Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kraft Foods to implode Texas Stadium

Kraft Foods has been chosen by the Irving City Council to be the sponsor for the implosion of famed Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas the former longtime home of the Dallas Cowboys. Kraft Foods will use the event to market its Cheddar Explosion line of Macaroni and Cheese. The company had agreed to give 75k for Irving and 75k to Irving food banks. Irving is expected to gain about a $1 million worth of public exposure through the food company’s national advertising campaign.

Texas Stadium has been home to the Dallas Cowboys for nearly 40 years until the team moved to the new stadium in Arlington this last fall. Texas Stadium has sat unused for months. Last year everything inside, including seating and the turf, was auctioned and sold to the general public. The implosion is estimated to cost the city $5.8 million.

The implosion will take place on a yet to be determined Sunday morning in March. Irving is planning a Dart rail line, restuarants and shops to take the place of the land.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TCU and Boise State BCS conspiracy

From an article by Jennifer Floyd Engel

What the heck is wrong with everybody? Are we really that naïve? Of course, having TCU and Boise State play in the Fiesta Bowl is a conspiracy to keep them from being able to embarrass the power conferences yet again at their exclusionary game. Anybody who pretends anything else is:

a) Smoking crack.
b) Fibbing.
c) Has a vested interest in protecting this sham of a BcS system.

And c) obviously applies to Fiesta Bowl president John Junker, thus b) does, too, in regards to his laying kisses on TCU and unleashing his "biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard in my life" as a defense.

Where is Rep. Joe Wilson and his "you lie" shtick when really needed?

The Fiesta Bowl took one for the "team," probably in exchange for future considerations. The Fake National Championship is in Glendale in 2011 and do not be surprised if this little sacrifice guarantees a prettier pre-Fiesta Fiesta Bowl.

Spin that Fiesta honchos chose TCU because, gosh-darn-it, it was more deserving is giggle-worthy. Name the last time a big-time bowl did the right, altruistic thing? Bowls do the money thing and the money thing was to invite Iowa and all of those oft-mentioned 50,000 Hawkeyes who would pay anything and go anywhere just to get out of Iowa in January.

So why would the Fiesta pass up on that payday? Hmmmmmm, what possibly could it be? Could it be that if TCU, ranked #4 in BcS standings, played and beat Cincy or Florida, the Frogs would have a legit claim to the national championship right along with whoever wins Texas-Alabama?

And since everybody knows the Frogs have zero chance at this FNC, this only hastens calls for a playoff, and a playoff threatens to decimate their little bowl cartel. Yes, the single worst thing to happen to the BcS was what Kyle Whittingham and his fine Utah Utes team did to Alabama a year ago in the Sugar Bowl.

Say this for the BcS, it learns. No more inviting Boise to play Oklahoma and Utah to play Alabama because, instead of putting non-AQ schools in their place and shutting them up as planned, it only gave them evidence of what a sham the whole thing really is.

No way are they allowing that to happen again. So TCU plays Boise, and one ends up with a loss and the other is dismissed as still not having beaten anybody. Brilliant, as the Guinness Stout boys would say.

This is standard BcS operating procedure where C stands for conspiracy, and all that leaves is B and S.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

TCU should go to Rose Bowl instead of UT

Come on people! Anyone who has watched these two teams play this season can see TCU is a better football team than Texas. TCU has beaten 3 ranked teams this season and absolutely destroyed them. Texas gives up 39 points to a crummy A&M team and then follows that up varely squeeking by a Nebraska team that has the offensive talent of a high school team.

Unfortunately now the country will have to watch UT get throttled by Alabama. The only reason Texas will get the BCS Championship spot is because of what they have done in the past rather than what they have done this year. After watching both Alabama and Texas play today it won't be a match. Ashame for a TCU team with the #1 overall defense in the country and the #5 overall offense in the country.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Potential problems with the new Healthcare Plan

Here is a wonderful video from youtube where Peter Schiff explains the potential problems associated with the upcoming Democratic Healthcare Plan.

So basically I will not have to buy health insurance at all. Just pay the $95 yearly penalty and wait. If I ever do get sick then just join the healthcare plan then and get the benefits I need, but up until that point I should not spend a penny on health insurance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mafia Wars - Moscow revamped

Well it seems Mafia Wars Moscow was a little too daunting. I agree there was definitely a cash problem as it was tough to get enough to really blast through the episodes, but it also made it a challenge. Personally, I enjoyed the challenge of actually having to plan how to efficiently use energy rather than just fly right along.

I guess enough people complained though and Mafia Wars tweeked some things. It looks like the businesses now yield much much more. Looks like the payout had been tripled on each business. The other major change is the elimination of bribery. This will save tons of cash as I was paying a good 30% of each yield in bribes.

All in all Mafia Wars just became easier. I would rather have kept the challenge in the game, but either way it won't cause me to change my strategies moving forward in Mafia Wars.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can TCU Make the BCS National Championship Game?

Can TCU make the BCS national championship game? As crazy as this seemed a few weeks ago....yes they sure can. Be careful before you bring up the "they haven't palyed anybody" argument. TCU has. In fact the computers rank TCU's strength of schedule above that of Texas. TCU has road wins at Clemson (leading the ACC Atlantic Division), Virginia, and BYU as well as at Air Force in a sleet storm. TCU can flat out play.

So how do they get into the BCS title game you ask? Currently TCU is #6 in the BCS. Well let's take a look at the rest of the story. Let's start with Iowa. By far the most overrated team at the top. The masters of squeeking by bad to average teams. Barely eeked out victories over Northern Iowa and very average Michigan and Michigan State sides. Iowa loses at Ohio State November 14th.

Everyone knows Alabama and Florida will have to meet eventually....that is if they can stay unbeaten until then. Both are playing with fire lately, but still winning. One of these two in the BCS title game.

