I’ve been thinking again. I know some of my readers regard that as a dangerous thing. For instance, the guy who ended his last letter to me with a “your hypocrisy knows no bounds”. I get these sorts of letters all the time. But, I have been thinking and, of course, I have been thinking about America’s obsession with shutting down the Mexican-American border. You would wonder why I don’t tire of this rhetoric and the reason is simple. America needs the likes of your humble and gracious columnist reminding them to get out of that box of uncritical thinking and untested assumptions. So here goes: 1. When last I wrote on this issue, I dealt with just one of the “Let’s-run-out-all-those-diseased-Mexicans-out-of-our-country group’s axes to grind—The American health care system. I made the point that at last some studies are coming out which show that Mexican immigrants, legal or otherwise, are NOT sucking dry the American health care system. More studies are needed. This one needs replicating (see this footnote). More will be forthcoming I am sure. 2. Another issue that all the Minuteman Project groups and their ilk espouse is whether Mexican immigrants, legal or illegal, are destroying the American economy. The Chris Simcoxs of this world would have you believe that immigrants of any kind are a bad thing all around. They go beyond the pale to try to make the point that Mexicans do NOT come to America to try to better their lives but to take back the portion of America that America stole from Mexico—they call them invaders. Think about these few points: · Most Mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal, come to America to seek an opportunity to better their economic circumstances. If you hold a different view then show me the proof. Show me the evidence in the form of properly conducted studies with replicated results in additional studies and then we will talk. · Did you know that less than 20 million Americans will visit Mexico this year as tourists? That is a mere drop in the bucket of those who could come and drop some money into the Mexican economy that would provide more jobs for those illegals who come to America to find work instead. · Legals or illegals come to America to offer their ability to work. They understand that in order to “get” they have to “give”. · The Minuteman Project and their kind claim to be anti-illegals only. That is suspect with a capital “S”. However, for the sake of argument, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Their ideology is that illegals are “bad” for America—but is that really true? · The untested assumption that illegals are bad economically for America is based on the false notion that there is only a certain amount of jobs available in America for anyone to perform. It is false because it assumes that what people want to consume is limited. When you understand that what America wants to consume in terms of goods and service is actually UNLIMITED then you will understand that the amount of jobs needed to provide America’s ever increasing UNLIMITED desire for more goods and services will always be scarce. If surplus labor EVER occurs, look to the real cause—the government—not to the false notion that Mexicans are taking away all the jobs. · What about the idea that illegals are sucking American health care dry? See footnote number 1 and read my article. But let’s assume for the sake of argument that this is true. If illegals are sucking dry American taxpayer-funded social services then cut off the dole to illegals and American citizens as well. Stop the handouts to people who won’t work. I am not saying to apply this to people who cannot work—the truly disabled deserve support. What I am saying is to stop the freebies and put an end, once and for all, to the welfare state! If the Minuteman yahoos really want to be patriots, then they should devote their time to getting rid of a system that caters to malingerers and nonproducers—illegals and American alike. Destroy the system that caters to the “good-for-nothings” and they will no longer come. There will nothing for them to take advantage of! WHY ON EARTH IS THIS NOT SELF-EVIDENT? “If immigration overloads government services — hospitals, schools, et cetera — it’s just another reason to privatize them. Do Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Blockbuster Video complain about a flood of new customers?”  Are Mexican’s Really Sucking Dry American Health Care; Doug Bower; ezinearticles/?Are-Mexican-Really-Sucking-Dry-American-Health-Care?&id=54683  Read my series on Phone-Baloney Detection Lessons at ezinearticles/?expert=Douglas_Bower  Co-leader and founder of the Minuteman Project  Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation, author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine.
