Inbox: What's Good for the Goose

. Thursday, October 30
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Hypocrisy rears it's ugly head yet again.

Inbox: Political Halloween

. Wednesday, October 29
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Don't you just love extremists?

Losing Sleep Due to Worry About Bills

. Tuesday, October 28
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This morning, CNN reports that 9 out of 10 people are unable to sleep due to money worries. An Employee Assistance Program provider, ComPsych Corp, surveyed the companies it served.  Topping the sleep robbing concerns were cost of living and credit card debt, followed by making mortgage payments and building retirement accounts. Children's tuition and health care costs completed the list of worries. Only one-eighth of the people surveyed said they had no worries at all and were able to sleep just fine.

If I were to jump to conclusions by these numbers, I'd have to say that the people not sleeping because of money worries match the 90 percent of the population that holds only 10 percent of the wealth in this country.

There certainly aren't any of the failed financial companies that received and are now misspending the bailout money we all paid for among this list of worriers. Instead of opening up credit, they are buying out other banks and taking extravagant vacations. Honestly, who didn't see that coming? Everyone but the government that should've let those companies pay their own consequences. Enough!

UCA Shooting Kills 2, Wounds 1

. Monday, October 27
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Arkansas is in the national news again with another violent, senseless killing. At 9:19 Sunday evening on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, one student was shot outside a dorm and the second and third victims managed to make it inside. One died at the hospital, one was treated and released for a gunshot wound to the leg. Witnesses reported seeing a car speed away. The police are currently questioning one "person of interest" in the attack, and believe that four people were involved. Classes are cancelled for today and access to the campus is restricted, though not completely locked down. The victims' names will not be released until families are notified.

KATV Anchor Pressly Dies

. Sunday, October 26
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LITTLE ROCK - Anne Pressly, an anchorwoman for KATV, was severely beaten around the head, face and neck on Monday at her home. Despite reduced brain swelling, she passed away yesterday at St. Vincent's Medical Center. Police believe she was a victim of a random attack and have no leads in the case, though they found that Pressly's credit card was used at a gas station on Monday.

"Life was easy for Anne Pressly. But it is her death that is so very hard for all of us," said Pamela Smith, a KATV co-anchor.

FBI Releases "Anthrax" Letter

. Friday, October 24
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This is a scanned copy of one of the 50 letters, accompanied by a white, powdered substance that has so far tested as harmless, sent to Chase Bank offices, the FDIC and the US Office of Thrift Supervision (never heard of that particular office before, have you?).  All the letters to these financial entities were postmarked Amarillo, TX., but the FBI says it's not clear whether the one sent to the New York Times yesterday is related. The Postal Inspector is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone with clues or tips, and asks that you study the wording and phrasing of the letter to see if you recognize it.

What would give more of a clue, besides the glaring misspelling, is the word or name that is blacked out - "redacted." What could possibly be so sensitive in nature that the public is not allowed to see that word? Is it a clue to what really caused the stock market crash? Perhaps. Today's article contained the same snippet of information about JPMorgan buying out Chase, so Reuter's may be making a point. It's also strange that the AP hasn't followed along with stories of its own; at least none that I saw.

Anthrax Threats Focus on JPMorgan Chase

. Thursday, October 23
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The New York Times and 7 Chase banks in Phoenix yesterday received letters with a threatening message and a granular, white powder substance, reminiscent of the post Sept. 11 anthrax letters that killed 5 people. According to the FBI, similar letters have been received in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington, D.C.

The news article does not state whether the recipients of the powdered letters have all been Chase banks, though it does state that JPMorgan Chase has "aggressively acquired other assets as the financial system has weakened," and is now the largest, strongest bank in the country. A monopoly may be in the making; and it looks like someone or some group is loudly voicing their displeasure at this prospect, especially since little news of the build-up has leaked into mainstream media. Of course, with little detail shared, we can only speculate.