That leaves Texas and USC. Both have better shots than TCU and will both have to lose for TCU to get in. Both have 1 tough road game left. Texas must win this weekend at Oklahoma State and USC must win this weekend at Oregon. Both tricky trips. If both slipup than TCU would vault up.

I know alot has to fall in TCU's favor to get the BCS title game, but who would have seen TCU rising this far so fast anyways? Win at Clemson in front of 70,000 in a rain storm. Demolish BYU in Provo. Blast Virginia on the road. Crazier things have happened.....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will Americans be Forced to Buy Health Insurance?

The new Health Bill is coming. Make no bones about it. The Democrats are going to force it through whether it is good for the country or not. A requirement of the new healthcare bill will be that all Americans will be forced to buy health insurance. Isn't a major problem with the current healthcare system that uninsured patients are being forced to be given treatment. These uninsured patients are thus absorbed by the system forcing costs up for everyone.

Well let me ask this. How can someone too poor to be able to afford health insurance now, be forced by law to buy health insurance once the bill passes? What will be done with these people? This is like trying to solve the homeless problem by requiring all people without a home to buy one or face breaking the law. Huh?

President Obama said in a speech that for those that cannot afford health insurance the government will provide it via tax relief. Well let's see. Someone earning $10 or less an hour does not have a tax burden at the end of the year and all the withholding they paid for the year will still not pay the cost of health insurance for that person. How will you give someone that has no tax burden a tax credit?

The fact is that a portion of the American public cannot afford health insurance and the US Government is too broke to buy it for them. So what is the solution?  These people will not buy health insurance.  Instead they will receive a bill in the mail from the US government as those without insurance after Jan 2014 will be penalized.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mafia Wars - The Cellphone Problem

Well anyone that has gotten very far into Mafia Wars has seen that it takes an amazing amount of untraceable cell phones to knock out the New York stages. Literally hundreds will be required. Two jobs on the Capo level, one on the Consgiliere level and another on the Underboss level will definitely try the Mafia War patience.

The problem many Mafia War players face though is how to best obtain the cellphones they need over the course of the game. The key is to be efficient. There is no requirement that you knock out all of New York before heading on to Cuba and Moscow. Be efficient in Mafia Wars.

The mistake many players make is that they waste tons and tons of energy back on the Enforcer level job of Robbing an Electronics Store to try and get enough cellphones. Once you have mastered level 3 of the Enforcer level you are just throwing away energy to get the untraceable cellphones. It is wasted energy in Mafia Wars.

Just go on knocking out jobs at other levels in New York, Cuba and Moscow. Get cellphones from gifting friends as well as fighting. It is slow going, but at least you are using your energy in a positive manner by doing jobs you need to get done.

They also threw us a bone in Moscow as in Episode 1 the Arrange a Drug Shipment job yields cellphones. If you are dying to grab cellphones and finish the New York tier make sure to do the Moscow job over the New York job to get your cellphones. The Moscow job yields them in much much greater frequency.

Best of luck with Mafia Wars on Facebook!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Chicago eliminated from 2016 Olympic consideration

In a shocker of monumental proportions, Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting for the rights to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Nobody expected the vote at all. In fact, the result was so surprising that there was no reaction frolm the crowd at all upon announcement. Just stunned silence.

What does this mean to Barack Obama who made the trip to Stockholm to present for the bid? It is definitely a blow to the United States as well as Chicago. It means a major loss of economic impact. Chicago was counting on over 4.5 billion in economic impact from the Olympic Games. Estimates are the Olympics are worth 14 Super Bowls to put it in perspective.

Tokyo was eliminated as well leaving only Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Madrid, Spain as the final two for the 2016 Olympics. The final decision will be announced later today with Brazil being the heavy heavy favorites.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mafia Wars - Making Money in Moscow

Rubles can get a little short in Mafia Wars Moscow it seems. I think that is a good thing though as it makes it more challenging. I liked that fact about Cuba as well. Took a little more planning and thinking to make your $$ stretch farther. The same seems to be true in Moscow. I chugged along fine at the beginning, but now I am into Episode 2 and the rubles are running thin.

One thing you can do to help make up the ruble deficits is to do all your fighting in Moscow and search for people that havent banked their rubles. Seems I can make a tidy amount just from finding the right people to fight.

Grab the Cigarette Smuggling Ring business in Mafia Wars. It yields R$30,000 every three hours making the break even approximately 4 days. After that it is pure profit.

Best of luck in Mafia Wars and happy fighting! Please feel free to leave any other tips in comments.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Choosing Vory or Mafiya in Mafia Wars Moscow

Ok so there are two paths in Mafia Wars Moscow. Which to choose? Vory or Mafiya? Luckily one does not have to maked a choice right away. You are not locked in until the third mastery of the chapter. Up until then you can choose either.

There is alot of misinformation going around as Moscow is so new. Early word on the street is that Vory rewards and paths are more job based while the Mafiya is more fighting based with better weapons and defenses.

Here is what I recommend. First mastery of the side choose Vory. Take notes and pay attention to what you get along the way. Second mastery of the side take Mafiya. Once again take notes and pay attention. Talk to your friends and get their input. Upon the third mastery you will have a much better idea fo which sides suits you best for the long term.

Best of luck in Mafia Wars and feel free to leave any tips or comments.

More on Mafia Wars Moscow Expansion

Well it looks to me like the dreaded untraceable cell phones and concealable cameras are going to be necessary at some point in Mafia Wars Moscow. The loot items on the first two Moscow jobs are cell phones and cameras. Hopefully the loot items are just to help people finish up New York rather than being needed for later in Moscow. We shall see.