Each day, millions of Americas board an airplane. Although many of those individuals do not have a problem, others do. One of those problems may involve the no-fly list. While the no-fly list was designed to make air travel safer, there are some instances when the wrong individuals have been targeted. These mistakes often include mistaken identities or misspelled names. Despite what you are told or may think, there are ways that you can get yourself off of the no-fly list. Although you can get your name off the no-fly list, it is important to remember that it will not happen overnight. In fact, if you are notified that your name is on the no-fly list at the airport, it is almost a guarantee that you will not be able to board your plane. Since airport security cannot rely on your word, they will likely not allow you to proceed any further. In fact, you may even be detained a short period of time by airport security. Once you are released, you can begin taking the steps needed to have your name removed from the no-fly list. The first step in getting your name off the no-fly list is to the contact the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Once you are notified that your name is on the no-fly list, you should be provided with the contact information for the TSA. If you are not provided with this information, you can easily obtain the telephone number needed to directly contact the administration by visiting their online website. That online website can be found at tsa. gov. Once you have made contact with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you will be provided with instructions on what to do next. Those instructions will likely include filling out a form that should be mailed to you. In addition to filling out the proper paperwork, you will also be asked to submit identification. In fact, you will need to submit more than one piece of identification Most travelers need three different items. Accepted items include a driver’s license, a government identification card, a military card, a social security card, a voter registration card, a passport, a visa, or a birth certificate. Although only three pieces of identification are required, you may want to have additional identification documents on hand, just in case. After you have collected these items, they will need to be notarized by the proper officials. After you have submitted all of the required documents, the process should begin, which will result in your name being removed from the no-fly list. This process could take as little as a few weeks, but it could take months. You are advised against making any travel plans until you receive confirmation that your name has officially been removed from the no-fly list. Once your name has been removed, all airlines will be notified of this removal. This should mean that you are now able to purchase airline tickets and make travel plans at review4.info . In addition to actually having your name on no-fly list, namely due to a mistake, there is a chance that someone else with the same name as you could be on the no-fly list. Despite the fact that you are not the one on the no-fly list, you may experience some problems. For that reason, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has developed a traveler verification program. In the event that you are commonly mistaken for someone else, it may be a good idea to register for that program. Information on this helpful program can be found by visiting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s online website. As previously mentioned, that website can be found at tsa. gov. Although getting off the no-fly list may seem like a long and frustration task, it is something that you will want to do. Chances are your name will not magically disappear from the list. This means that if you are planning on traveling, now or in the near future, you will want to take the appropriate steps to ensure that you will make it to your intended destination.
Argentina's Economy Contrary to conventional economic wisdom, rich countries tend to stay rich and poor countries tend to stay poor. The exceptions tend to be those "economic miracles", like Japan, that have lifted themselves from the ranks of the poor into the ranks of the economic elite. Argentine economic history stands in stark contrast to that pattern. In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the world's richest countries, with a higher per capita income than that of France or Germany. And while Argentina still enjoys many of the fruits of wealth, like a highly educated population and a modern infrastructure, income per head had fallen to a meager 43% of the rich-world average by 1987. In the wake of the economic collapse of 2001-2002, over half of the population fell under the poverty line, and over a quarter were classified as indigent. Roots of Wealth From 1880 to 1914, Argentina experienced a massive population boom as European immigrants came in search of land to settle and make productive. Many ended up in the fertile pampas region around Buenos Aires, and with the help of British-built rail links, an export economy was soon in full swing. On top of an already vibrant wool and hide industry, Argentines were soon exporting corn, wheat, and flour to hungrily industrializing European cities. But the real money was in meat exports, made possible by the invention of the refrigerator ship in 1876; Argentina has been famous for beef ever since. The Long Decline While Argentina became rich, Buenos Aires made the transition from sleepy backwater to thoroughly modern city—"The Paris of the South"—boldly leading Latin America into the new century. Unfortunately, the 20th century failed to meet the high hopes of any Latin American nation, least of all Argentina's. The trouble started with the great depression of the 1930s, which kicked off a downward spiral into economic and political instability which lasted for the next sixty years. A military coup in 1930 was the first of many, and the civilian governments that occasionally emerged were scarcely more competent than the military juntas. The government of Juan Domingo Peron (1946-1955) left an indelible mark on the Argentine economy, making it less open to foreign trade, nationalizing key industries, and greatly expanding the benefits of workers. While