No Show, or Wasn't Invited? Beam Him Up

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As a kid, faithfully planted in front of the TV for every episode of the original Star Trek series, it never crossed my mind that adults, famous adults, would act as silly as ...well, kids.  Another childhood ideal shot to hell. This time, Captain Kirk (Shatner) is saying that he was never invited to Sulu's (Takei) wedding, and that he must be sick, psychotic for holding a long time grudge that, for the life of him, he can't remember why that would be. Uhura (Nichols) and Chekov (Koenig) showed up just fine, and Sulu said Kirk was invited but never RSVP'd. With the tables turned right back at him, the ol' Captain decided he was not happy with Sulu coming out of the closet: "Who cares? Be gay. Don't be gay. That's up to you, George." It's beginning to sound like the Enterprise is turning into a nursing home for the demented, still going where no man has gone before.

Today's Bob the Squirrel

. Wednesday, October 22
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Inbox: Death of the West

. Tuesday, October 21
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I was never much good at deciphering symbolism, but here's my interpretation of this disturbing political cartoon: If Liberalism doesn't kill our way of life, Islam will.

Pigeons Arrested for Espionage in Iran

. Monday, October 20
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Two pigeon suspects were arrested near Iran's uranium enrichment facility today. The birds were found with metal rings and "invisible strings" attached. Earlier this month, another pigeon was arrested with blue metal rings and invisible strings. Of course Iran still denies nuclear weapon development and resents the US for resorting to espionage to produce an intelligence report that proves otherwise.

I'll admit that it's probably possible to use pigeons for various tasks, since they have been known to carry messages in the past. However, this still strikes me as a bit ridiculous, if not straight out paranoid. What could possibly be held in a metal band besides a microchip used for tracking?  And, what, pray tell, is an "invisible string"?  If it's invisible, how do they know it's there? What would the purpose of string be since that implies it's not an antennae?  Next, they'll be declaring jihad against pigeons!

Jobs Growth: Obama vs. McCain

. Sunday, October 19
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The nation will experience very different methods of economic recovery depending on which candidate makes it into the White House in November. Here's a summary:

Obama - Alternative energy tops his list, with civil engineering and construction following. He wants to reward teachers and expand educational programs, and offer 'incentives' to companies to return manufacturing to US soil. He plans to rework the telecommunications industries and rebuild the wireless spectrum.

McCain - Aerospace/Defence tops his list with an increase in missile defense and weaponry. Next is expanded efforts for hybrid and efficient automobiles, and the call to build energy efficient buildings that increase construction. When it comes to health care, he wants to release the restrictions of subscribing only to the plan offered by employers which will increase competition in the insurance sector. On the board are plans to build 45 new nuclear energy facilities and further exploration for oil and natural gas here in the US.

In my mind, I'm finding a huge disparity between these particular goals and the activities of the current campaign. Obama announced today that he raised $150 million dollars in September alone, more than double what he raised in August, with the average donation equaling $100. In contrast, McCain accepted public campaign funding and is restricted to $84 million for his entire campaign. Obama's TV ads appear 4 to 1 over McCain's commercials.

It appears as though Obama's goals for the country are limited and unspecific, yet the man sure can spend money, and spends everything that comes to him. Is this an example of his fiscal responsibility? McCain's efforts appear more defense and military related, which might be prudent during the global economic crisis. His plans are more comprehensive, yet seem to be aimed at stabilizing today all the while saying it will take 20 years to fully implement. Both fall short of identifying where we are at now and how, exactly, they will fund these little pet projects. Neither seem to address the needs or wishes of the average, US citizen.

In my opinion, take it or leave it, neither candidate has what it takes to lead this country at this time. The United States - and the world - deserve better than this.

Another 'Activist' Jumps to Conclusions

. Saturday, October 18
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This time, it's Lily Tomlin who is now working with a group called Concerned Citizens for Jenny. Jenny is a 32 year old elephant who has spent 22 years at the Dallas Zoo with another elephant that died last May. Concerned Citizens sent Tomlin a video of the elephant that conveniently omitted aspects of the elephant's living conditions in order to sway the actress' involvement in their quest. Of course a Big Name like Tomlin will interest the media, despite the fact that she really has no idea about elephants beyond the Wikipedia entry. Tomlin admitted that she was surprised to see a shelter and play toys and treats readily available for the elephant, though she believes the animal is depressed and distressed based on what the group has told her.

