Sunday, August 31, 2008

DNC Chariman Dan Fowler thinks Hurricane Gustav is funny!

Would you consider it humorous that Hurricane Gustav is going to hit New Orleans on Monday irregardless of the fact that it is the first day of the Republican Convention? Well apparently DNC Chairman Dan Fowler thinks it's funny!

"The timing at least as it appears now, that just demonstrates that God is on our side." (chuckle, chuckle)

SC Rep. John Spratt says something that is inaudible and then Dan Fowler continues, "everything is cool."

I don't know about you but everything is not cool, dude! What the heck were you smoking! I hope MSM gets a wind of this, better yet, Neal Boortz or Rush Limbaugh! National emergencies are no laughing matter under any circumstances.

For anyone out there that thinks I've lost my sense of humor, devastation, death and property loss, not to mention the cost to tax payers is not a LAUGHING MATTER!

For those of you out there that knew I was praying for rain on the DNC, I stated clearly that I did not wish anyone to be injured or property to be lost, so save your breath. I just wanted them to be drenched!

Shame on you Dan Fowler and the entire lot of you that think that the timing of Hurricane Gustav is God's favor on the Democratic Party. This further substantiates my claims that Democrats for the most part are venomous. I say strap Dan Fowler on a levee during the hurricane and see if his sense of humor stays in tact! VN8

Friday, August 29, 2008

General Patton

OMG, this is SUPERCALAFRAGILISTIEXPEALADOCIOUS! Tell it like it is brother! VN8

Head em up, Move em out!

Isn't it ironic that Hurricane Gustav is headed to almost the exact same location of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina and on the exact same weekend? Hurricane Katrina made its' second landfall in Louisianna on August 29, 2005.

I say, head em up and move em out! Don't wait for FEMA to rescue you! Don't wait for FEMA to bring you food and water! Take some personal responsibility, seek shelter for your family and stay tuned, Mayor Nagin is on the job! Yeah right, that makes me feel so much better! VN8

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I couldn't resit!

Dang, wonder how much the tickets were for that contest out there in Denver? Apparently the Dems are appealing to the Woodstock crowd. Anybody want to submit to a drug test! LOL VN8

Bad Blood Persists

By Carol Devine-Molin
August 28, 2008

Hillary Clinton gave a solid "unity" speech at the Democratic convention, ostensibly in full support of the Democrat party's standard bearer, Barack Obama. But as GOP dignitary and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani noted, "She never really answered the key question, is he [Obama] prepared to be president?" That's the "issue she put out there, rather dramatically, during the primaries." Evidently, Hillary is not quite willing to provide the Obama campaign with the full measure of her persuasive talents.

If nothing else, the Clintons are thoroughly Machiavellian. Approximately six months ago, in a column entitled "Hillary's Revenge", I predicted that Hillary Clinton, in efforts to establish her path to the presidency, would: a) undermine Barack Obama's candidacy to the extent that's possible while, b) simultaneously maintaining the illusion of embracing party unity and a kumbaya show of support for Obama. Clintonesque duplicity comes as no surprise to political observers. Frankly, if John McCain is elected to the oval office in 2008, that makes it considerably easier for Hillary to capture the Democrat presidential nomination in 2012. Make no mistake, politics are the Clinton family business, and Hillary's presidential ambitions are as strong as ever.

Interestingly, there's been somewhat of a backlash against Barack Obama for his less-than-gracious treatment toward Hillary Clinton, which can be detected in recent polling. There's no "bounce" in the polls for Obama, despite the fact that the Democrat convention is currently underway. Certainly, that does not bode well for Obama. The fly-in-the ointment is that Obama rejected Hillary as his running mate. The public expects some fundamental fairness, particularly toward a contender such as Hillary that acquired 18 million votes in the primary. Granted, Hillary failed to succeed in the delegate count, but her popular vote was impressive.

Moreover, presidential nominees are often known to choose the runner-up for their vice presidential pick, in efforts to establish all-important party unity. Obama has ignored that sound strategy, to the detriment of the Democrat landscape. As it stands now, the party exhibits a severe split in its ranks, with Clinton loyalists insisting that "cherry-picking of primary rules" caused Hillary to lose the nomination. Hillary's "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits" and PUMA (Party Unity My A**) members continue to be thoroughly disenchanted with the Obama candidacy. More than twenty percent of Democrats are threatening to stay home on Election Day, or vote for John McCain, or go "third party". The public is now tuning into the Democrat upheaval, and to some extent, they're blaming the Obama campaign for contributing to the problematic circumstances.

That being said, Hillary would have been the natural pick for the VP spot, in order to heal the party rift and placate her loyalists. In contrast, Senator Joe Biden is clearly not a net gain for the Democrat ticket. Biden performed poorly during the primary season; he's been all over the map on the subject of Iraq; and he's been notorious for his errant and gaffe-prone remarks that make him a "loose cannon". What does Biden bring to the table? Obviously, little, as recent polling -- taken after Biden's selection -- indicates.