Peron was somewhat able to redress the gross inequalities permeating the country, he also left a legacy of state control of the economy, stifling private entrepreneurship and creating an environment ripe for corruption. In the post-Peron years, governments increasingly relied on deficit spending to smooth out social problems. To cover the difference between spending and tax revenue, they simply printed more money, creating inflation. By the 1980s, inflation was out of control; in 1989 the inflation rate was over 5,000 percent. The 90s Boom Enter Domingo Cavallo, who stepped in as Carlos Menem's economy minister in 1991. The keystone in Cavallo's economic recovery plan was to curb inflation with something called convertibility, a legal guarantee that Argentine pesos could be exchanged for US dollars at a ratio of 1 to 1. Inflation was tamed, and investor confidence soared as Cavallo steadily opened up the economy to foreign trade and capital. In tune with the free market fervor of the 1990s, the more inefficient state-controlled enterprises were sold—sometimes to Menem's friends at bargain prices. Still, Argentina was clearly getting richer. The gross domestic product grew briskly from 1991 to 1998, with the exception of 1995, when Mexico's financial crisis shook Latin America. Much of the new wealth was accruing to the country's elites, but the poor and the middle class were also becoming better off. The Argentine debacle was starting to look like the Argentine miracle; Carlos Menem became an international celebrity and Argentina a poster child for liberal economics. The Crisis of 2001-2002 Ironically, Argentina's blatant disregard for a fundamental tenet of "neoliberal" economics proved to be a decisive factor in its demise. As the 90s boom roared on and the government's tax take soared, fiscal discipline would suggest setting aside a "rainy day" fund for the event of a recession—because recessions are inevitable in any economy. Instead, the money was spent and new debt was piled up even in the good years. When the economy hit a rough patch in 1999, the government found itself in an extremely difficult situation; it needed money fast and was already significantly indebted. Luckily for Menem, his term was up and the new President, Fernando de la Rъa, was left to pick up the pieces in 2000. He could try to balance the budget by cutting spending or raising taxes, but this would exacerbate the recession and further reduce tax revenues. Faced with this catch-22, de la Rъa opted to borrow his way out, in the hope that the recession would quickly and quietly fade away. Unfortunately, this approach often leads to a downward spiral of its own, known as "explosive debt dynamics", in which investors begin to fear a default on the debt, driving interest rates up and deepening the recession, thus increasing the debt even more. This is exactly what ended up happening in Argentina's case. As a last ditch effort, de la Rъa appointed as his economy minister Domingo Cavallo, now a national legend, in a move that electrified the country. But neither Cavallo's mystique or the IMF's haphazard intervention could stave off the coming default. As dollars started to flee Argentina, the government enacted restrictions on bank withdrawals that became known as the corralito, or little fence. In the public eye, this was the final straw, and massive street protests rocked Buenos Aires and other big cities, forcing de la Rъa and Cavallo to resign in shame in late December , 2001. The government had collapsed; Argentina defaulted on its debt a few days later. One of the first acts of Eduardo Duhalde, the new president elected by congress at the start of 2002, was to discontinue the convertibility system by which the peso was linked to the US dollar. With the shortage of dollars in the country, the system couldn't be maintained; there simply weren't enough dollars to trade for pesos. Set free, the peso fell to about 4 to the dollar over the next six months, spelling ruin for those who had taken out loans denominated in dollars. Banks ceased to function as individual debtors defaulted and now-cynical savers refused to deposit money. The poverty rate soared while incomes plummeted. The Argentine financial crisis has been compared in scope to America's great crash of 1929. After the Crisis The very dark cloud of Argentina's collapse did have a silver lining. The peso recovered slightly and has held steady at about 3 to the US dollar, a level that makes Argentina's products (and Argentina as a travel destination) much more attractive to the rest of the world. In fact, some have argued that one cause of the crisis was the overvalued exchange rate, which made Argentine exports less competitive. The economy was growing again in 2003, and has since, fueled in part by high worldwide commodity prices. In 2005, GDP roared past its previous peak (in 1998), and many economists believe Argentina is on firmer ground than it was in the 90s owing to the fiscal responsibility of Nestor Kirchner, the current president. Looking to the future, rising inequality is one concern deeply felt by many Argentines. The recovery has put more wealth in the hands of the wealthy, like the soy farmers leading the new export boom or those who were lucky enough to get their money out before the devaluation. On the upside, employment is up, and a fiscally solvent state will be in a much better position to help those on the bottom rungs of society climb higher.
