
* Arterial Disorders (peripheral vascular disease, hypertension; reduced blood flow to the cranium), which affects about 90% of the general populace, and over 95% of political candidates.
* Nonphysical causes: Mental disorders (clinical depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, personality disorders or traits, psychological problems, negative feelings) which affect but a few of the candidates.
* Lifestyle: alcohol and drugs, obesity, cigarette smoking, (a common malady that has afflicted previous candidates-including those who don’t inhale).

Other disorders

A few causes of Electile Dysfunction may be iatrogenic (medically caused). Excessive alcohol use has long been recognized as one cause of ED, a leading symptom among lower socio-economic classes, and a few former governors. The euphemism “brewer’s droop,” made light of a similar phenomenon by Shakespeare in Macbeth could aptly be applied to today’s present condition of lack of passion in the political process.

A study in 2002 found that ED can also be associated with bicycling and jogging. The number of hours on a bike and/or jogging, is indirectly related to electile dysfunction. Some have even gone further in their case studies to suggest that horse-back riding and chopping wood on the ranch can be equally contributory to ED.

Medical diagnosis

There are no formal medical tests to diagnose Electile Dysfunction. Some tests are generally done with exercises in logic; but due to the fact that most political candidates don’t exercise logic and critical thinking, nor does a large bloc of the electorate, it is a long process in finding a cure.

A useful and simple way to distinguish between physiological and psychological impotence is to determine whether the patient has ever had an actual coherent political thought process based in logic. If never, the problem is likely to be physiological; if sometimes (however rarely), it could be physiological or psychological.

If the patient has had repeated thought processes over a long period of time – say, over several decades – and they continue to make the wrong conclusions in the political debate, then they’re just plain stupid.

History

The earliest attempts at treating Electile Dysfunction date back to previous elections — and sometimes — revolutions. Jogging the electorate’s memory of previous political debacles is an effective remedy (sometimes) if you can get them to engage a dialectical thought process.

The Cure

Sometimes there is no other cure but to start over. Eliminating Electile Dysfunction will never happen, but if all elected officials were recalled (fired, terminated) on a regular basis, then perhaps the candidates would become serious about performance of their jobs. If political candidates were to spend more time flipping hamburgers, working on a trash truck or digging ditches instead of figuring out ways to enslave the electorate with more pork, taxes and subsidies, then there might be more enthusiasm about the whole process of elections.

Jan
11

Stopping the housing crisis, cutting taxes for the middle class, becoming energy independent and investing in research and development are the methods Mitt Romney would use to stop the U.S. from sliding into a recession.

The embroglio of the “housing crisis” – in reality known as the sub-prime debacle – would do little to affect whatever recession the pundits may think we are in. In reality, it is the greed behind the lenders who have written mortgages to those whose credit are less than prime (hence, “sub-prime”) that has caused this “crisis.”

The crisis exists, not only for the lenders, but also for the home owners, because in the end, it is the home owner who suffers. The lenders are going to get their money — one way or another. Either through foreclosure, or through the sale of tax lien certificates.

The crisis was not created by the government, nor can it be resolved by the government. Perhaps the mortgage industry can clean up its own back yard by rethinking their lending practices. Perhaps the government can pass more legislation to enforce lenders to clean up their act, but “doing the math”… perhaps the mortgage industry can see the error of their ways and clean their own house.

Cutting taxes for the middle class, and for corporations, has worked in past administrations. It allows for more revenue to be kept by the wage earner and by the corporations. The wage earner, with more expendable income, will contribute to the treasury by making more purchases for needed assets. Corporations can take the added revenue to create new jobs, and invest in more Research and Development.

Becoming energy independent of those who would hold a sword to our throats ties in with the economic growth as it would create more jobs in the oil and gas industry. It may be hard and dirty work in some sectors, but it generally pays a lot more than what a police chief would make in a large (or small) community. The salary levels for a variety of the petroleum industry are considerably higher than your average wage earner in, for example, a cashier job in a convenience store.

The suggestions of the former Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, sound plausible for voters in Michigan and South Carolina until you see that economic growth is taking place in a different sector: Knowledge and Information.

Where are the job losses occurring in these states? Is it in the farming and service industries? It is definitely felt in the manufacturing and auto industries. And is the illegal alien component a factor in the job losses in the aforementioned industries? If the illegal alien issue isn’t the issue, then what?

“Recessions hurt working families and people across the country,” Romney said. “It’s time for us not just to talk about improving the economy, we have to do the hard work of rebuilding our economy and strengthening it.”