According to the Gallup daily tracking results of August 27th, McCain and Obama continue to poll in a virtual dead heat, at 44 and 45 percent respectively. The Rasmussen daily poll has McCain with a one point advantage of 47 to Obama's 46 percent. If the Obama/Biden ticket gets any bump from their convention, it will be minimal, at best, and will quickly dissipate by dint of the GOP convention that's about to commence on September 1st. In comparison, the Republican Party is largely united behind its candidate, with Gallup contending that McCain is solidifying the party base more effectively than Obama. To wit, Gallup indicates that 87 percent of Republicans plan to vote for McCain, while only 78 percent of Democrats plan to vote for Obama. Given the overall political circumstances and the qualifications of the contenders, I believe that John McCain is poised to attain victory in November.

As noted by the Politico, Bill Clinton is still irked at Team Obama for some of the attacks that had been launched against him and his wife during the primary season. Journalist John Harris stated that Clinton's "resentments from the bitter campaign battles of last winter and spring are many and diverse, and people who have spent time with him recently said they fester just below the surface." Apparently, Bill Clinton still hurls a few zingers, and told one longtime associate that Obama had the "political instincts of a Chicago thug."

That being said, tensions between Camp Obama and Camp Clinton reportedly persist, even at this late date at the Democrat convention. Originally, former president Bill Clinton had been assigned the theme of "Securing America's Future", with the expectation that he would underscore Obama's readiness to become our next commander-in-chief. Can you blame Bill Clinton for dodging that chore? In any event, Bill Clinton finagled his way out of it, and spoke eloquently on a wide range of issues including the economy, healthcare, and national security. Clinton noted that Barack Obama is ready to lead [no substantive reasons provided, Clinton finessed it], and that the goal of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and restore American leadership in the world. Bill Clinton will always be the consummate speaker and word-meister, even when he speaks in platitudes.

In summary, as far as the Clintons are concerned, Obama's original sin was running for president in 2008, which was Hillary's year to shine and capture the oval office. Obama's goose was cooked right from the start. Once he dared to tangle with the Clintons, he had to be prepared to deal with the ongoing consequences, which I believe will extend far beyond the current presidential race. Remember, the Clintons not only get mad, they get even. Moreover, Obama found himself in an incredible bind -- If he had any real possibility of winning this presidential race, he had to select Hillary as his running mate for the sake of party unity. Sure, Obama would have been saddled with both Clintons, a nightmare in and of itself, and he would have been nervously looking over his shoulder for the duration of his presidency. However that would have been the price to pay for upsetting the Clinton applecart. As it stands now, the Clintons will do everything in their power [behind the scenes] to thwart Obama's chances of winning. Heck, even if Obama manages to make it to the White House, the Clintons will probably connive to get Obama impeached. It's not lost on Hillary that the Chicago political machine is among the most corrupt in the nation.

Reports: McCain Has Picked His VP

John McCain is expected to reveal his vice-presidential choice on Friday at 11 a.m. during a rally in the critical battleground state of Ohio, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune.

McCain has indeed decided on his running mate, two Republican strategists in contact with McCain's campaign said Wednesday. His decision has been revealed only to his small inner circle of three or four people -- who have refused all public inquiry on the matter.

"The Obama campaign knows it can't argue the facts of the link between Obama and Ayers, so it is instead resorting to a desperate campaign of intimidation and legal threats," said Ed Martin, American Issues Project's president. "The scary question this raises is if Barack Obama demonstrates this little regard for free speech from his opponents during the campaign, what could the American people expect from him as a president?"

According to the report, Republicans close to the campaign said that the top contenders remained the same three men who have been the source of speculation for weeks: former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and, possibly, Senator Joseph Lieberman, independent of Connecticut.

As recently as Tuesday, McCain was said to still be entertaining the idea of Lieberman, who was Al Gore's running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket in 2000.

With the tactical timing of the announcement, McCain is seeking to diminish Barack Obama’s hopes of a bounce in the polls after he accepts the Democratic nomination in Denver Thursday night.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I can't stay awake long enough . . .

to wait for Senator Biden to finish speaking! Blah, Blah, Blah! He's like the energizer bunny, he keeps going and going! Wake me up when the Convention is over.

Senator Biden just said he was going to be tough with Russia, what the hell does that mean? I wonder if he asked Senator Obama if it was going to be time out for Putin or if they were going to be tough? Nighty nite! VN8

Monday, August 25, 2008

Alzheimer's and the brillant Thatcher brain

Peter Goodspeed
August 25, 2008

It was November, 1994, when Ronald Reagan shocked the United States with an intimate open letter in which he told Americans: "I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease."

Last weekend, Britons received the same shocking news, when Carol Thatcher, daughter of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, described how her mother has suffered from growing dementia for eight years.

In an excerpt from her new book, A Swim-On Part in the Goldfish Bowl: A Memoir, serialized in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Ms. Thatcher describes how she first noticed her mother's memory was failing when she lunched with her at a hotel overlooking London's Hyde Park in 2000.