Asymmetric warfare is as alien to average 21st century Americans as the Martian landscape. Yet it is a term more readily heard in the media nowadays promulgated by the nation’s defense planners and used quite frequently in reference to the war on terrorism. Asymmetric warfare is simply the application of unique, creative, and unconventional methods with the intention to defeat a numerically and technologically superior enemy. It takes many forms including combat and psychological warfare. The 9/11 attacks and bombing of the U. S.S Cole were examples of applying this type of warfare as were the recent verbal assaults by Venezuelan and Iranian presidents upon the United States at the UN. Although asymmetric warfare has its roots as far back as the Trojan Campaign in Ancient Greece and Hannibal’s assault on Rome, it was Americans that brought it to a fine art form, if not a pure science. Some have said that asymmetric warfare is as American as apple pie. Very few military historians would dispute that the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War and the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War fostered forms of asymmetric war at its best. The guerrillas Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox) and Daniel Morgan (hero of the Cow Pens) drove General Cornwallis from South Carolina. On a much grander scale General Washington’s victory at Trenton was a fine example of this type of warfare. So was Stonewall Jackson’s Valley of Virginia Campaign and John Mosby’s exploits during the Civil War, not to mention Douglas MacArthur’s island hopping campaign during World War II. A major part of the new Rumsfeld Doctrine embraces the concept of asymmetric warfare to such a high degree that it is changing American’s global defense posture on a radical basis. It is no secret that top brass within the Pentagon and the Defense Secretary are locking horns over the issue on a very frequent basis, not to mention a horde of retired generals raising alarm bells. Our leaders tell us that asymmetric warfare is a new and unproven field of military endeavor used by terrorist cells and terrorist nations bent on our destruction. That we don’t fully understand and grasp the nature of the Islamic fundamentalist mind -- and have never faced such a determined or fanatical foe. Someone needs to tell that to the boys who served on those aircraft carriers in the South Pacific during World War II. Those Japanese kamikazes and kaitens were just as dedicated to their Emperor as Islamic fundamentalists are to Allah. We could not stop those crazed Japanese willing to sacrifice their lives in the name of their cause and neither can we stop the dedicated Islamic radicals bent on attacking our homeland. The difference today is there’s no Harry Truman at the helm. That simple farmer from Missouri knew the head of the octopus had to be crushed in order to stop the carnage being inflicted in the central and south pacific theaters of war. So he did --- very quickly and effectively. And this begs the question. How long are American leaders going to allow terrorist oriented nation-states to finance and use asymmetric warfare --- through their proxy organizations such as al-Qaeda --- against the United States and continue to divert attention from the more important strategic issues at hand, such as the growing Chinese threat? Some say it is a diversionary ploy designed to shift the public’s attention away from other pressing issues such the environment, trade concerns, job losses, and income stagnation. The Bush Administration wants us to believe the war on terror is a multi-decade long struggle requiring a dangerous redeployment of American defense resources away from cold war postures. U. S. leadership has an intimate understanding of asymmetric warfare. If it does not interdict the use of this lethal form of tactical warfare against America’s vital interest immediately, using whatever means necessary at its disposal --- however ugly --- it will eventually have a very negative effect on both the economic and military institutions of the nation and a profound impact on its political stability as well. And maybe that’s what our enemies want after all. And then the octopuses of the world will eat that apple pie for desert.
After seizing power in a bloody CIA-backed coup, General Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile with a rod of iron for two decades, during which human rights violations became the norm of Chilean life. Hailing from an upper-middle class background, Pinochet entered the military academy in Santiago at the age of 18, graduating three years later as a second lieutenant. By 1968 he had risen to the rank of brigadier general. In 1970, Salvador Allende, a Marxist, became president of Chile with the backing of the Christian Democrats, and began restructuring Chilean society along socialist lines. In the process he expropriated the US-owned copper-mining companies, alienating the US government and foreign investors. He further annoyed Washington by establishing relations with Cuba and Communist China, which the United States did not recognise at that time. As a result, America imposed tough economic sanctions and the CIA spent millions of dollars destabilising the Allende regime, much of it going into Pinochet’s pockets. By 1972, the Chilean economy had collapsed. With no foreign investment, production had come to a standstill. There were widespread strikes, inflation, food shortages and civil unrest. With the backing of armed forces, Pinochet staged a military coup on 11 September 1973. It was bloody even by Latin American standards. The navy seized the key port of Valparaiso, while the army surrounded the presidential palace in Santiago. Allende refused to step down. When the palace was overrun a few hours later, he was found dead. It appears that he shot himself rather than face inevitable torture and execution. A junta took over and declared marital law. Those who violated the curfew were shot on sight. Pinochet was named president two days later. He broke off relations with Cuba – Nixon had staged his famous rapprochement with China by then – and moved against Allende’s supporters. Some 14 000 would be tried and executed or expelled from the country, while Pinochet claimed he was only trying to ‘restore institutional normality’ of Chile. In June 1974 Pinochet assumed sole power, with the rest of the junta relegated to an advisory role. Under Pinochet’s tyrannical rule, it is estimated that 20 000 people were killed and torture was widespread. While Pinochet continued to maintain tight control over the political opposition, he was rejected by a plebiscite in 1988. He eventually stepped down in 1990 after immunity from prosecution in Chile. He stayed on as army chief of staff. However, during a shopping trip to London in October 1998, he was arrested on a Spanish warrant charging him with murder. He was later accused of torture and human rights violations. For 16 months, he fought his extradition through the British courts, and then in January 2000, Home Secretary Jack Straw decided that he was too ill to stand trial and sent him back to Chile.