Again, this sounds good to working families and people “hurting” across the country, but it begs the question: Are we truly in a recession? Or, are the jobs that are going across the pond because corporations can get them done cheaper in an emerging economy like India or China? When businesses start paying a decent living wage to American workers, they would probably find more Americans filling out applications, rather than sending the work overseas.

But John McCain said he doesn’t think the U.S. is heading into a recession, despite the fact that states like Michigan and South Carolina are losing jobs. What the media pundits are not telling you is “the whole truth.”

He proposes re-education and training courses at colleges to “meet the needs of this information technology revolution that we are in” to help keep the U.S. competitive. Who is going to pay for that “re-education and training” Mr. McCain? Tuition in colleges and universities have sky-rocketed over 300%: much more than fuel and energy costs.

“I believe the fundamentals of this economy are strong and I believe they will remain strong. This is a rough patch, but I think America’s greatness lies ahead of us,” the Arizona senator said, adding that he would make permanent President Bush’s tax cuts, which he voted against in 2001 and 2003.

I wonder.

Mike Huckabee said he hopes the U.S. economy isn’t headed into recession, but four factors are creating challenges for the economy — subprime mortgages, health care and education costs and fuel prices.

“When gasoline gets as high as it is, and oil goes to $100 a barrel, it impacts the way people live.” says Mr. Huckabee.

Yes, that is true. But it also creates a whole new sector of jobs–many of them in the oil and gas industry.

“It may not impact people at the top, but people who barely make it from paycheck to paycheck know that it doesn’t just affect the fuel going to and from work,” the former Arkansas governor said.

I would have to surmise that the Honorable Mr. Huckabee doesn’t shop at the same stores as those “at the top.” If he does, and he sees that they have to pay the same prices that “people who barely make it from paycheck to paycheck,” he can then come back and say that money isn’t an “issue” for those “at the top.” Perhaps he would be correct if he were to assume that.

“Everything they reach for on the shelf of their store costs more because it took more money to transport it to that store.”

What Mr. Huckabee has failed to realize is that, at the same time prices increase at “the shelf,” wages in certain sectors have also increased to offset that “inflation.”

So, my question to Mr. Huckabee is this: Is this really a recession, or the makings of one? Or are we really seeing some economic growth here?

Rudy Giuliani said tax cuts would stimulate the economy, and discussed his proposal for tax cuts unveiled on Wednesday.

“If you cut something like the corporate tax at 35 percent, you bring it down to 30 percent, you will get more revenues from that cut, because our corporate tax is the second highest in the world. If you cut some other tax, you might not get those kinds of revenues. So, the question is: What tax are you cutting? Is it anti-competitive?

“You also have to cut spending as significantly as you cut taxes. You have to be willing to impose cutbacks on each one of the federal agencies, the civilian agencies. I would do that the way I did as mayor of New York City, the way Ronald Reagan did it as president of the United States,” Giuliani said.

Here, it appears that Mr. Giuliani has answered his own questions. Cutting corporate taxes can put more revenue into their coffers to provide more jobs. Not all the corporate Big Wigs are giving themselves bonuses and raises. Some of those revenue gains are being put back into the job market. There is nothing wrong with making an honest buck and profit, because it lends itself to the economic growth of the working stiff.

Federal spending is the crux of the matter. Over 500 billion dollars are “earmarked” into grants and subsidies, many of them going overseas, and not being invested here at home. The few grants and subsidies that are, indeed, being invested here domestically, are being put into programs that we could probably do without. There is no question in my mind that a lot of it is being wasted on frivolous programs and “pork” for special interest groups, and minorities.

Who is the minority here? That’s another issue that must be taken up in a later edition.

Ron Paul said he does believe the U.S. is in a recession. I truly believe that Mr. Paul is wrong. Certain demographic localities are suffering job losses in one sector, only to see growth in other sectors. (See above.)

“I think it’s going to get a lot worse if we continue to do the wrong things that we’ve done in the past, that it’s going to be delayed, just as what happened in the Depression,” Paul said.

I am not scared by the “Chicken Little Syndrome” Mr. Paul. And I’m not buying your story that “the sky is falling.” And neither is a lot of the voting bloc.

The 10-term Texas congressman said he would not use the government to appropriate money to prevent a recession, but he would support a reduced tax burden. He added that the Federal Reserve propping rates help create and prolong recessions, and is responsible for the housing market “depression.”

The economy, much like the weather, goes through cycles. As is the case of global warming being a total hoax, the impending doom of a recession is only cyclical.

Has anyone forgotten the Big Chill of the last decade, when we were going into the “Ice Age?” Or has mainstream media lost its memory all of a sudden?