During their meal, Lady Thatcher's conversation became confused and she muddled the Falklands War with the conflict in the Balkans, her daughter writes.

"I almost fell off my chair. Watching her struggle with her words and her memory, I couldn't believe it. She was in her 75th year but I had always thought of her as ageless, timeless and 100% cast-iron damage-proof."

"The contrast was all the more striking because, until that point, she'd always had a memory like a Web site," she adds.

During her political career, Mrs. Thatcher (she was created a baroness in 1992) was known as the "Iron Lady" for tough-talking rhetoric and ruthless self-control.

"She could rise from the front bench in an economic debate and recite the rate of inflation all the way back to William Gladstone without a note," her daughter says.

But Lady Thatcher, now 82, is increasingly frail and finds herself floundering in the simplest conversation.

"On bad days, she could hardly remember the beginning of a sentence by the time she got to the end," her daughter says.

"That's the worst thing about dementia: it gets you every time," Ms. Thatcher says.

"Sufferers look and act the same but beneath the familiar exterior something quite different is going on. They're in another world and you can not enter."

While her mother has occasional flashes of lucidity during which she can happily recall some events during her term as Britain's prime minister in 1979-90, she struggles to remember more recent events.

Losing her husband, Sir Dennis Thatcher, to pancreatic cancer in 2003 "was truly awful" for her mother, Ms. Thatcher writes, "not least because her dementia meant she kept forgetting he was dead."

"I had to keep giving her the bad news over and over again," she writes.

"Every time, it finally sank in that she had lost her husband of more than 50 years, she'd look at me sadly and say ‘Oh,' as I struggled to compose myself."

" ‘Were we all there?' she'd ask softly."

During her term as prime minister, Lady Thatcher and Mr. Reagan became close friends. He called her "the best man in England" and she once said he was "the second most important man in my life."

In 2004, when Mr. Reagan died, after a decade of suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Lady Thatcher delivered one of the eulogies at his state funeral in Washington. She did so via a video link, since she had recently had a series of minor strokes and was already secretly suffering from the early signs of dementia.

"For the final years of his life, Ronnie's mind was clouded by illness," she told the funeral audience.

"That cloud has now lifted. He is himself again, more himself than at any time on this Earth, for we may be sure that the Big Fellow upstairs never forgets those who remember him."

(God Bless you Prime Minister Thatcher, you are in my prayers. VN8)

Rain of biblical proportions?

A tornado touched down between Castle Pines North and Parker east of I-25 and west of Crowfoot Valley Road near Hess Reservoir Sunday afternoon August 24, 2008.

At least four tornadoes touched down Sunday afternoon southeast of Denver between the towns of Castle Rock and Parker, but somehow managed to twist dangerously by new housing developments.

The thunderstorms also unleashed a sudden deluge of rain and hail on several subdivisions.

"It was like it snowed during and after the tornado," said Stephen Klein, 15, who lives in the Sapphire Pointe subdivision with his family about a mile-and-a-half southeast of where the tornado touched down. Klein, his mother and two brothers headed to the basement after a neighbor alerted them of the twister.

The storm also triggered a spectacular lightning show around Douglas and Elbert counties.

Clouds and dark skies lingered throught the evening.

Jim and Paulette Vigil were driving through Parker and heading to Franktown with their two sons when they spotted the tornado west of town. The Vigils pulled over at South Parker and East Hilltop roads to take videos of the twister.

"It was a strand, and then it just widened and broadened at the bottom," Paulette Vigil said.

"It seemed like it was hitting right on top of a house, but it may have come to the south of the house. It was incredible to see," her husband added. Jim Vigil has lived in Colorado all his life and it was the first tornado he had seen in person.

Several sightings of the dusty twisters were reported, but there were no reports of damage or injuries except for downed trees.

There were additional reports of funnel clouds near Larkspur and west of Sedalia, said Douglas County sheriff's spokeswoman Cocha Heyden. Deputies and firefighters were dispatched, but none reported any damage.

Because of the Democratic National Convention, the county had opened its emergency operations center as a precaution prior to the tornado sightings, Heyden said.

(Well, well, we will have to see what the rest of the week has in store. VN8)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Senator Joe Biden on his running mate and Senator John McCain!

This is brilliant!

Senatory Joseph Biden FTW, yeah right!

Well it's confirmed, Obamamessiah has made his pick for Vice Presidential running mate. Someone had over the ear plugs. If we have to listen to Senator Joseph Biden bloviate until the General Election in November, I'm going to need some ear plugs. I can't even begin to think how I would feel if the Dems won the election and I had to listen to Senator Biden for four years!

Oh and the press stated that the Obama camp would do everything they could to keep Senator Biden quiet! Wishing them the very best, you can't teach an old donkey new tricks.

Is it possible that the reason that nothing ever gets done in Washington has anything to do with "Long winded Joe"? I remember the nomination hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and I'm certain that the length of that process could have been cut by two thirds if Senator Biden had not presided over those hearings. I don't think I've every heard anyone but President Bill Clinton enjoy hearing himself speak more.