Test your Patriotic Knowlege of the American Flag: Question: Is it ok to fly the American Flag upside down? Answer: The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. Question: My flag was accidentally dropped and got dirty. Does it have to be destroyed? Answer: The flag should never be allowed touch the ground, the floor or water. If it does accidentally touch the ground, it does not have to be destroyed. It should merely be cleaned. Question: I’m thinking of making a quilt out of old flags. Is this ok? Answer: The flag should never be used as clothing, bedding, or curtains. Question: Is it alright to print a picture of the American Flag on my parent’s 50th Anniversary party napkins? Answer: The flag should never be embroidered on fabric or printed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed to be used once and then thrown away. Question: Is it ok to fly my American Flag outside 24/7? Answer: The flag is usually flown only from sunrise to sunset. The flag may be displayed at night if it is lit during the hours of darkness. Question: Should I raise my American Flag slowly, ceremoniously? Answer: The flag should be raised quickly and lowered slowly. Question: Should I take my flag down when it’s raining, hailing or snowing outside? Answer: The flag should not be flown on days during bad weather, except when using an all weather flag. Question: Where should I expect to see the American Flag being flown? Answer: The flag should be displayed daily at the main administration building of every public institution, including schools and polling places on election days. Question: During parades, where should the American Flag is placed? Answer: The flag should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when flags of states, cities or other groups are displayed. Question: When a group of flags are displayed which one should be raised first? Answer: When the flags of states are flown on neighboring staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No other flag may be placed higher than the flag of the United States or to the United States Flag's right. Question: During the Olympics, why were all the countries flags flown at the same height? Shouldn’t the gold medal winner’s flag be flown higher? Answer: When displaying the flags of two or more countries, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids flying the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace. Question: How should the American Flag be used when hanging over our Main Street on Memorial Day? Answer: When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street. Question: Can the American Flag be used to unveil our town’s new statue? Answer: The flag can be used at the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument. Question: Is there a special way of raising the American Flag for half-staff? Answer: When flying the flag at half-staff, it should first be raised to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. Question: How should the American Flag be used during a funeral? Answer: When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union (stars) is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground. Question: What do the colors of red, white and blue stand for on the American Flag? Answer: The flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. Red stands for Hardiness and Valor, White stands for Purity and Innocence and Blue stands for Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.
As part of ongoing efforts to motivate young people to engage in the political process, the League of Young Voters Education Fund (LYVEF) recently teamed up with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (NCBCP) Black Youth Vote! (BYV!) for an innovative civic participation training at North High School in Des Moines, IA. The youth later participated in the Black and Brown Forum Presidential Debate. Organizers underscored the importance of voting in the Jan. 3, 2008 primary even though people of color make up less than six percent of the Iowa population. “We are working diligently to educate young people on the role the primaries play in the political process,” said Rob “Biko” Baker, LYVEF organizing director. “We used edutainment - spoken word and writing exercises - to tie the struggles faced by young adults to the power of the vote.” “Young people must learn the entire process. From getting youth-oriented issues on the table during the primaries, to holding elected officials accountable once they’re in office,” adds Melanie L. Campbell, executive director and CEO of the NCBCP. “This is one of many trainings we are hosting across the country to educate young people on the importance of voting and teaching them how to mobilize their friends and family around issues important to them.” Last month Black Youth Vote! hosted a comprehensive training in Washington, DC to prepare state BYV! coordinators to go into their community and galvanize young voters. Nearly 80 youth organizers from across the country engaged in interactive workshops and panel discussions to train them on voter registration, mobilizing young voters, voter protection, and educating the youth on issues impacting their demographic. “There are a number of issues important to Black youth including the unprecedented levels of African American incarceration, high school expulsion rates, and their economic future,” said Jordan Thierry, BYV! national coordinator. “Black Youth Vote! connects the dots between voting and resolving issues effecting their everyday life.” “It’s a new day in America. Black youth under 35 represent nearly 50 percent of the Black American electorate,” says Campbell. “Black youth have the power to impact the serious problems confronting the Black community. Their movement was energized with the historic participation of young voters in the 2004 election, followed by the massive demonstration in Jena. Black Youth Vote! is helping to channel that movement energy into the 2008 election cycle,” she adds. Black Youth Vote!, ( ncbcp. org) the youth division of the NCBCP, is a national grassroots coalition of organizations and individuals committed to increasing political and civic involvement among Black men and women aged 18-35. Founded in1996, the youth led organization educates young adults about the political process and trains them to identify issues and influence public policy through participation. BYV! has been instrumental reversing the downward spiral among young voters and educating voters who are increasingly disenfranchised from the electoral and legislative process. The League of Young Voters Education Fund (youngvoter. org/iowa) empowers young people nationwide to participate in the democratic process – with a focus on non-college youth from low-income communities and communities of color. Founded in 2003, LYVEF makes civic engagement relevant by meeting young people where they are, working on issues that affect their lives, and providing them with tools, training, and support to become viable players in the civic process.