I still need probably 50 to wrap up New York and the Cuba. I try not to do the cell phone job as it is a waste of energy doing a job I have already mastered. I would rather use the energy towards productive jobs that I have not mastered. Thus I get my cell phones from looting and rewards. Might have to change that strategy, but would rather not waste the energy. I'll just use the Moscow cell phones I get back in New York and pray we dont need more cell phones down the line in Moscow.

Looks like I will not have to choose sides in Mafia Wars Moscow until the third level. At that point you will have to choose a side to support and this will affect the final stage, boss battle and special loot item dropped at the end.

Again, any Mafia Wars tips are appreciated. Feel free to post in the comments.

Mafia Wars Moscow is Live Today!

Mafia Wars Moscow is live and running as of this morning! Lots of new fun and challenges ready for us. I am going to wait a couple of days before doing anything other than fighting and collecting money from the taxi business. I am very close to completing the entire Cuba level and want to go ahead and finish that up. It will also give me a couple of days to study Moscow so that I do not rush over there and make a mistake.

Money could be a problem in Mafia Wars Moscow, but we'll wait and see. The inventory items look to be quite expensive with the cheapest weapon a dubina for 500,000 rubles. The cheapest armor is 900,000 rubles. Cuba had money issues early on as it was tough to get going there as well. It looks like the businesses in Moscow are not to be bought but rather earned once you reach certain levels there. A new twist there.

It also looks like in Chapter 1 that there are mystery items required to do the jobs as there is a question mark next to the job requirements. Hope they aren't cell phones or something like that. Ouch. We'll find out soon enough.

Either way around it, Mafia Wars Moscow is an exciting new chapter in Mafia Wars and I am looking forward to embarking on it in a couple days once I wrap up Cuba. Any Moscow tips please post them in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mafia Wars - Here Comes Moscow!

For all you Mafia Wars players out there, and there are an easy 5 million of us, get ready for Moscow. Yes, the Moscow expansion is coming soon....very soon. It couldn't come soon enough either as many of us are finishing or are alrady done with Cuba and ready for a new challenge. Moscow will require you to be at least level 70 to visit and word on the street is that Mafia Wars Moscow will be much much tougher then New York or Cuba.

New York was pretty much a breeze, with money easy to get and jobs definitely doable. The only real challenge of New York was getting enough of those damned cell phones to actually finish up.

Cuba was tougher for sure. Money was much more difficult to obtain and getting started took time. More challenging and more fun. I'm hoping Mafia Wars Moscow takes the same step forward.

The biggest difference in this expansion? Mafia Wars Senior Product Manager David Kahn says it will have, "a new look and feel," and, "will be much harder than other expansions we released before, more geared to higher level players, level 70-plus."

Also unlike the other Mafia Wars scenarios, missions will be broken down into chapters, and you will not be able to see the next set of missions until you complete a chapter and defeat the boss at the end. Players will also have to rely on friends more than before to defeat these high-powered crime lords.

Once Moscow is taken care of Mafia Wars players can look forward to Asia and Western US expansions as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Can We Function with a $9 Trillion Budget Deficit?

The Obama Government came out today and predicted a budget deficit of $9 trillion over the next decade. How can we function like that? How can the rest of the world take the US seriously when it will be so far underwater? At the end of the decade the debt will equal 75% of the entire American economy as we will owe almost $20 trillion dollars!

Politicians have to stop the ridiculous spending! Now! We have to tighten the belt and do without some things. When I don't have enough income then I stop buying things. I do not go out and charge and charge and wrack up more debt.

We the voters need to take a stand and let Congress and the President know that this type of rampant spending is not productive for the long term future of the United States. Period. There are two options.

Raise taxes or cut spending. Raising taxes in this economic environment is not productive. The answer: quit throwing money around.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Laura Ling and Euna Lee to be released by North Korea

Former US President Bill Clinton visited North Korea in an attempt to release Current TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee who have been held for months after being arrested last year when they crossed into North Korea illegally. The two were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor earlier this year. Word out of North Korea is that Kim Jong Il has decided to pardon the two.

The release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee was a sign of North Korea's "humanitarian and peaceloving policy," the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The North has been playing up the Bill Clinton visit as a major event and state run media is reporting the visit was used to discuss political issues between the US and North Korea. They are also reporting that Bill Clinton delivered a personal letter from President Barack Obama. The US government is denying the visit was for anything more than to negotiate the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee and that no message was delivered from Obama.

Friday, July 17, 2009

You Wonder Why the Airline Industry is in Bad Shape?

So you wonder why the airline industry is in such a bad state? Let's say poor business model and poor customer relations. So I have a Sunday evening flight from Orlando to DFW on American Airlines booked. I was hoping to move up from the 6:30pm flight to the 11:30am flight to get back in town in time to get to the Chelsea-Club America soccer game at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium Sunday night.

So I do my online research and see there are seats open on the 11:30am flight. Should be an easy change right? Nothing to it. Just move me off the later flight and put me on the earlier flight. Maybe $25 processing fee that's fine.

I talk to the reservationist at American. No problem. Seats available easy change. Then she says "That will be a $436 processing charge." Heck I only paid $220 for the round trip tickets! Amazing. I'll pass. $436 to make a 2 minute change. ridiculous.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

BCS is just not right at all

Despite some eloquent grandstanding on its behalf before a US Senate subcommittee Tuesday, the Mountain West Conference caved in the next day and re-upped with the Bowl Championship Series. This action was as predictable as it was understandable. Five more years of crumbs, after all, beats death by starvation. Still, it's a shame.

The BCS is designed by elites, for elites, who also accord themselves the privilege of defining what constitutes an elite. It exists to generate and horde wealth for a select few, locking out others who aspire to join their club. And that's all.

