Monthly Archives: December 2008

Laura Bush Defends Husband Against Unfair Critics

Laura Bush is a wonderful woman who has comported herself with dignity and decorum in the midst of some difficult times, but when one is married to the village idiot it is only natural that in defending him her comments come across as somewhat hypocritical. She blasted the media as being “unfair” in discussing her husband’s successes such as destroying the Saddam Hussein regime, freeing the people of Afghanistan and working to end AIDS in Africa. She rebuffed critics who insisted the United States should have completed the battle in Afghanistan before proceeding to Iraq. Mrs. Bush admits she is not a good cook, but, unfortunately, she does not admit as a foreign policy analyst she is a better cook than diplomatic expert. Yes, hubby got rid of Saddam, but in the process he created al-Qaeda of Mesopotamia and encouraged thousands of young Muslims all over the world to fight America.

One can only wonder where Laura Bush was when her husband joined in the Republican vicious smear of a man who lost both arms and legs fighting in Vietnam as unpatriotic. Of course, hubby was far from the fighting area and Mrs. Bush never mentioned the media being unfair when George smeared John Kerry who risked his life in the jungles of Vietnam.
We respect Mrs. Bush’s efforts to assist the women of Afghanistan, but due to her husband’s blunders these women now face hate, violence and an end to their freedom. I wonder if the women of Afghanistan think George Bush is being treated in an “unfair” manner?

When Will Republicans Ever Learn?

The Republican party was dealt a defeat this past November by the American people and one message that was sent is the fatigue felt by most people in the United States over divisive politics which focuses on personality rather than ideas. Over the weekend, the American media reported the story of Chip Saltman, who seeks to assume leadership of the Republican party and sent a DVD entitled, “Barack The Magic Negro” which was a compilation of songs critical of liberals and entitled, “We Hate The US.” Mr. Saltman’s defense was the songs aired on the Rush Limbaugh show which he apparently believes makes them valid in content or form. He argued anyone would understand the songs were satirical and were not meant to offend anyone.

Once upon a time, the Republican party was led by outstanding individuals like Wendell Wilkie, Thomas Dewey, Robert Taft, and Dwight Eisenhower who believed there was a conservative political and philosophical response to liberalism. They did not believe to be a Democrat meant an individual was less of an American. But, today, the Rush Limbaugh mentality associates difference of opinion with treason. Rush believes his ideas embody what is necessary in this nation.

The nation’s economy has collapsed, most are disgusted with Bush ideas on foreign policy, but to some Republicans the answer is mocking the president and their opponents with smears about not being loyal Americans. We all recall how George Bush denounced anyone who denied the right of the president to do as he wished as being disloyal Americans. Fortunately, Barack Obama will not get into the dirt and filth of the Rush Limbaugh wing of the Republicans party. As Saul Annuzis, Republican party chair in Michigan said of the DVD: “in my opinion, this isn’t funny and it’s in bad taste.”

Rich Kids Get Special Advantages In Australian Schools

Wealthy parents are quick to denounce special privileges for poor children as examples of quota schemes that deny admission to the best and brightest. Of course, in America George Bush was admitted to Yale as a legacy as are thousands of other children of the elite who take advantage of schemes to admit individuals on the basis of wealth and social status. Australia has recently witnessed an extraordinary explosion in “special consideration” giving children who are taking entrance exams. Ostensibly, “special consideration” is for children with learning disabilities, but according to many elite schools, that could mean extra time to complete a test, assistance with handwriting(and answers?) sweaty palms and a host of such critical issues children encounter during an exam.

Private schools in Australia seek such considerations at twice the rate of public schools, and Masada College gave nearly 30% of students taking exams special considerations. The private school of Reddham House won special consideration for 36% of those taking the test. One can only wonder what parents of these children would be saying if one-third of poor children obtained special considerations. Of course, the poor simply do not understand that “special considerations” is meant for children of “special parents,” particularly those with some spare money.

Zimbabweans Head For South Africa To Escape Death

The borders of South Africa are witnessing an influx of thousands of refugees from Zimbabwe as that nation collapses under the rule of a mad man who has lost contact with reality and only knows the rhetoric of past deeds. In the midst of an astronomical inflation rate, cholera spreading and millions facing starvation, the Mugabe family is concerned with taking over still another white farm since their personal wealth and power are the only things of concern. Thousands are seeking asylum and obtaining a place to sleep on the ground and some food to get through the day. Ironically, former South African president, Mbeki could have avoided the current crisis by taking a firm stand in defense of democracy in Zimbabwe, but he allowed his old friendship to stand in the way of the lives of millions.