The Lancaster is probably the most famous of all the bombers of the second world war. According to Capt. Donald Macintosh (ex-second world war bomber pilot, and author) it was a lot smoother to fly than the Wellington; the experience of which was close to that of a fighter plane (with no payload, of course). Survival rates on bombers. The life of a second world war bomber pilot was probably the most dangerous of all the armed forces of the second world war. Less than 50% survived their tour; each tour consisted of roughly 25 operations or raids with the chances of survival for each raid being 96%. That is what the commanders always told the crew before a raid to keep up morale. But if you compound 96% over 25 times, the survival rate was closer to 50%. When Donald looked at his Florida academy group photograph after the war, he counted around half of those still alive. WHAT KILLED BOMBER CREWS? Training Enemy fighter planes Lack of rear radar (called Monica: only introduced later in the war) An incompetent navigator An incompetent rear gunner Flak Poor attitude Bad luck TRAINING - Rushed training caused a few deaths. President Roosevelt wanted to train pilots within 2 years which would be woefully short in peacetime, but due to the high chop rate they had no choice. Donald sometimes saw burnt-out bombers on the runway from fatal mistakes made by cadets. A fairly experienced New Zealand pilot and his crew died in a ball of flames in the air during training. They speculated it was because one of the crew members had smoked during the flight. Also, the bombers used in training were not maintained properly, if at all. All the good maintenance staff were looking after the bombers flying real operations. This could cause engines to fail, which killed a few crew members. In fact, Donald had several very near misses himself in just such scenarios. The excerpt: "The Landing" from his book is just one example of inexperience nearly killing him. "Russian Mechanics" is another; the Russians didn't have the competence or equipment to maintain planes as Donald found out. ENEMY FIGHTER PLANES - Fighter planes out-gunned and could out-maneuver bombers. The typical fighter tactic was to dive under the bomber and swing around and up, shooting up at the undercarriage. This wasn't without total risk to the fighter, as the explosion of the payload could also destroy the fighter if he was too close. Donald experienced a Focke Wulf 190 first-hand using just this tactic. The best defence was the cork-screw dive. This meant diving 45 degrees to the left, then 45 degrees to the right and then fly back upwards 45 degrees left. The odds though were still against you. At night time, if an enemy fighter was detected soon enough, the cork-screw dive was very effective at shaking them off. . LACK OF REAR RADAR - Rear radar, or Monica as it was called, saved countless bomber crew's lives. This enabled the crew to detect an enemy fighter sneaking up behind very early. The cork-screw dive maneuver was then quite effective. Using Monica, during night-time raids especially, allowed the bombers to easily shake off enemy fighter planes. Monica saved Donald's life when it was introduced. It was a pity that his Squadron Leader also didn't have it when he battled a German ace. See "Squadron Leader" for this story. AN INCOMPETENT NAVIGATOR - According to Donald, the navigator was absolutely crucial to survival. If you got lost over enemy territory, you had had it. Not only could you accidentally fly over enemy fighter bases or flak installations, but your fuel would run out. Donald's bomber crew experienced their fuel running out twice, once in training and once over Russia. AN INCOMPETENT REAR GUNNER - Although, the rear gunner was not as important as the navigator, he needed to be very alert for detecting enemy fighter planes coming in from behind. He would call out the ranges and shout out the exact time when the pilot should cork-screw. The actual gunfire was usually inadequate to bring down the fighters; it distracted them more than anything else. FLAK - At the end of the war flak was largely ineffective. This was because the German flak crews were the old men or inexperienced young boys who weren't trained well enough to operate them properly. Of course, you could be exceedingly unlucky. If a professional flak crew were shooting at you, then you would be in trouble. When Donald was carrying out a raid over Holland, he flew over German Naval Gunners who shot down the plane three behind him, killing all but three of her crew. POOR ATTITUDE - Those pilots and crew who didn't put everything into it, who didn't really want to be there, were often the ones who got what they wished for. Donald tells of an Australian pilot Tyrell, who had an apathetic attitude always asking when his leave was etc. He died on his first mission over Stuttgart. Another important factor was team work amongst the crew members. Some crews couldn't get along with each other. They constantly argued, even disobeying orders. Unsurprisingly, this raised the probability of not making it over a raid. Nervous disorders were a common problem with crew members who were nearing the end of their active duty. In fact, according to Donald, at this stage of their careers just about everybody had some sort of nervous disorder, whether it was a nervous tic or the hand shaking when lifting up a glass or tea cup. It was far worse with bomb-aimers. They saw everything below: flak exploding just beneath them etc. Bomb aimers were usually relieved earlier of their duties than most since after a while they would crack up. "The Mad Gunner" is a short story of a bomb-aimer who had done around 70 raids and had completely lost it. He was allowed to continue because he loved doing it and also the fact that he was very good at his job. BAD LUCK - A lucky flak shot, or something critical overlooked in maintenance was what usually happened. When Donald had to choose his bomb-aimer, he had a choice between Pete or his friend, George. They flipped a coin and Pete became his bomb-aimer and lived; George, however, never made it to the end of the war. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Capt. Donald Macintosh flew over 40 raids from D day until May 1945, including: 3 attacks on battleship “Tirpitz” (sunk) including flight to Russia; 1 destroyer, Gdynia harbour, night; prob sunk; 2 heavy gun emplacements; 3 dams; 2 oil refineries; 4 viaducts; 3 bridges; 3 submarine pens; 1 ammo dump; 2 flying bomb sites; 2 cities; Finally, Hitler’s home at Berchtesgaden, April 25th. After the war he flew for another 30 years in civil flying some of which was almost as lethal as wartime. Based in the Bahamas, he flew Yorks and Lancastrians for British South American Airways and then went on to fly the world’s first passenger jet, Comet 1, to Africa and the Far East.