The elites would have you believe theirs are the only college football teams you want to watch, or to see play in a national championship game. So that's how the BCS is set up, to orchestrate the proof that perpetuates the fraud. This would be like the government clearing the shelves in all grocery stores of everything but dog food, then saying, "All the people want to eat is dog food."

It's crazy. You know this. You know the BCS is wrong. You know this unholy concoction constitutes an unreasonable restraint of commerce within the intercollegiate sports industry; that the BCS willfully acquired its power and exercises that power in monopolistic fashion. In other words, you know what Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and anyone else with a working brain knows: The BCS violates pretty much everything the Sherman Antitrust Act was designed to prohibit.

Now, teams of lawyers might get drunk and rich debating the fine points of anti-trust law. For example, Vanderbilt Law School graduate and associate editor Clay Travis last week posted a brilliant essay in which he noted the BCS is not actually a legal entity and, therefore, could not violate Sherman. The probability that the BCS was structured to avoid such a challenge should be enough to make fans regurgitate, if not revolt.

Fine points be damned. We all should want what is right. It would be nice if the eloquence articulated by BCS opponents Tuesday were sincere, for their arguments were spot on. At the top, the Bowl Championship Series consists of five major bowl games: Fiesta, Orange, Rose, Sugar and the BCS Championship. The winners of the six BCS conferences that govern the system — the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-10 and SEC — are guaranteed berths in one of those games, regardless of how they rank in terms of overall quality. The top two teams in the final BCS standings, determined by a compilation of two polls and six computerized ranking systems, play for the national championship.

While nothing in the BCS setup directly prohibits a member of one of the five non-BCS conferences from grabbing one of the four remaining spots in the big bowl games, or from qualifying to play for the national title, the deck is stacked against those things happening. Of 94 berths in major bowl games the past 11 seasons, only four have gone to non-BCS teams. No non-BCS team has played for the championship; not even last season, when Mountain West champ Utah was undefeated while Florida and Oklahoma matched one-loss records in the title game.

"In this country," Utah president Michael Young testified to the subcommittee, "we should decide championships by competition, not by conspiracy."

Alas, there was little sincerity here. The only outrage was self-serving.

"I would not be here today if all universities had a realistic opportunity to compete for the national championship and if BCS revenues were equitably distributed among institutions," Young said.

I find that hard to believe. Young was there testifying and Hatch was there from gavel to gavel, pontificating about BCS arrogance and later goading the Justice Department to investigate, only because Utah was the latest program gored by the Bull Championship Spit.

If Utah joins the Pac-10 in the next major realignment of big-time conferences, thus becoming an official elite, their outrage will sink to the bottom of the Great Salt Lake, and Hatch and Young will begin reciting the bunk sounded by Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman, whose university belongs to the Big XII.

"I don't think it's arrogant if you've thought about something for five or six years and concluded that it's really hard to do something different," Perlman testified.

No, it's the height of arrogance to think the rest of us are stupid enough to believe him. The solution actually is very simple, if you are dedicated to what is right instead of what lines your pockets.

The Justice Department should set him straight and put the BCS in its place.

KIRK WESSLER is Journal Star executive sports editor/columnist. He can be reached at, or 686-3216.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Interesting article about the Plastic Vortex

Found a very interesting article at about the existing area of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean. It is called the "plastic vortex" and is a real problem to marine life. You may never have heard of it, but it estimated to be at least the size of the state of Texas!

Plastic Vortex

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

USA beats Spain 2-0 at Confederations Cup

Wow how about that USA soccer team today?!?!?!! Wonderful win over the #1 ranked team in the world Spain 2-0 at the Confederations Cup in South Africa. Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey.

Story at Soccermogul

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What a novel idea California has....Cut Welfare!

What a novel idea California has to help solve their budget deficit. Cut welfare for 500,000 maybe now they'll have to actually go work for a living like the rest of us rather than sit at home doing nothing. Maybe every other state will figure this out and cut out the socialist freebies.

It's ashame that there are some other cuts Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing like cutting the state park funding and cutting school funding. Hey how about doing away with welfare altogether? Welfare was not what this great country was built on. Going out and making a life through effort and hard work is what made us a great country. Too many people look for the government for handouts nowadays rather than being resolute and going and earning a living.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More new taxes coming. This time its Beer and Wine

The democrats are floating new tax ideas. Last week it was soft drinks like Coke and Dr Pepper. This week it is beer and wine. The plan is up to $2 per case of beer to help fund health care. It will not be a big deal to my pocketbook given the fact that personally I drink about six beers a year nowadays (seems I have outgrown it in my 20s).

BUT bottom line it is just more government taxation in a time when the economy does not need more taxes. Furthermore, the brunt of this tax will be shouldered by the middle and lower class, who studies show are the major consumers of alcohol in the United States. So the people Obama campaigned for on a stance of lowering tax burdens will be the ones to feel this the most.

Stop the extra taxation and be fiscally responsible. In my life if I can't pay for it then I don't get it. Period.

Alcoholo Taxation ....bad idea.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

California voters reject budget measures

California voters spoke loudly as they rejected lawmakers ideas on closing the $21 billion dollar state budget shortfall. Over 60% of voters said no way. Voters however were more than happy to approve a measure that bars any pay increases for state officials. Sounds like a resounding rejection of California elected officials to me.

I think this quote sums it up best:
"We have a dope for a governor and the legislature is completely incompetent," said John Brockage outside a polling place in Oakland, California, on Tuesday. "I voted 'no' on all of them."