Stay tuned folks, this is about to get interesting. VN8




Spread the word.....

This is something you should be aware of so you don't get blind-sided.
This is really going to catch a lot of families off guard. It should
make you worry.

Proposed changes in taxes after 2008 General election:


0% on home sales up to $500,000

per home (couples) McCain does not propose any change in existing home sales income tax.

28% on profit from ALL home sales

How does this affect you?

If you sell your home and make a profit, you will pay 28% of your gain on taxes.

If you are heading toward retirement and would like to down-size your home or move into a retirement community, 28% of the money you make from your home will go to taxes. This proposal will adversely affect the elderly who are counting on the income from their homes as part of their retirement income.


*MCCAIN* 15% (no change)

*OBAMA* 39.6%

How will this affect you?

If you have any money invested in stock market, IRA, mutual funds,college funds, life insurance, retirement accounts, or anything that pays or reinvests dividends, you will now be paying nearly 40% of the money earned on taxes if Obama becomes president.

The experts predict that 'higher tax rates on dividends and capital gains would crash the stock market yet do absolutely nothing to cut the deficit.


*MCCAIN* (no changes)

Single making 30K - tax $4,500
Single making 50K - tax $12,500
Single making 75K - tax $18,750
Married making 60K- tax $9,000
Married making 75K - tax $18,750
Married making 125K - tax $31,250

(reversion to pre-Bush tax cuts)
Single making 30K - tax $8,400
Single making 50K - tax $14,000
Single making 75K - tax $23,250
Married making 60K - tax $16,800
Married making 75K - tax $21,000
Married making 125K - tax $38,750

Under Obama your taxes will more than double! How does this affect you? No explanation needed. This is pretty straight forward.


*MCCAIN* 0% (No change, Bush repealed this tax)

*OBAMA* Restore the inheritance tax

How does this affect you? Many families have lost businesses, farms and ranches, and homes that have been in their families for generations because they could not afford the inheritance tax. Those willing their assets to loved ones will not only lose them to these taxes.


* New government taxes proposed on homes that are more than 2400 square feet

* New gasoline taxes (as if gas weren't high enough already)

* New taxes on natural resources consumption (heating gas, water, electricity)

* New taxes on retirement accounts

and last but not least....

* New taxes to pay for socialized medicine

so we can receive the same level of medical care as other third-world countries!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No description necessary!

Teachers allowed to carry guns in Texas!

HARROLD, Texas (AP) — A tiny Texas school district may be the first in the nation to allow teachers and staff to pack guns for protection when classes begin later this month, a newspaper reported.

Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting teachers follow certain requirements.

In order for teachers and staff to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and have to use ammunition that is designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls.

Superintendent David Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff's office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district's lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target.

"When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that's when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can't defend themselves? That's like saying 'sic 'em' to a dog," Thweatt said in Friday's online edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Thweatt said officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change. He said the district also has various other security measures in place to prevent a school shooting.

"The naysayers think (a shooting) won't happen here. If something were to happen here, I'd much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them," Thweatt said.

Read more here.

(Common sense prevails! VN8)

What in the world, civil rights? You have to be kidding me?

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Eager to protect children from sexual predators, Nevada and other states across the nation are adopting laws that publicize the names of offenders on the Internet.

But sex offenders say they have rights, too, and argue it's wrong to lump those guilty of minor offenses with the worst offenders. Some are challenging the laws.

"People think that imposing these draconian retroactive laws are a way to keep their children safe," said Margaret McLetchie, an American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada lawyer.

McLetchie and Robert Langford, who represent 27 unnamed plaintiffs in a federal civil rights lawsuit, want to block two sex-offender laws from taking effect in Nevada.

(When you think you have heard it all, someone, something really makes you realize that you will NEVER hear it all! First, felons want their right back to vote, now sex offenders are saying their civil rights are being violated! You have to be kidding me!? VN8)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

25 Hints You're Not Voting for Obama

Peter Kirsanow

Today's Rasmussen daily tracking poll has 80% of Democrats supporting Obama and 87% of Republicans supporting McCain. There are still a healthy number of undecideds. This conflicts with the stream of media reports that Obamacons, evangelicals, black conservatives and independents are flocking to Obama.

If you're an independent, moderate or conservative on the fence about whether to vote for McCain or Obama, here's a helpful guide:

It's unlikely you'll vote for Obama if you....
1. aren't a news anchor.
2. read the New York Times for pretty much the same reason the NSA monitors radio transmissions.
3. automatically conclude that the person laughing in the car next to you must be listening to Rush. Or maybe Obama off teleprompter.
4. dislocated your shoulder trying to explain Obama's position on Iraq to co-workers.
5. find autobiographies generally more interesting when the author has, you know, done something.
6. remember the Carter Administration.
7. would give a month's pay to play Jack Bauer's partner on 24.
8. increasingly agree with Mark Steyn that "almost everything [Obama] says is, well, nuts."
9. think it's relevant — despite what the sophisticates say — that several of Obama's mentors and associates have displayed a dislike for America or a disdain for Americans.
10. think it's relevant that several of McCain's mentors and associates are American heroes of historic magnitude.
11. think about 9/11 more than once a year.
12. have concluded that Larry the Cable Guy makes way more sense than Howard Dean.
13. feel a little safer during turbulence when your pilot is a calm "white haired dude."
14. thought about Hillary's 3:00 a.m. phone call ad when you first heard about Russian tanks in Georgia.
15. wonder why Obama felt it necessary to give a speech on patriotism.
16. get sorta creeped out by 200,000 Germans chanting "Obama! Obama!"
17. think the jury may still be out on Harvard Law School.
18. suspect "merci beaucoup" is French for "empty suit."
19. doubt that teleprompters are really magical dispensers of good ideas.
20. know in your gut that defiantly withstanding 4 1/2 years of torture trumps all of Obama's qualifications and accomplishments combined — regardless of what the elite pundits say.
21. repeatedly find yourself asking "Change to what?"
22. have ever used the term "pompous twit' in the same sentence with "Marx," "Marcuse," or "Sartre."
23. don't like being told what to do — especially by someone who hasn't done it.
24. really like ticking off the media, Hollywood, academics, and PC busybodies everywhere.
25. weren't born yesterday.

Score (# of descriptions that apply to you):
0— Go ahead, write in Dennis Kucinich
1—3 Obama may be your choice after all
4—5 You think Hillary got a raw deal and won't vote Obama
6—24 McCain's your man
25 It's OK to write in Reagan

Saturday, August 9, 2008

US stocks surge on ‘watershed’ dollar jump

By Peter Garnham in London and John Authers in New York

US stocks soared on Friday as the dollar saw its biggest one-day jump against the euro in eight years and oil prices plunged.

The moves marked a key reversal of a trend that many investors had followed profitably for months – betting that high commodity prices would keep the dollar weak.

The dollar reached its highest in five months against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, while oil fell more than $5 to $114.87, 22 per cent below its record high of $147.27 last month. The S&P 500 closed 2.4 per cent higher in New York.

The shift in sentiment was triggered by Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, who warned on Thursday that third-quarter eurozone growth would be “particularly weak”. This sparked talk that the ECB would be forced to abandon its hawkish policy stance and start cutting interest rates, thereby weakening the euro.

“This is the watershed week for the US dollar,” said Marc Chandler, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. “The magnitude of the dollar’s moves and the breaking of key technical levels suggest that a major shift in the outlook towards the dollar is occurring as massive positions are adjusted.” Other analysts described the widespread buying of dollars as “capitulation”.

The dollar hit a five-month high of $1.5055 against the euro and climbed 1.3 per cent to $1.9189 against the pound – its strongest since November 2006.

Financial Times read more.

Friday, August 8, 2008

2008 Olympic Games

URUMQI, China —
Once-reclusive China commandeered the world stage Friday, celebrating its first-time role as Olympic host with a stunning display of pageantry and pyrotechnics to open a Summer Games unrivaled for its mix of problems and promise.

At the end of the ceremony, retired Chinese gymnast Li Ning lit the Beijing Olympic flame, which will remain lit throughout the Olympic games.

Now ascendent as a global power, China welcomed scores of world leaders to an opening ceremony watched by 91,000 people at the eye-catching National Stadium and a potential audience of 4 billion worldwide. It was depicted as the largest, costliest extravaganza in Olympic history, bookended by barrages of some 30,000 fireworks.

To the beat of sparkling explosions, the crowd counted down the final seconds before the show began. A sea of drummers — 2,008 in all — pounded out rhythms with their hands, then acrobats on wires gently wafted down into the stadium as rockets shot up into the night sky from its rim.

President Bush and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were among the glittering roster of notables who watched China make this bold declaration that it had arrived. Bush, rebuked by China after he raised human-rights concerns this week, is the first U.S. president to attend an Olympics on foreign soil.

Already an economic juggernaut, China is given a good chance of overtaking the U.S. atop the gold-medal standings with its legions of athletes trained intensely since childhood. One dramatic showdown will be in women's gymnastics, where the U.S. and Chinese teams are co-favorites; in the pool, Chinese divers and U.S. swimmers are expected to dominate.

• President Bush Gives U.S. Athletes Pep Talk Ahead of Olympic Games

• Three American Activists Detained in Beijing for Planned Protest

The run-up to the games had epic story lines — China investing $40 billion to build the needed infrastructure, reeling from a catastrophic earthquake in Sichuan province in May, struggling right up to Friday to diminish Beijing's stubborn smog. China's detentions of political activists, its crackdown on uprisings in Tibet and its economic ties to Sudan — home of the war-torn Darfur region — fueled relentless criticisms from human rights groups and calls for an Olympic boycott.

Second-guessed for awarding the games to Beijing, the International Olympic Committee stood firmly by its decision. It was time, the committee said, to bring the games to the homeland of 1.3 billion people, a fifth of humanity.