Challenge Ncube, a Zimbabwe refugee, told reporters: “Mr. Mugabe and his thugs, the youth of Zanu-PF, they just destroy everything, everywhere.” Where are the nations of Africa during this time of turmoil and stress for Africans? Unfortunately, for too many the old rhetoric about western imperialism is more important than the reality of starvation.

Financial Disaster ==Good News For Recruiters

The vast majority of Americans are severely impacted by the recent economic downturn, but there is one segment of society which regardless Wall Street mistakes as good news– Army recruiters. In the early 1980s, researchers discovered as unemployment rose, there was a similar rise in the number and quality of individuals seeking a career in the armed forces. David Chu, who deals with personnel, says: “what difficult economic times give us, I think, is an opening to make our case to people, who might not otherwise have.” The proof of that comment is found in recent statistics which reveal all four armed services have met their recruiting goals so far this year. This fall, the Army reached in November 101% of its goals while the Marines hit 104%.

There is further evidence the armed forces are attracting high school graduates and even many who score well on standardized tests. It is estimated a 10% increase in unemployment leads to a 3% to 4% increase in high quality enlistments.

Such, is the price of Wall Street young men and women who fouled up the economy– they also fouled up the lives of other young men and women.

Trafficking In Maids Spreads Throughout World

Several months ago on Long Island, an immigrant couple from Indonesia were convicted of slavery for abusing a young girl who worked as their maid and whose life was no better than those who lived under the old plantation system. Shyima Hall, was ten when an Egyptian couple living in California, came to her village and selected her to be their “maid.” She was ten years old and worked 20 hours a day, no days off, and no breaks for $45 a month. When she began as a 10 year old Shyima had to stand on a chair in order to wash dishes. She worked every day until past midnight waxing floors, cleaning clothes and doing every dirty chore in the household. Shyima never went to school event though the law required her attendance. The neighbors pretended they did not see anything except a ten year old washing dishes while their own children were at schools. We don’t see what we don’t want to see.

The trafficking in children in America is among the untold or undiscussed stories, but in many parts of Africa it is all too common for rural families to send a daughter to the city to work as a maid. Thousands of these girls work in virtual slavery because they represent cheap labor who will not complain.

The children of Shyima’s employer referred to her as “stupid” and never thought for a moment what they could do to assist a fellow child. What did they learn in school is the real question?

New China Export– Farmers!

China has been exporting inexpensive clothing, machinery, and high tech products so it was just a matter of time before it decided to export a valuable natural resource– Chinese people. Current estimates are that about 750,000 Chinese are presently working on the African continent in a variety of positions including running farms and teaching Africans modern agricultural methods. Liu Jinjun has helped to send at least 10,000 farmers from his native province of Hebei to work in Africa, many in what he terms, “Boading Villages” which contain anywhere from 400 to 2,000 Chinese farmers. Bilateral trade between the African continent and China has now passed $100 billion each year. China is anxious to import the rich material resources of the African continent and its emissaries frequently are farmers as well as businessmen.

As Mr. Liu notes: “In Africa they have plenty of land and too few farmers.” Therefore sending Chinese farmers is a way to raise the standard of living. He also points out that China is not associated with the legacy of colonialism which hampers Europeans nor with the legacy of war and violence which now is linked to America.

Of course, the flip side of the Chinese arrival is a refusal on the part of its government to show any concern for human rights violations. In fact, there is evidence China has been supplying the dictator Robert Mugabe with weapons of war. If the Chinese government would exert its economic pressure it could help resolve issues such as Darfur.

Israel Pounds Gaza Causing Nearly 300 Deaths

Israel’s air force pounded at Hamas targets in Gaza causing massive destruction as well as the death of nearly 300 people. Apparently, most of those killed were members of security forces in Gaza although there are also reports of the death of innocent men, women, and children. The air assault also targeted tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle in supplies and there is evidence Israel pilots were using precision bombs. There are reports thousands of Israel troops are on the border of Gaza and may invade the area at any moment. The UN urged an immediate halt to the bombings even as Hamas fired 80 rockets into Israel.