Voters said they disliked the specifics in the measures, including a spending cap, extending tax increases, borrowing against lottery revenues and tapping dedicated funds, and used the election to rebuke the governor and lawmakers.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Earthquake shakes Euless here in North Texas

Well there I was sitting on the couch Saturday morning disappointed that our soccer tournament had been cancelled due to the rains that moved in overnight. I was watching 10,000 BC opn the tele when all of a sudden the whole building started shaking. At first I thought a neighbor knocked over a dressor or something (as I live in an apartment building), but the shaking continued. I felt the whole building sway back and forth probably four times and then it stopped. The whole thing lasted maybe five seconds total.

I thought "What the heck was that?" I wondered had a car struck the building....but no there had been no crash. I live only a mile from DFW Airport and the only thing I could really think was possibly there had been a plane crash or something. Surely it was not an earthquake here in Euless. I decided to take out the trash and go outside to see if anyone else was around.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wow a tax on Dr Pepper and Coke is next from the Democrats?

Seriously Obama. Now a tax on soft drinks? Tax hikes left and right. Typical democrat policy. Tax and spend. This was the first April in the history of our country that the government ran at a deficit. In 250 years! Now they want to add a tax on Dr Pepper and Coke? Come on.

How about we just stop giving a year of unemployment benefits to allow these people to sit on their couch and do nothing, we cut it in half and have them go get jobs. No we would rather have a government that allows them to do nothing and get paid for it. I drove down our main street this morning and counted six help wanted or hiring signs in different businesses. No lets just keep the ridiculously long free money for doing nothing policy and instead tax soft drinks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Whats the difference between a Pandemic and an Epidemic?

So I am sure you have thought this over the last week or so with the rise of the Swine Flu Pandemic. What is the difference between a Pandemic and an Epidemic? I know I certainly wondered such. Well, here is your answer.

An Epidemic affects a region or a large part of a populated area while a Pandemic is worldwide. The last Pandemic flu was the Hong Kong Flu Pandemic of 1968 in which 39,000 died in the United States and nearly 1 million died worldwide.

So far the Swine Flu has killed about 150 in Mexico and is spreading with cases turning up all across the globe. It would be quite scary if the Swine Flu Pandemic reaches anywhere near the proportions of the Hong Kong Flu Pandemic. If so we are at the very beginning of the Pandemic currently.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Avoiding the Swine Flu

With all the concern with the swine flu let's take a minute to visit three simple things that can help one avoid swine flu.

1. Sanitize and wash, wash, wash. Stay clean and wash those hands. Bottom line is that 80% of all infections are spread by hands. A simple 20 second soap and water wash will do the trick.

2. Avoid social situations where possible. Social distancing is the word for it. Avoid large crowds when possible. Simply put, avoiding large groups will decrease the contact you have with potential infected.

3. Get help if you recognize symptoms. Fever, body aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Recognize the swine flu symptoms. Get help. Tamiflu and Relenza appear to help with swine flu.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hostages Freed from Pirates but Pirates let go

OK now get this one.....NATO forces tracked a group of Somali Pirates that had tried to capture a Marshall Islands flagged tanker. The NATO force tracked the Pirates back to their "mother-ship", a Yemeni flagged fishing ship that the Pirates had seized on Thursday. The NATO forces borded the Pirate "mother-ship" and rescued 20 fisherman who were being held hostage.

No problems there at all....good job NATO forces...caught the Pirates....rescued the hostages. Here's where it gets ridiculous. The Pirates were let go because the NATO forces had no authority to arrest the Pirates. It seems the NATO forces were Dutch and to be able to make an arrest the Pirates would have had to be Dutch as well. Now how silly is that? The Somali Pirates are never going to stop if everytime they get caught there are no consequences. They'll be right back out there next week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Watch out! The Pirates vow Revenge

Oh we have the Pirates after us. You knoew what was going to happen last week when they made the mistake of taking a ship under the US flag. I was surprised we didnt take the pirates out earlier and waited several days. That's just the way it was going to be. Glad to see the French actually standing up and showing some toughness lately as they seem to be the only other nation that cares to get tough with the pirates. We weren't going to pay millions of dollars to some punks in a little boat with some guns and we won't in the future. So bring it on you silly pirates. Your end will be the same as the group that kidnapped Captain Phillips.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Michelle Obama an instant hit in England

It didn't take long for First Lady Michelle Obama to win the hearts in England as she met with the Queen and made a very popular appearance at an all girls school in London. Michelle Obama clearly made an impression with the 82 yr old Queen, so much that she strayed slightly from protocol and briefly wrapped her arm around the first lady in a rare public show of affection.

The Daily Mail said the "two women clearly took to each other."

Later in the day Michelle Obama visited an all girls school in London to rave reviews and awestruck girls. Obama urged the students to take advantage of the schooling opportunity and reminded them that they could be anything they desired with a lot of hard work.

Her visit seems so impressive that she has been dubbed "Mighty Michelle" by the British media.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Barack Obama lands in London for G20

President Barack Obama landed in London this morning on his way to the G-20 meeting of the world's major economic powers. Obama will also be attending a NATO summit to commemorate 60 years of existence. He will be visiting five countries over the eight day European trip.

The main event in London is Thursday's summit on the global financial crisis among the Group of 20 wealthy and developing nations. Together, they represent 85% of the world's economy. Obama will meet with leaders from countries such as India, Russia, China and South Korea while in London.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fed Surprises the Market with Plans to buy more Debt

It's time to refinance those loans! If you have anything other than a 5% mortgage right now you have to go refinance. The move by the Federal Reserve and Fed Chief Ben Bernanke surprised the markets on Wednesday in saying that they will buy up to $300 billion worth of long term US government debt over the next six months and expand purchases of mortgage related debt to help ease credit market conditions.

The news sent the stockmarket higher as well as bolstered bank stocks as profit margins will widen greatly for them. The move was also recognized by gold as the inflationary consequences will be seen down the road from basically printing more and more money to put into the financial system. The US dollar was also moving strongly downwards.