The games, said IOC President Jacques Rogge, "are a chance for the rest of the world to discover what China really is."

The story presented in Friday's ceremony sought to distill 5,000 years of Chinese history — featuring everything from the Great Wall to opera puppets to astronauts, and highlighting achievements in art, music and science. Roughly 15,000 people were in the cast, all under the direction of Zhang Yimou, whose early films often often ran afoul of government censors for their blunt portrayals of China's problems.

The show's script steered clear of modern politics — there were no references to Chairman Mao and the class struggle, nor to the more recent conflicts and controversies. The ceremony was taped for broadcast 12 hours later in the United States.

A record 204 delegations were set to parade their athletes through the stadium — superstars such as basketball idols Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming, as well as plucky underdogs from Iraq, Afghanistan and other embattled lands. The nations were marching not in the traditional alphabetical order but in a sequence based on the number of strokes it takes to write their names in Chinese. The exceptions were Greece, birthplace of the Olympics, which was given its traditional place at the start, and the 639-member Chinese team, which lined up last.

The American flag-bearer was 1500-meter runner Lopez Lomong, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who spent a decade of his youth in a refugee camp in Kenya. He's a member of the Team Darfur coalition, representing athletes opposed to China's support for Sudan. On Friday he avoided any criticism and said the Chinese "have been great putting all these things together."

Abroad, human rights activists were less generous.

"The Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee have wasted a historic opportunity to use the Beijing Games to make real progress on human rights in China," said Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch.

For Chinese dissidents who have dared to challenge the Communist Party's monopoly on power, the start of the Olympics meant tighter surveillance and restrictions.

"It's not my Olympic Games," said Jiang Tianyong, a human rights lawyer. "It's not the games for the ordinary people."

By all indications, however, most Chinese have embraced the games, buying up tickets at a record pace, volunteering by the thousands for Olympic duties, nursing expectations of triumphs by their home team.

To their eyes, the omens were good. The ceremony began at 8 p.m. on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008 — auspicious in a country where eight is the luckiest number.

"It not easy to meet with such a date," said Wang Wei, secretary general of Beijing Organizing Committee. "Hopefully this lucky day will bring luck."

Who's the baby's daddy?

John Edwards admitted to an affair with his former videographer, Rielle Hunter, in an interview with ABC News, though he denies tabloid reports that he is the father of her child.

In the interview, scheduled to be broadcast Friday night on ABC's Nightline, the former North Carolina senator said he repeatedly lied about the affair during his failed presidential campaign.

He and his wife Elizabeth are expected to soon release a joint statement on the admission.

Edwards told ABC News that his wife, who has been diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer, learned of the affair in 2006, as did his family. He said the cancer was in remission when the affair began.

He told ABC News that he didn't love Hunter, 42, and knew he wasn't the father of her child because of the timing of the baby's birth on Feb. 27.

The National Enquirer first reported the allegations in October and published a new report in July on an incident between the tabloid's reporters and Edwards at a Beverly Hills hotel where Hunter and her child reportedly were staying. confirmed Edwards did have an encounter with reporters at the hotel and had to be escorted out. Edwards denied the allegations when they first flared late last year. But in recent weeks he and his inner circle have clammed up — he refused to respond to questions from on the matter last month.

Edwards denied to ABC News paying any money to Hunter to keep her quiet on the affair, but said his supporters could have done such a thing without him knowing.

Edwards political action committee did pay Hunter's Midline Groove Productions company $114,000 between 2006 and 2007 to produce a set of Web documentaries on Edwards.

But there are remaining questions over the identity of the father. A former campaign aide Andrew Young has reportedly claimed he is the father.

However, no father is listed for the child in birth records obtained by And recently released tabloid photos show Edwards holding a child, reportedly at the hotel where he is alleged to have met with Hunter.

The admission Friday all but ends the speculation about his immediate role in the campaign of Barack Obama. Edwards, who dropped out of the presidential race in January, had been previously talked about as a potential vice presidential pick, or a cabinet member. But even his possible role as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention later this month was in doubt as the rumors of the affair continued to fester without a direct rebuttal.

"I think it's safe to say that John Edwards probably will not have a speaking role at the convention," political analyst Mary Anne Marsh said. "And whether he attends remains to be seen."

Asked at an Obama event in Nevada about the affair, Hillary Clinton said: "My thoughts and prayers are with the Edwards family and that's all I have to say."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Spoiled Children of Capitalism

By Jonah Goldberg

It’s an old story. Loving parents provide a generous environment for their offspring. Kids are given not only ample food, clothing and shelter, but the emotional necessities as well: encouragement, discipline, self-reliance, the ability to work with others and on their own. And yet, in due course, the kids rebel. Some even say their parents never loved them, that they were unfair, indifferent, cruel. Often, such protests are sparked by parents’ refusal to be even more generous. I want a car, demands the child. Work for it, insist the parents. Why do you hate me? asks the ingrate.

Of course, being an old story doesn’t make it a universal one. But the dynamic is universally understood.