The group and Tomlin insist that the elephant retire to an elephant sanctuary in Tennesee, though the zoo already has ordered a companion elephant that will arrive within the next two months, and plans to build a much larger habitat in 2010. The zoo believes that it would be far more stressful for the elephant to move now since she is used to her environment and handlers. The zoo faced huge opposition when they planned to move the elephant to a habitat in Mexico right after her companion died in May - back when it actually would have helped the animal.

Once again, here is yet another celebrity sticking her nose in and making noise before having enough factual knowledge to take a legitimate stand about animal welfare. If she wanted to be a real help in this situation, she would donate the money to build the new elephant habitat. Put up or shut up, Lily!

Senator's Case Thrown Out - No Mailing Address

. Wednesday, October 15
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There are times when pulling a stunt just doesn't work. In fact, I'd say this one backfired itself right into ridiculousness. Oh, and there's no photo available to go along with it. I think you'll understand why in a moment.

Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers filed a lawsuit last year seeking a permanent injunction...against God. He claims that God has made terroristic threats against him and the people of Omaha, and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."

Somehow, some way, Chambers is expecting people to now realize, since he's filed this lawsuit against God, that everyone has access to the courts, rich or poor. (That is a connection I completely fail to see myself.)

The judge dismissed the case with prejudice since the defendant was not properly served and never can be served without a mailing address. Chambers believes that the court ruling proves the existence of God by law, and since He is omniscient, "God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit." Chambers believes that this is a loophole that he may use to file for an appeal.

This Senator Chambers sort of reminds me of the other two Senators now running for President of the US. I think they had better run some environmental checks in Washington, DC -- there must be something in the water!

Recession: It's Official Now

. Tuesday, October 14
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Former Federal Reserve Chief Paul Volcker declared today that the economy is, in fact, in recession. With a long career in the financial sector, Volcker is now chairman of the Group of 30 (which sounds to me like another one of those behind-the-scenes think tanks that actually pull the strings to what's happening around the world). "I have been around for a while. I have seen a lot of crises but I have never seen anything quite like this one," Volcker said. "This crisis is an exception. I don't think we can escape damage to the real economy." He said he doubts we'll see any inflation while the country is in recession.

BIG Pumpkin

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Ever hear of anything gaining 30 pounds a day? Thad Starr's pumpkin did, and it was enough to set yet another world record. He won last year too, and this year's pumpkin is 4 pounds heavier at 1,528 pounds. The Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off was held on Monday in Half Moon Bay, California. Starr lives in Oregon and bought a flatbed trailer to haul the 15 foot around pumpkin to the contest. His secret? Oregon has really good soil. What, no Miracle Grow?

Where Child Abandonment is Legal

. Monday, October 13
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Meet Todd Landry, head of Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services division of child and family services. Landry is now yelling "uncle!" after the second out-of-state teenager was dropped off at an Omaha hospital under the state's safe-haven law. This law allows anyone, anywhere to abandon a child without fear of prosecution. Last week, a 14 year old girl was dropped off by her grandparents. Prior to that, an unemployed widower with 10 children dropped off 9 of them because he was overwhelmed.

The original intent of the law was to protect newborns at risk of harm. Now, Landry says, "I certainly recognize and can commiserate and empathize with families across our state and across the country who are obviously struggling with parenting issues, but this is not the appropriate way of dealing with them, whether you're in Nebraska or whether you're in another state."  Oh, really? What do you suggest, dear sir?

Take heart, Mr. Landry. You're certainly not the first DHHS that has completely missed the real needs of the people you are supposed to serve. Perhaps it's time to look at preventive programs instead of the usual band-aids?  Maybe, just maybe, a true needs assessment will now happen across the country in other human service agencies because of your very public blunder.

Qualifications of President of the US

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  1. Person must be a natural born citizen of the United States.
  2. Person must be 35 years or older.
  3. Person must be nominated by the Republican or Democratic party.
Well now, ain't this interesting. It takes a lot more than that to qualify for a minimum wage job!

What Jolie Might do is News?