So I am sure you are following the AIG bonus hearings....

Well I am sure everyone has heard of the ridiculous $165 million in bonuses AIG paid out last weekend to the very traders that caused the downfall of the company as well as alot of the financial market trouble. I am also sure most of you have been following today's Congressional hearing where AIG CEO Edward Liddy sat in front of Congress to answer for the bonuses. The US Government and the US taxpayers have given Liddy and AIG $170 billion in bailout money to keep the company afloat.

Many Congressmen and President Barack Obama have gone on record recently denouncing the bonuses and different ways to get the bonus money back are being floated around Congress as we speak.

A statement from the hearing that caused me alot of grief was when Liddy had the audacity to say "We at AIG want to believe that we are all in this together." Well sir, personally I choose to not be with you anymore as long as you decide to reward incompetence with mega-bonuses. I do respect the fact that Liddy is only drawing $1 a year in salary, but I also recognize the fact that this man has made millions over the last few years.

Thank goodness for Barney Frank. I like this guy. I don't like all of his policy, but I like the guy. It is "time for us to assert our ownership rights," said Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the full Financial Services committee. Frank said Congress will be asking for the names of the bonus recipients, and if AIG declines to provide it, he will convene the committee to subpoena for the names. "We do intend to use our power to get the names," he said.

The White House for the first time on Tuesday night said Geithner learned of the impending bonus payments a week ago Tuesday; he told the White House about them last Thursday, and senior aides informed President Barack Obama later that day. Geithner said on Tuesday he was working with the Justice Department to find ways to recover some of the payments. He cited a provision in the recent economic stimulus law that gave him authority to review compensation to the most highly paid employees of companies that already have received federal assistance.

Hopefully, we can recover these ridiculous bonuses. Otherwise, I am going to go give the absolute worst performance I can at my job and then demand a monster raise!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Madoff Ledoff

Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty today and was ledoff to jail. Madoff was denied bail after pleading guilty and stating he was "deeply sorry and ashamed" of his actions.

Prosecutors say the disgraced financier, who has spent three months under house arrest in his Manhattan penthouse, could face a maximum term of 150 years in prison at sentencing June 16. Madoff is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

The fraud, which prosecutors say may have totaled nearly $65 billion, turned a revered money man into an overnight global disgrace whose name became synonymous with the current economic meltdown.

The plea does not end the Bernie Madoff saga: Investigators are still undertaking the daunting task of unraveling how he pulled off the fraud for decades without being caught. They suspect that his family and top lieutenants who helped run his operation from its midtown Manhattan headquarters may have been involved.

Friday, March 6, 2009

That Dancing With The Stars can be dangerous!

Wow! That Dancing With The Stars is dangerous stuff for sure! Seems the season hasn't even started yet and already it has claimed two victims. Nancy O'Dell and Jewel have both been forced out due to injury. Nancy O'Dell needs knee surgery for a torn meniscus while Jewel is out due to fractures in both legs due to the dancing stress.

Althought neither made it past rehearsals both enjoyed and were proud of their time with Dancing With The Stars. According to ABC, both O’Dell and Jewel will appear on Monday’s season premiere to talk about their departure from the show and “additional changes to the cast” will also be announced during the premiere.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Barack Obama Lovefest Losing Steam in Europe?

Europe anticipated his arrival as US President with open arms and enthusiasm after years of dealing with difficult Bush American political policy. Is the Barack Obama love affair losing steam so quickly in the new US President's tenure? The troubling world economy is definitely stifling the Obama momentum. Many Europeans are feeling a bit overlooked and ignored by Barack Obama. He has yet to visit Europe and sent his Secretary of State to Asia and the Middle East before Europe.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is heading to Europe for a basic meet-and-greet trip. Hillary Clinton will also set the stage for Obama's visit to Europe next month. The Obama trip will include a summit with the 27 EU leaders in Prague, as well as a London summit of the G20, and NATO's 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg.

Hopefully a little attention from the new US President will reassure the Europeans of Barack Obama's plans and intentions moving forward as President.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So US Taxpayers get to rebuild Gaza?

Don't we have enough problems here in the US already? Now the news is that we will give $900 million to Palestine to help rebuild what Israel blew up. The government can't agree to help GM or Ford out of their miserable state yet we can agree to give a group of terrorists and extremists who don't even like us $900 million. Maybe the CEO of GM should go to Congress next time and be a jerk and say GM hates America....then they'll get a huge bailout package?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hillary Clinton heads to China

Newly appointed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Asia looking to make new inroads in bilateral relations with China . Clinton will visit four nations during the trip, but make no doubts, the real focus of the trip is China.

She has made it clear she wants to move the relationship with China dramatically forward, finding new ways to build and sustain economic growth, but also to forge new agreements on climate change and the environment .

It will be interesting to see the welcome Clinton gets in China. In 1995, as first lady, Clinton delivered a fiery speech on human rights at a Beijing conference winning a worldwide following while dismaying her Chinese hosts, who banned coverage in the country's official media.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What to do with Guantanamo Inmates?

President Obama has stated plans to close Guantanamo Bay in a year. Most Americans are ok with this decision. The big issue that has barely been addressed is what to do with the prisoners?

It has been established that most of the prisoner's home countries will not take them back under any circumstances. Now several Senators are beginning to speak out saying "do not send them here!" The objections will become louder and more widespread I am sure as the closure date approaches.

The Guantanamo prison opened in 2002 at the US naval base on Cuba and has been widely condemned by rights groups and foreign governments as failing to meet basic legal standards. President Obama is bowing to international pressure to close the facility. Unfortunately, nobody has come forward with a plan for the prisoners. Hopefully, we don't set them free, but I get the feeling many will be flat out released. Sixty prisoners that have been released over the last year are unable to leave because no country will allow them entry.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

North Korea threatens war with South Korea

North Korea threatened war with South Korea due to their confrontational political policies. The message was clear only two days after the North vowed to abandon all peace agreements with its southern neighbor.