We’ve all witnessed the tendency to take a boon for granted. Being accustomed to a provision naturally leads the human heart to consider that provision an entitlement. Hence the not-infrequent lawsuits from prison inmates cruelly denied their rights to cable TV or apple brown betty for desert.

And so it goes, I think, with capitalism generally.

Capitalism is the greatest system ever created for alleviating general human misery, and yet it breeds ingratitude.

People ask, “Why is there poverty in the world?” It’s a silly question. Poverty is the default human condition. It is the factory preset of this mortal coil. As individuals and as a species, we are born naked and penniless, bereft of skills or possessions. Likewise, in his civilizational infancy man was poor, in every sense. He lived in ignorance, filth, hunger, and pain, and he died very young, either by violence or disease.

The interesting question isn’t “Why is there poverty?” It’s “Why is there wealth?” Or: “Why is there prosperity here but not there?”

At the end of the day, the first answer is capitalism, rightly understood. That is to say: free markets, private property, the spirit of entrepreneurialism and the conviction that the fruits of your labors are your own.

For generations, many thought prosperity was material stuff: factories and forests, gold mines and gross tons of concrete poured. But we now know that these things are merely the fringe benefits of wealth. Stalin built his factories, Mao paved over the peasants. But all that truly prospered was misery and alienation.

A recent World Bank study found that a nation’s wealth resides in its “intangible capital” — its laws, institutions, skills, smarts and cultural assumptions. “Natural capital” (minerals, croplands, etc.) and “produced capital” (factories, roads, and so on) account for less than a quarter of the planet’s wealth. In America, intangible capital — the stuff in our heads, our hearts, and our books — accounts for 82 percent of our wealth.

Any number of countries in Africa are vastly richer in baubles and soil than Switzerland. But they are poor because they are impoverished in what they value.

In large measure our wealth isn’t the product of capitalism, it is capitalism.

And yet we hate it. Leaving religion out of it, no idea has given more to humanity. The average working-class person today is richer, in real terms, than the average prince or potentate of 300 years ago. His food is better, his life longer, his health better, his menu of entertainments vastly more diverse, his toilette infinitely more civilized. And yet we constantly hear how cruel capitalism is while this collectivism or that is more loving because, unlike capitalism, collectivism is about the group, not the individual.

These complaints grow loudest at times like this: when the loom of capitalism momentarily stutters in spinning its gold. Suddenly, the people ask: What have you done for me lately? Politicians croon about how we need to give in to Causes Larger than Ourselves and peck about like hungry chickens for a New Way to replace dying capitalism.

This is the patient leaping to embrace the disease and reject the cure. Recessions are fewer and weaker thanks in part to trade, yet whenever recessions appear on the horizon, politicians dive into their protectionist bunkers. Not surprising that this week we saw the demise of the Doha round of trade negotiations, and this campaign season we’ve heard the thunder of anti-trade rhetoric move ever closer.

This is the irony of capitalism. It is not zero-sum, but it feels like it is. Capitalism coordinates humanity toward peaceful, productive cooperation, but it feels alienating. Collectivism does the opposite, at least when dreamed up on paper. The communes and collectives imploded in inefficiency, drowned in blood. The kibbutz lives on only as a tourist attraction, a baseball fantasy camp for nostalgic socialists. Meanwhile, billions have ridden capitalism out of poverty.

And yet the children of capitalism still whine.

(Amen and amen! Stop whining, do something for yourself, do something for someone in need, if you are so inclined, but stop with the Robin Hood Syndrome. You can't think that empowering the Federal Government to take from one person to give to someone else that you deem as "less" fortunate is ever going to work. Someone told me once that if you don't work for it, you don't appreciate it! Take a look at public housing. Does it appear that there is any pride associated with public housing? The definition of pride is as follows: pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself. Get a freaking job, change your own circumstances and only then will this Country be what it was intended to be! VN8)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The night the lights went out in Georgia . . .

Well, well, we had one heck of a storm last night! It came up out of nowhere! Kind of scary sitting around at 6:30, sun is out and within 20 minutes, it's dark as night, wind is howling so loud you can hear it in the house! I stepped out on my front porch to check out what all the commotion was and I couldn't believe how hard the wind was blowing and it was high up in the tops of the trees, not down on the ground.

I couldn't turn on the local news cast, I have a satelite dish and the storm had disrupted my signal, so I turned on the weather radio and they said a severe thunder storm was brewing with high winds and lightning!

I went back outside and saw one of my elderly neighbors mowing his lawn, he just got out of the hospital! I literally ran down the street and told him that he needed to get inside, I know his daughter would have a stroke if she knew he was working in that yard let alone in the middle of a severe storm! I tried to get him to let me put his mower away because he doesn't move fast and he wouldn't have any part of that! By the time I got back in my house the power had gone out!

Where am I going with all of this you ask? Well, during the two hours that our neighborhood was without power, I started thinking, which is always dangerous on my part!