“Artificially low interest rates is what causes the bubble, which allows the inevitable recession to come,” he said.

Low interest rates are not artificial, and low interest rates are what helps the economy to grow. Sure, we could do with a lot less borrowing on a lot of fronts, from the wage earner to the Federal Government. Borrowing puts you into a position of debt, when saving and investing in sound proposals tends to put your money to work for you and gains value.

Fred Thompson said that speeding up the depreciation schedule for businesses, and counting capital expenses differently could help businesses more accurately foretell their ledgers. He added that the economy also needs some certainty.

“We would all be a lot better off if people knew that these tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 was not going to expire in 2010,” he said.

Now, here is some sound advice! If businesses in this country had some certainty about the economy, they would probably be less hesitant to invest in new jobs. Because it is the corporations and Big Business that creates jobs, not the government. People, and corporations, create jobs: not your “down and out” who have their hands out. It is the one with ingenuity who creates revenue with their inventions and new ideas put into useful products and services for the consumers.

As usual in any Republican debate, Ronald Reagan was paid ample homage, and rightly so. At the debates, a lively argument ensued when the candidates were asked whether the Reagan coalition — one that supported limited government and strong national security — could still exist.

It is definitely one that we should be getting back to soon.

Mr. Paul said that Reagan’s principles have been abandoned because Republicans have lost their way.

“We finally got control of the government and we became big government people … we turn around and talk about liberty and we’ve undermined the Fourth Amendment and personal property and privacy,” he said.

I’ll have to agree with Mr. Paul here: the Republicans have abandoned the Reagan Doctrine and have become like drunken, “free wheeling” big spenders. It’s hard to tell the difference between them and the Liberals.

But this begs another question: who is proposing these entitlements, and who is signing off on them?

Thompson accused Huckabee of ignoring the principles of Reagan.

“This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” Thompson said, adding that going the way of Huckabee would endanger Reagan’s formula for a strong U.S.

“He would be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies. He believes we have an arrogant foreign policy … he believes that Guantanamo should be closed down … he believed in taxpayer-funded programs for illegals, as he did in Arkansas. He has the endorsement of the National Education Association, and the NEA said it was because of his opposition to vouchers.”

Huckabee responded that if Reagan were governor today, he’d be lambasted for raising taxes in his first year as governor of California. He also suggested a way to return to a strong coalition and strong GOP.

Truth be known, Reagan had to compromise with a majority Democrat legislature, like he had to work with a majority Democrat Congress. Perhaps his charm and charisma overshadowed his flaws amongst his fellow politicians, but in essence, his policies did, indeed, work.

“The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government set out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.”(Ronald Reagan, speaking in a campaign for conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater. – October 27, 1964)

Truly we have come to a time for choosing.

We can choose to have a strong national defense, or we can weaken ourselves and allow our enemies to inflict harm on us. Do we really want another 9/11?

The candidates also offered their post-mortems of an incident earlier this week when several speed boats approached U.S. warships in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz.

Asked whether the commanding officers made the right decision in not firing back when told that they were going to be bombed in minutes, the candidates agreed that the captain of the ships responded appropriately.

But when Paul said he thinks America is just looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran, Romney responded: “I think Congressman Paul should not be reading as many of (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad’s press releases.”

What Mr. Paul and Mr. Romney fail to understand is that extremists understand “brute force.” They respect it. The “neighborhood bully” will stop bullying when someone bigger comes across the street and kicks his ass.

Romney said he did not agree with claims that a few rogue elements within Iran’s forces started the brinksmanship.

“I believe it was a very serious act, and if the Iranians continue to take acts like this, it points out that we’ve have in Iran a very troubled nation and we’re going to have to have a comprehensive strategy with our friends and others who we need to pull into our circle of friendship to put extraordinary pressure on Iran.

I would extend the premise to Mr. Romney that, if our “friends” do not pull into “our circle” of friendship and influence, then we have to act unilaterally.

Remember the recent incident of Israel’s retaliation for its two soldiers taken hostage? Israel has a lot more experience dealing with radical elements in the Middle East than we do. Perhaps it is the 4,000 plus years experience that has taught them to “take out” their aggressors with at least 5 to 1 odds.

To date, even though he’s only showing 4th or 5th place in the polls, methinks Fred Thompson is more equipped for the task as presidential nominee for the Republican party.

The Democrats? They have yet to grasp the importance of the issues. They are clueless. They continue to “bait and switch” with the changing winds, and wish to make you a victim so that they can come in and be your saviour.