Relations between the pair have been strained since conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office nearly a year ago. He pledged to take a harder line on the North. Tension heightened Friday when the North said it was ditching a nonaggression pact and all other peace accords with South Korea.

The tension may lead to "an unavoidable military conflict and a war," North Korea's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

"The policy of confrontation" by the South Korean government is "the very source of military conflicts and war" between the Koreas, it said.

The North has accused Lee's government of preparing to stage a war, which South Korea denies. Earlier this month, the North's military declared it adopted an "all-out confrontational posture" to defeat any southern aggression. In its Friday statement, the North said it would no longer respect a disputed sea border with the South on the west of the peninsula, raising the prospect for a new armed clash in the area, already the scene of bloody naval skirmishes in 1999 and 2002.

President Lee Myung-bak sought to downplay the statement and called it "not unusual." He indicated his government will wait until the North is ready for talks in good faith.

A South Korean Defense Ministry official said Sunday that the country's navy remains on alert along the western sea border. The official also said the ministry has not detected any unusual movements of the North Korean military. The peninsula remains divided by a heavily fortified border, with tens of thousands of troops stationed on both sides.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Removed from Office

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted of impeachment charges by the Illinois state Senate and removed from office. The Illinois Senate voted a unanimous 59-0 to oust the Democrat Governor immediately. They also voted by the same margin to bar him from ever holding public office again in Illinois.

Earlier in the day Rod Blagojevich had asked, "How can you throw a governor out of office who is clamoring and begging and pleading with you to give him a chance to bring witnesses in to prove his innocence? A crime has not been proven here." He skipped the chance to make a formal defense during the proceedings because, he said, the rules restricted him from calling the witnesses he needed or playing in full the federal government wiretapped conversations that led to charges involving Obama's Senate seat.

In return, the Illinois Senate used words such as devious, cynical, crass, corrupt, liar, and hypocrite when discussing the case prior to the vote to oust the Illinois Governor.

Same Pork as Usual in Latest Stimulus Package

So where will this newest stimulus package get us? The democrats pushed it through the House of Representatives yesterday. President Barack Obama campaigned on change, but this new stimulus plan is full of the same old pork that we have seen for decades in American politics. President Obama has promoted the 3-T strategy for the stimulus package and recovery....temporary, targeted and timely.

First off the tax cuts & credits in the plan will mean $12/week per paycheck for the average American. It's nice, but won't make any difference at all for me. It won't change my spending habits. It won't make me go buy anything other than what I would be normally buying anyway. It will just go into my bank account as with most Americans. Very little stimulus there as most won't notice any difference at all.

Now to the pork in the bill. $70 million for stop smoking programs. Not going to create any jobs there. $335 million for sexually transmitted diseases = no job creation. $650 million for DTV coupons. $50 million for national endowment for the arts. Now I am all for museums and such, but come on. $75 million super computer for national oceanic and atmospheric association. Typical political pork. Nothing of the above helps our struggling economy or creates any jobs whatsoever.

Now to the building and infrastructure parts of the package. I think timely was one of the 3-Ts. According to the Washington Post, of the $30 billion devoted to highway spending, only $4 billion will be spent within the next 2 years. Less than $3 billion of the $18.5 billion for renewable energy and less than half the financing for school construction will be spent by 2011. How is this timely? We need this stuff now not in 2013!

Unfortunately, it looks like politics as usual in Washington. I love President Obama's energy and enthusiasm, but if we can't eliminate special interests and pork from Congress it is all for naught and this country will continue to have it's tax dollars wasted.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

President Obama Pushing New Stimulus Package

President Barack Obama took to the airwaves Saturday to promote his economic aid plan which he is hoping to get through Congress soon. Obama's recovery package goals are:

--- Double within three years the amount of energy that could be produced from renewable resources . That is an ambitious goal, given the 30 years it took to reach current levels. Advisers say that could power 6 million households.

---upgrade 10,000 schools and improve learning for about 5 million students.

---save $2 billion a year by making federal buildings energy efficient.

---triple the number of undergraduate and graduate fellowships in science.

---tighten security at almost 90 major US ports.

The plan would look to spend at least 75% of the total cost (more than $600 billion) within the first 18 months, either through work projects favored by Democrats or tax cuts favored by Republicans.

There is heavy emphasis on public works projects, which have lagged as state budgets contracted. Governors have lobbied Obama to help them patch holes in their budgets, drained by sinking tax revenues and increased need for public assistance such as Medicaid and children's health insurance. Obama's plan would increase the federal portion of those programs so no state would have to cut any of the 20 million children whose eligibility is now at risk. Obama's plan would also provide health care coverage for 8.5 million people who lose their insurance when they either lose or shift jobs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Caroline Kennedy Withdraws US Senate Bid

Caroline Kennedy informed New York Governor David Paterson that she is withdrawing from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton in the US Senate. The daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, has never held public office prior, but launched an unusual public campaign to replace Clinton. Hillary Clinton was sworn in as President Barack Obama's secretary of state and immediately afterward resigned from the Senate.

The New York governor's office made no immediate comment and a spokesman for Kennedy could not be reached. Paterson had said he would wait until Clinton resigns from the Senate before naming a replacement.

The New York Times reported that Caroline Kennedy's decision to withdraw was prompted by concerns about the health of her uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, who was hospitalized after a seizure during an inaugural lunch for Barack Obama.