. Sunday, October 12
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Forgive me for saying this, but I don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that the obscenely rich and famous have opinions worthy of swaying a presidential campaign. But, the news seems to think so. Vanity Fair reports that Jolie said Obama is aligned with her way of thinking on several issues. It's a stretch, no doubt about it. But, there is a bit of a bright light here: Jolie said that Obama's family and roots have little to do with his validity as a candidate. Oh, her father, Jon Voight, has campaigned for McCain. Would someone tell me why how Jolie might vote should matter? Isn't she too busy breast feeding twins and acting to pay much attention?

OpenOffice 3

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Like most people blessed (cursed?) with PC's, I live in Microsoft XP and Office. Word documents are pretty much the standard, much like Photoshop is the ipso facto standard for photo editing. Just like Photoshop, purchasing Microsoft Office takes a second job and renting out the spare bedroom to afford.

The alternative is OpenOffice, with version 3 scheduled for release this week. This free office suite is just about as powerful as MS Office and will open, edit and save in Office format. One perk that Office doesn't have is the ability to save in PDF. Oh, and it comes in Mac too.

So, if you've been limping along with the Microsoft Works that came installed on your PC, head on over and get a real suite of applications that run neck and neck with Microsoft Office. Clicking on the logo above will take you to a mirror download site before the official release of the new version of OpenOffice.  You're welcome!

No, I'm not getting paid for this post. Did I mention OpenOffice is free?

Poof, it's Gone

. Saturday, October 11
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If you're wondering where all your money has gone in all of this financial mess that the economy now is, an AP article, All that money you've lost - where did it go?, wants you to know that it was never really there in the first place. Economists say that all these stocks are just a 'best guess' on their actual value, or, put another way, just what people trading today are willing to pay for it. For instance, if you have a home assessed this week, and it comes back valued at $350,000, but next week's assessment comes back at $300,000, you just lost $50,000 in a poof. The real bitch of the whole deal is that if you had a decent retirement account set up in a 401k, it is also gone. Though no one else has this suddenly fictional money, what is not taken into consideration is the hefty chunk of each paycheck that went into that retirement savings account. So, in essence, you've been working your life away for a lot less than you thought, and now have no way to finance your golden years. Harumph. Don't feel bad: I already lost the majority of my retirement savings when the stock market took a dive after 9/11. There wasn't anything left to lose. I already planned to work until my dying day anyway.

Man Receives Two New Arms

. Wednesday, October 8
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After six long years of living with no arms, Karl Merk, a German dairy farmer who lost his arms in a tractor accident, talked today about his experience in having two arms transplanted in July.

It took 40 medical team members 15 hours to perform the transplant, and so far, Merk's body has shown no signs of rejection and the scars are healing well. It is the world's first full arm transplant.

Since losing both arms, Merk has needed 24 hour care. He looks forward to being able to dress and feed himself, and drink a glass of milk on his own.

When Technology Goes Green

. Tuesday, October 7
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I got a kick out of this this morning. Wired Magazine is promoting what it feels is "hi-tech" equipment for horse and rider, saying that with the high price of gas the most economical mode of transportation is now by horseback. I couldn't agree more! Right now, you can purchase a horse for next to nothing, if not find one completely free. The cost involved in keeping a horse - feed, hay, vet and farrier care - even though higher nowadays, is still a lot less of a drain on the ol' wallet than driving a car. You'd just have to set aside days instead of hours to get to where you're going. No doubt it wouldn't be long before insurance companies started offering horse insurance to cover the massive rise in injuries sustained while everyone romantically teaches their horse to rear. As always, reality is a far cry from Hollywood, and rearing is the most dangerous thing a horse can do. You'll have a "rider's license" and ride a registered-with-the-state horse. Just where is it that you'll hang the license plate?

Transgender Study Explains Gender Pay Gap

. Monday, October 6
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Conservatives think that women have no incentive to gain the education or work long hours at a career because they will have babies. Liberals think that it is all sex discrimination. The never ending debate behind the reasons why women earn 79 percent of what men earn for the same job came closer to settlement with a recent study that followed people who had recently changed gender. Men who changed to women earned 32 percent less. I'd say that's proof of sex discrimination. To add to the amount of proof that sex discrimination exists, one symphony orchestra auditioned candidates from behind a screen. Overwhelmingly, the women were chosen far more often than the men, which had not been the case in previous auditions where the candidates were visible to the judges. Case closed.