America has become a confusing place for many people who are trying to decipher through the mess of politics that is inherent in a huge country that touts democracy. The Critical Review’s (No. 1 Vol. 19) article Ignorance as a Starting Point: From Modest Epistemology to Realistic Political Theory states that a new elitist political paternalism may be necessary to counter the general ignorance of the population. In other words, brighter minds need to make decisions for people. The concept of political elite makes some sense but in reality this is already the case. We have in the U. S. a pseudo-democracy in the sense that all of the candidates are known but few, except the elite, know what the candidates stand for. Democracy, in its early American terms, meant that politics was done on a local basis. People knew who the runners were, shook their hands, asked them questions, etc… This is one of the reasons why many politicians still travel the country. At one time in history it meant something to be part of a party. However, as these parties matured (Democrats & Republicans) the lines of difference in their ideologies have changed. People seem to float near the center and it is almost impossible to determine their party simply based on the way they vote. Some are liberal and some are conservative but parties have become only a path to politics; not an ideological difference. The fact that candidates and parties have become confusing, the average person has become confused as to what the issues really are. For example, people might not know what all of the candidates stand for and may possibly vote on race issues, locality, and appearance instead of actual political ideology. In other words, issues of importance are no longer the issues of politics. When people are faced with making a decision without adequate information or with confusing information they will choose what they know. If someone appears to be honest or they speak in a tone or manner that makes sense then they will vote for that candidate. In some cases people will simply vote for a candidate because they remember their name. This means the process is breaking down. Currently, the country is run by political elites. This is the group of people who have the highest level of income and education. They are the ones that contribute to campaigns, read their newspaper on a regular basis, and view politics as a method of maintaining wealth. For example, the Israeli lobby as the countries largest lobby even though it is a foreign entity. Where are the domestic issues in relation to this issue? Thus, the article Ignorance as a Starting Point: From Modest Epistemology to Realistic Political Theory premises that a paternalistic political elite need to be developed in order to steer people into the right candidates is already in existence. It isn’t a formal method or system as outlined in the system but that those who control the labor control the country. The farther you move up the wealthy scale the tighter knit the group.
Rap Artist Kanye West had this to say: "George Bush doesn't care about black people!" -- Said during a Hurricane Katrina telethon. After the Katrina disaster many polls indicated that large majorities of blacks believed that the federal response to Hurricane Katrina would have been considerably speedier had those trapped in New Orleans been rich and white, and that the slow response was an indication of continuing racial inequity in this country. Most whites disagreed. A poll average indicated that 72 percent of blacks thought Bush doesn't care, while only 26 percent of whites thought likewise, meaning a 74 percent majority of whites believe that Bush cares. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, said: "I do not think that this president cares about everybody in America..." Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, as expected -- defended Bush. Condoleezza, like Colin Powell are examples of blacks who have allowed themselves to be used by the Republican Party "for an illusion of 'black' inclusion," -- a party which not only acts, but commits to things anti-black and anti-minority for good measure. Usually, when a professional team performs dismally, the coach is the first to go, even if the failure is with the players -- hence, the blame on Bush. In this instance, I believe the blame should be spread across the "system," a system initially born of hypocrisy and nurtured in racism and oppression, and which still does not sufficiently address stark inequities across this great nation. Now, pictures don't lie. African Americans were hit hardest. These pictures portray "3rd world living" in a first world nation. Lets turn to Africa and Africans. Over the years most U. S. presidents have not really cared about Africans, mainly Republican presidents, and I am not letting the Democrats off the rope either, for example Bill Clinton sat in the Oval office, busy "serenading" Monica Lewinsky, while Rwandans slit each others throats. Classified papers show Clinton was aware of "final solution" to eliminate Tutsis, but buried the information to justify U. S. inaction. Africans are ultimately responsible for their fate, but for a Superpower, that has colluded with Africa's former colonial masters -- to plant seeds of discord in the continent, and to rape it bare of it's natural resources [in concert with some African dictators],...to date, to sit back and watch, is in my view unequivocally detestable. Perhaps the biggest culprit of them all is Ronald Reagan -- "A serial liar with a Heart of Darkness who made Americans feel good about themselves." To