Kennedy's withdrawal would leave New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as the favorite for the job. Cuomo is a former cabinet secretary under President Bill Clinton and the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. The New York Times said Paterson is expected to announce the position on Saturday.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When is the Best Time to End Your EBAY Auction?

For anyone who sells on Ebay it is a question whose answer is the difference between getting a good selling price or an average selling price for your merchandise. When is the best time to end your auction on Ebay?

I know personally there have been many auctions I had been planning on winning, but forgot about, or got busy with something else. When I remembered it had already closed. One key is to not have your auction end around people's "busy times".

General consensus for the best time to end an Ebay auction is between 10-12pm eastern time. This is the main selling time because all three major US time zones are past dinner and into the evening leisure time.

Weekends are also the best time to end an auction. Shoot for a Saturday ending or a Sunday ending. Next best would be Friday. Avoid weeknights for the most part. Always go with a 7 day auction as well. This will give your item ample time to be seen, watched and bid upon.

Good luck and may all your Ebay items sell well!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hillary Clinton Preparing for Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton is preparing for Tuesday’s confirmation hearing and barring a bombshell revelation, all sides expect Clinton to be speedily confirmed as Secretary of State, But her rendezvous with the Foreign Relations Committee at 9:30am still offers its share of potential hurdles.

Nobody’s fonder of huddling secretly with a closeknit, tight-lipped clutch of advisers than Hillary Clinton. And she’s been huddling plenty in recent days, gaming out defenses to possible attacks against her husband while synchronizing her policy positions with Obama to avoid embarrassing public disagreements on Iraq, Iran and Israel.

“If they hit her on any personal stuff or on the BS, she’ll hit the ball out of the park,” said a longtime adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity. “She’s far more concerned with the substance. This is the re-emergence of the non-political Hillary. The most discomfort is where she and Obama disagree, the ‘you’re naive’ stuff. She can’t show up the president, she can’t appear like she’s trying to formulate her own foreign policy.”

Clinton’s task is made easier by the fact that Obama quietly adopted many of his former rival’s more hawkish foreign policy positions by the end of the primaries. Her path may also be eased by the fact that Obama’s pick for Attorney General, Eric Holder, has become the main lightning rod for GOP opposition in the Senate.

“Holder’s attracting most of the attention on the right,” says Steve Clemons, vice president of the progressive New America Foundation. “She’s different. She’s a respected senator, and if they attack her, they will just appear mean and nasty… and they’ll appear as if they are undermining America’s diplomatic standing. And the Democrats are going to use soft gloves.”

The committee’s staff is so confident Clinton will sail through that it has scheduled only a single day of hearings, although it has taken the precaution of reserving the committee room for Wednesday just in case. That’s a far cry from previous secretary of state confirmations: In 1981, Al Haig had to endure a 5 day grilling about his role in Watergate before earning approval.

“We expect her confirmation hearing to be congenial, fair and swift,” said Sen. John Kerry’s committee spokesman Frederick Jones.

To ensure that nothing goes awry, Clinton has assembled a confirmation commando unit of sorts, featuring her post campaign inner circle, including Cheryl Mills, Maggie Williams and her trusted Senate chief of staff, Tamera Luzzatto.

She’s added a new collection of Clinton-Obama foreign policy experts to coach her on the issues and the Byzantine bureaucracy at Foggy Bottom. They include Clinton Senate staffer Andrew Shapiro, former ambassadors Joe Huggins and Vickie Huddleston, a pair of incoming deputy secretaries of state, Jim Steinberg and Jack Lew, Clinton campaign policy maven Jake Sullivan, and Wendy Sherman, a highly regarded State Department veteran who helped shape Bill Clinton’s Haiti policy in the 1990s.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tax Cuts Coming in the New Stimulus Plan from Barack Obama

The upcoming economic stimulus package to be proposed by President-elect Barack Obama could include very large tax breaks for individuals and businesses, according to Democratic aides. The tax cuts could make up as much as 40% of the stimulus package. The package may be worth as much as $775 billion meaning tax cuts may constitute more than $300 billion of the legislation.

Making tax cuts such a large part of the stimulus may help win support from Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said his party would support a middle class tax cut as part of any stimulus package.

The plan would attempt to boost consumer demand by spending $140 billion on tax breaks worth $500 for individuals and $1,000 for couples. The change would come by altering tax-withholding rules, rather than through a rebate check as with the previous stimulus plan enacted last year, so that workers would see an immediate increase in their take-home pay.

The $500 tax credit would apply to the first $8,100 of wages, meaning a worker who earns $24,400 a year and is paid twice a month would get about $60 extra per paycheck for four months.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Can We Get Rid of This BCS System Yet?

Can we get rid of this stupid BCS yet? My goodness. January 1st used to be the holy grail of college football days. Now it is hardly worth turning on the tele. Clemson? The team that started the year ranked in the top 10 only to finish unranked and without a coach....and who did they play again? Nebraska? About the 8 best team in the Big 12? Now thats some great New Years Day football there.

And much thanks to the BCS for ruining what used to be the best of all the bowl games the Orange Bowl. We got to see two teams that wouldnt have finished top 3 in any other major conference in the nation. Half the stadium were empty seats covered with tarps and if you really wanted to actually go you could have gotten tickets for $1 on the web. OUCH.

Then we get to watch two teams that REALLY deserved to be playing in those games fight it out before Christmas when TCU and Boise State played the best game of the entire bowl season with TCU winning 17-16.

Utah showed the strength of the Mountain West with their win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. How does this conference not have an automatic BCS berth? Seriously. A crappy Virginia Tech and Cincinatti gets a bid over TCU? TCU would throttle either of them by 20. The Big East football stinks. ACC should stick to basketball. Dont even get me started on the Big 10. Wow does that conference get over-rated every single year.

Can we just get rid of this stupid BCS and get a playoff by now?