An Election Tie Would be a Mess

. Sunday, October 5
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Get this! Let me see if I can untangle this mess well enough to spit it back out intelligibly. I'll make no guarantees.  The news this morning reports that it's very possible that the electoral college will return a tie in which neither candidate reaches the 270 points needed to win the election. If that happens, the Constitution dictates that the House would then decide the vote, but instead of counting up electoral votes, each state would get one vote regardless of its size.

In the House right now, Democrats control 27 states, Republicans 21, and 2 states have an equal number of representatives in both parties. The sticky part comes in to play when you consider that only 25 of the states signed into law that their representatives are required to vote per the popular vote in their states. This scenario could mean that some representatives would be voting against their own party, and under an extreme amount of pressure because of it, whether in states that require their vote to be the popular vote or not.

Both candidates would be bargaining and cajoling and doing whatever they had to do to get House representatives to vote their way. In the meantime, get this, while the candidates are in bed with the House, the Senate is in the process of choosing the Vice President. Obama could end up with Palin, and McCain could end up with Biden, regardless of which wins the presidency.

If the House doesn't choose by the time Bush leaves on January 20, the newly chosen VP becomes president. If neither the House or the Senate can make up their minds, Nancy Pelosi becomes the acting president until everyone makes up their minds!

Considering the House's decision to back the $700 billion bailout plan against a very strong and overwhelming opposition to it by the American people, your guess is as good as mine which way they'd choose in this election. It could end up in the courts, much like the 2000 Bush election, and it could drag on for quite awhile.

If this wasn't so pitiful, it would be hilarious. What if we turned against the status quo and all decided not to vote at all?  That would sure put a crimp in their plans.

Sanctuary: New Web to TV Series

. Saturday, October 4
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Sanctuary, a new series that debuted on the Sci-Fi channel last night, is one of the few series that made the transition from Web to TV. Amanda Tapping, known for her Stargate SG-1 role as Samantha Carter, and two others from that show decided to launch Sanctuary on the Web in order to tap into online community and forums to enrich the experience of the show. Sci-Fi grabbed up the show within months of its Web launch, impressed by the heavy use of green screen and low budget. The green screen allows the set to change to an infinite number of scenes and times and gives the show a unique look. This works well for the theme of the show, which is a safe-haven for strange, supernatural beings. As is typical of Sci-Fi, the show is high quality. It will be interesting to see how the TV medium allows the expansion of the story line and characters.

Uribe to Marry

. Thursday, October 2
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The news this morning says that Manuel Uribe will marry his girlfriend, Claudia Solis, on Oct. 26. Uribe made the Guiness Book of World Records in 2006 as the heaviest man in the world weighing in at 1,230 pounds. Uribe is not able to walk and in order for him to go anywhere, he must be towed on a specially made bed. Where the ceremony will take place is still undetermined. Uribe says that Solis has helped him lose 550 pounds in the last two years. Love is doing the trick. Good luck, you two!

Bailout Failed Without a Spin

. Wednesday, October 1
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Get this. An article in Time says that the reason why us pitiful little people don't want the bailout is because we have no idea what the current financial wreck does to us. The article compares the people's overwhelmingly negative response to the $700 billion bailout plan to the failure to leave before a hurricane hits. Bush and company should put a face to the impact an economic failure would have and rename the bill to something other than a bailout. There you have it: The government and the rich bankers think we're just stupid, dumb idiots that continually fall for the huff and puff and fluff.

So, I have to ask: What makes them think we haven't been living this economic failure already? The economy has been crap for the everyday Joe for about two years. No stink was made until the downturn started to effect the bottom line for the rich.  Sorry, but the trickle-down theory only works when the economy is in an upswing, and that only happened once in our history at the beginning of the Industrial Age. Keep calling your representatives and remind them that they must continue to represent The People.