No thank you Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary and Obama. The rest of you, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel: do you really think you have a chance? If by some sheer stroke of luck, do you even think you have the answers?

Dec
12

Human beings have this amazing power to keep going, despite disaster and overwhelming odds. This point is poignantly illustrated in the life of Elena Zelayeta. Elena was a marvelous cook and superb hostess, and would entertain her guests with stories about where a particular dish originated. There were many courses in Elena’s dinners, and each course was explained to the dinner guests, making for a delightful evening.

Elena owned and operated a highly successful restaurant in San Fransisco, and while working in the kitchen one day, she received a phone call from the hospital. “Your husband has been in an accident. I must tell you that he is dead.”

Struggling with her emotions, now suddenly finding her husband had been taken from her, she reached out for strength from Almighty God. She told a friend, years ago, that she felt as though a great hand took hold of her own and lifted her up. She began to live a wonderful life, traveling the West Coast speaking to audiences, demonstrating her cooking on stage, cooking with “all the senses.” “After all,” she would say, “that is what cooking is about.”

What was her “secret?”, someone asked her. Her answer was priceless: “Always act as if the impossible were possible.”

Elena went on to write several cookbooks on Mexican, Spanish and California dishes, but her cookbooks were more than a mere collection of recipes. They were historical accounts of each dish, and equally entertaining as sitting at her table. Her books were as illustrative as her life and her stories.

By sitting at her table, or reading her books, one might not know that Elena was blind.

Elena saw the world from her heart, and she gave back to the world. You can find rare copies of her books on Amazon.

—–

William Danforth was a sickly child, born after the Civil War in 1870. He lived for 86 years, and passed away when I was but a scrawny child myself. I was only 3 years old when he passed in 1956, and I never knew of him — until one early morning I was reading about him.

As a small boy in school, he was hollow-chested and sallow-cheeked, suffering from the chills and fever of malaria. One of his teachers, George Warren Krall, was a “health crank” — always espousing healthy living. The boys laughed his ideas, letting them go in one ear and out the other. He singled out young Danforth one day and dared him to become the “healthiest boy” in his class.

Practically all the other boys were husky and fit, compared to William. But Mr. Krall dared him to “…chase those chills and fever out…” of his body and become healthy. “I dare you to fill your body with fresh air, pure water, wholesome food and daily exercise until your cheeks are rosy, your chest full and your imbs sturdy.”

It seemed like an insurmountable challenge, due to the fact that Danforth lived in the country, surrounded by swamps, long before the days of sewage systems and drainage ditches.

A fire was lit in William Danforth, and he took the dare, and he developed a splendid, robust physique. Seventy years after that time, he enthusiastically showed others the exercises he performed to acheive that physique. He drew an audience of about twenty-five people in the lobby of the old Jefferson Hotel in St. Louis, and proceeded to show them his exercises.

He said, “Everyone can be strong.” And they believed it. He out-lived all his former classmates.

Mr. Danforth went on to tell about a salesman named Henry Woods. Henry came into Danforth’s office one morning and told him, “Mr. Danforth, I’ve had it. I haven’t got the ability. You shouldn’t be paying me the money I receive. I feel guilty taking it. I’m quitting right now.”

Mr. Danforth looked at him and said, “I refuse to accept your resignation. I dare you, Henry, to go out right now – today – and do the biggest sales job that you’ve ever done. I dare you.”

The light of battle lit up in Henry Woods’ eyes with the same surge that Danforth had experienced years ago when challenged by Mr. Krall.

Henry left the office and came back that evening with the largest collection of orders for sales and laid them down on Mr. Danforth’s desk. The experience changed him permanently for the rest of his life. Woods went on, sharing his experiences with others.

Danforth went on to inspire others in his life. He would come in contact with young people who had latent talents for leadership and challenge them to greater heights in their lives.

He came across a young man who was working as a mechanic in a large electrical firm, struggling to get by in life. This mechanic was perplexed by the fact that many other young men his age were out-stripping him because of their technical education. Sensing his abilities to be much more than a mechanic, Danforth dared him to quit his job and go back to school.

Again, he saw the priceless light of battle spark in the young man’s eyes, and he went to college. He had no idea where the money was going to come from, but went on to graduate with honors and became a successful electrical engineer. He went on, too, to share his experiences with others, daring them to become more than what they were.

William Danforth is most famous for founding the Ralston-Purina Company, and also founded the American Youth Foundation in 1925 as a resource for inspiring kids to becoming the best they can be.

The spirit of this “can do” philosophy is encapsulated in the lives of Elena Zelayeta and William Danforth.

What can you dare today?