The rain had stopped and the houses were dark and people started coming outside, talking to their neighbors! I observed this phenomenon and thought with all the technology that keeps us tied to the inside of our homes, we never even notice our next door neighbors for the most part. I have a tendency to notice mine because I grew up out in the country and it's part of who I am. We also have lots of elderly people who live on my street that I check in on occasionally but for the most part, we don't know who lives down the street let alone right next door to us.

Over the two hours we were without power and since the internet was down, I'd go inside and do some laundry! Well that was pretty dumb, no electricity, no washing clothes, so I'd just clean up my kitchen! Well it was dark and there wasn't enough outside light to do much in there! We did have water because we are on City water, no pump required! I couldn't run the vacuum, no electricity! OK, then I'll sit down and read, again, not enough light to read without electricity. I didn't want to waste my battery in my BlackBerry talking on the phone because I was unsure of how long we would be without power but I did send a couple of text messages.

The most serious dilemma that I had was Heidi, my female schnauzer. She has been diagnosed with chronic heart failure and has to be kept cool or her heart races and she starts panting, ninety to nothing! I had immediately opened some windows since the temperature outside had dropped almost twenty-five degrees in a matter of about thirty minutes but that didn't seem to be keeping her cool. I just kept telling myself, think, just think and it occurred to me that I could put her in the bath tub and shower her with cool water. I picked her up and took her to the bathroom, ran some pretty mild temperature water and didn't completely dry her off and stuck her up in a window behind my couch and she fell asleep and stayed cool for the duration.

Having said all of that, it dawned on me, how many people are resourceful enough to survive and improvise when they really need to? The fact was obvious that we are slaves to electricity, but I wondered, if Americans ever really needed to sacrifice and survive in times of a more severe disaster, do they have the mental acuity or the intestinal fortitude to dig down deep and fend for themselves or would they wait on a first responder team to attend to their supposed needs?

I want to state for the record, I did not have an emergency preparedness kit handy, I did have most of the things needed but they weren't in a nice, tidy backpack, I had to scrounge around for most of the things and install batteries. Unlike my friend who is a Democrat! I did use my phone to call her and she told me how proud I would be of her, she was cooking hot dogs on her emergency grill that was in her "emergency" preparedness kit! In an emergency, we are all just people trying to survive.

I thought about the elderly who live on my street and what their needs might be! I wondered if they had cordless phones that were electronic and may not have another source to call 911. I wondered if people knew that they should keep their refrigerators and their freezers closed until the power came back on.

I did call Georgia Power to alert them along with the approximately 150,000 other people that I'm sure that they also heard from that our power was out! At that point they said it would be 10:15 p.m. before the power was restored, but they performed a miracle and the power was restored by 9:15 p.m.

The most amazing thing that I noticed was the silence. We never realize how much noise electricity coursing through a home, a neighborhood or a city makes, but when the power was off, it was so quiet. The only sounds I could hear were the emergency vehicles in the neighborhood responding to emergencies, the huge power trucks that were rumbling through the streets and after thirty minutes or so, the buzz of chain saws in the distance. That's when I realized that we were all going to be O.K. and that life as we knew it would also be restored.

Are you prepared for a natural disaster or any type of disaster? Needless to say, I bought a ton of batteries today in hopes of creating an "emergency preparedness kit." Don't forget your pets!

All of this gave me some serious food for thought, in many different directions, the night the lights went out in Georgia.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ludacris/What do you think about these lyrics?

If a conservative leaning artist had written these lyrics and released them, God only knows what kind of retaliation would have been experienced! What do you think of these lyrics? VN8

Obama is here:

I'm back on it like I just signed my record deal
yeah the best is here, the Bentley Coup paint is dripping wet, it got sex appeal
never should have hated
you never should've doubted him
with a slot in the president's iPod Obama shattered 'em
Said I handled his biz and I'm one of his favorite rappers
Well give Luda a special pardon if I'm ever in the slammer
Better yet put him in office, make me your vice president
Hillary hated on you, so that b^$&%* is irrelevant
Jesse talking slick and apologizing for what?
if you said it then you meant it how you want it have a gut!
and all you other politicians trying to hate on my man,
watch us win a majority vote in every state on my man
you can't stop what's bout to happen, we bout to make history
the first black president is destined and it's meant to be
the threats ain't fazing us, the nooses or the jokes
so get off your ass, black people, it's time to get out and vote!
paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified
McCain don't belong in ANY chair unless he's paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped
Ball up all of his speeches and I throw em like candy wrap
cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant
and you the worst of all 43 presidents
get out and vote or the end will be near
the world is ready for change because Obama is here!
cause Obama is here
The world is ready for change because Obama is here!

Obamessiah Code

(OMG, this is hysterical! VN8)

Senator Nancy "Lights Out" Pelosi

(Can anyone be full of more BS than Senator Pelosi? A New Direction? Restore civility and bipartisanship? Work together? Restore integrity and honesty? Democrats are ready to lead us where? Senatory Nancy "lights Out" Pelosi is ready to lead us into the dark! Give me a break! VN8)