This blog has been urging for over a week that Hamas tone down its rhetoric and cease daring Israel to take military action along with ending rocket attacks. The Israel attack is no surprise to anyone, except, perhaps to Hamas. The leaders of Hamas believe they can replicate the Hizbullah action against the Israel army, but forget that occurred in a mountainous area and Hizbullah forces dug in. Gaza is open and there is no place to hide. The bravado of Hamas is a factor in what is happening.

Both sides have blood on their hand. Both sides have refused to engage in honest diplomatic discussions aimed at peace. As always, in such situations, the innocent die.

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

Each week we offer a review of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our own comments.

Bahrain, Gulf Times: “Solutions For Traffic Accidents”
Ban cars.

Kazakhstan, Gazeta.kz: “Wolf Hunting Exciting”
Not particularly for the wolf.

Swaziland, Swaziland Observer: “Arrested, Detained, Not Questioned”
The law in Putin’s Russia.

Japan, Japan Times: “The Year Of The Ox”
I hope we don’t get gored on this one.

China, Shanghai Daily: “Man Held For Running Gay Sex Service”
Would you prefer if he ran an ungay sex service?

South Africa, Mail & Guardian: “Eartha Kitt Bows Out”
But, she always bowed into our hearts with her dynamic sensual singing.

Turkey, Sabah: “Foreigner Denies Donating Blood”
Mr. Don Dracula does not give, he receives blood.

Australia, The Age: “Rubbish Bin Dispute”
Enough of this trash talk.

India, Times Of India: “Resort Owner’s Son Robs Tourists”
It is either rob them now or later.

Yemen, Yemen Times: “Mobile Phone Thieves”
At least they could leave a forwarding number.

Sweden, The Local: “Landlord Helps Homeless”
That’s nice of him to help people become homeless.

Australia, Canberra Times: “Strip Club Hits Bottom”
We assume they will now bare all.

Czech Republic, Prague Post: “Braving The Storm”
America in 2008.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT,

Each week we offer the biased and completely unscientific observations on the human condition as seen through the eyes of a78 year old boy.

Nobody Asked Me But,

I have never seen a crowd in Office Max. Have you?

I was in the Rest room when a man walked past the open urinal and went to pee in a stall. Is this an example of urinal discrimination?

A nice lady allowed three of us with a single purchase to cut ahead of us in the checkout lane. Yes, Santa, Christmas is still alive.

Sleet and Stopsky do not mix.

I used to enjoy Law and Order but the TV series has grown boring and one knows the outcome half way through the show. Mix things up and little and make the show interesting.

Some people buckle up before turning on the ignition key. I buckle while the car is moving. Which are you?

I awoke at 6:00 a.m. on the day after Christmas to see if crowds really would go to department stores. Yes, they did go!

I love figs. It is my desert genes from ancient times. But, I don’t like dates. Did someone in my ancestry have a bad date?

A dear friend of mine is in a wheel chair. There are times when we need laws to protect the rights of people who want to move around.

My hearing is getting worse. I increasingly watch subtitled films. To tell the truth, they contain less violence than what is found in American films.

I was raised in a New York City Jewish ghetto so I am still surprised to find bagel shops closed on Christmas.

‘If you live to be a hundred,” said the man to me, “you’ll be OK.” But, that is only 22 years away!

One rarely encounters a female car salesperson. Why?

A man and a woman were sitting in a giant SUV and ordered food to go from the car. They are the symbol of America–get off your butts and WALK inside to order!

I counted three Walgreens drug stores within one mile of one another. Now, a CXS pharmacy is opening. Do you ever get the feeling America consists of drug stores, banks, and churches?

I saw a sign that said: “Tanning and Travel.” Shouldn’t it say: “Travel and Tan?”

I think anyone named Dr. Kevin Foote should be a podiatrist, not a D.D. S.

It is impossible for a fast food place to offer, “homestyle chicken.” Do they raise chickens in the shed in the back?

I always have this smirk on my face and feeling of triumph when I correct a price for a salesperson and they check to find out I am right.

These days shoppers greet salespeople in order to get the bargains.

I am very quiet at football games. My emotion is inside, not outside.

A man entered the library carrying a soda. In my youth, he never would have been allowed to enter.

I hate people who speed up to hit a puddle at full blast in order to soak people on the sidewalk.

I realized the other day I have no idea how beer is made. Then again, I don’t drink beer.

I gather Sarah Palin is on a sled trip to Russia. Someone better tell her there is a Bering Strait that must be crossed.