Reagan, Africans, Black Americans and Homosexuals were expendable, as he ignored and mocked the onslaught of AIDS, and propped up the apartheid regime of South Africa, a country with vast deposits of industrial diamonds. At the peak of apartheid, in 1985, Ronald Reagan had the gall to proclaim that the "reformist administration" of South Africa had "eliminated the segregation that we once had in our own country." In 1986, Reagan gave a speech where he said Mandela should be released but denounced sanctions with crocodile tears, claiming that they would "hurt black workers," who were already ridiculously impoverished. Reagan's legacy was: "Immoral, evil, and totally un-Christian." -- These were the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu, spoken on Capitol Hill at a US committee hearing in late 1984. It was just after Reagan's easy re-election. Tutu had just been awarded the Nobel peace prize for his non-violent struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Yet, American companies continued to do business with racist South Africa under the stewardship of the "president of sunny optimism." Meanwhile, apartheid rained death on black Africans. American governments do not care about Africa -- they never bothered about Rwanda [Clinton], and Bush has not bothered about Darfur until now, after hundreds of thousands have been killed by the despicable and moronic militia, the Janjaweed -- supported by an "Islamic Terrorist" government of the Sudan, that does "OIL" business with large U. Spanies. Now, that his legacy seems headed to the dustbin, and amidst intense pleading by the International community -- Bush suddenly cares? Do I think Bush is a bigot. No. I think he is part of a predatory, lying, devious and hypocritical system, an elitist system of government that doesn't really care about the poor, and whenever they seem to do, it is always with debilitating strings attached. Some may argue that the United States gives the third world millions of dollars in aid. That's a fallacy, for most U. S. aid actually winds up subsidizing American corporations. So, U. S. foreign aid serves not only as a coercive instrument of foreign policy but also to support private U. S. contractors, universities, banks, consulting firms, lobbyists, and many others. Foreign aid is a lucrative business, and America always ends "repatriating more" back to the United States than what it "donates" as "foreign aid." STOP! Wonder why illegal migrants are flocking into the United States? Click here to find out how greedy the "First World" is. The world bank, whose leader is appointed by the sitting U. S. president, is a monstrous arm-twisting tool used to "coordinate" American interests in the third world, and the sorry fact that some third world leaders are a bunch of heartless nincompoops, just worsens the situation. They steal the "Foreign Aid," profit from it and repatriate the proceeds back to western banks -- whose governments look the other way. Bush's Darfur initiative -- is a little too late? Probably. As for AIDs -- Better late than never. That said, the Sudanese government is guilty of "ethnic cleansing" and crimes against humanity, crimes against black Sudanese peasants, and the leaders of this regime must be brought to justice. This is the war Bush should be fighting and not the bottomless pit in Iraq that reportedly has claimed close to a million Iraqi lives and thousands of U. S. military men and women, not forgetting the millions who have been driven away from their homes. But, guess what, because they have OIL, they got away with harbouring Osama bin Laden, and now they will get way with genocide -- courtesy the United States, China and all other predatory western nations, who have repeatedly used Africa like a disposable mistress. References: [Web Pages Referred To In Article]  -- guardian. co. uk/usa/story/0,12271,1182431,00.html  -- marxists. org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/index. htm  -- usa. mediamonitors. net/content/view/full/7340/  -- zmagsite. zmag. org/Jan2004/bronski0104.html  -- thirdworldtraveler/Helen_Caldicott/Third_World_Debt_IYLTP. html  -- clubafrika/photos/cpg133/index. php? cat=10010
As I watched the evening news, I wondered why no one else seemed to understand that our porous southern borders were open doors for Middle Eastern terrorists. Perhaps it was fresh on my own mind because I’d had a recent conversation with a Virginia Police Chief, who told me his department had been notified by Homeland Security of the potential risk. Our government had received information that Middle Eastern terrorists loyal to al-Qaeda had arrived at the conclusion that the average white American would not know the difference between a Middle Eastern operative and a Latino migrant worker. They could easily get into Mexico, assume Hispanic identities, and simply walk across our borders along with millions of Latinos. Once in the United States, the terrorists could live amongst the illegal immigrant community. Of course the immigrants would know these people did not belong in their midst, but they would never report them to local law enforcement. To do so would bring the law into their community, perhaps searching house-to-house, and the illegal immigrants themselves could be arrested and deported. Instead, they would mind their own business—even if terrorist sleeper cells existed alongside them. This information became the basis for my latest suspense, Ricochet. Sheila Carpenter, who made her debut appearance in an earlier book, Kickback, is now attending the FBI Academy at Quantico. She finds information leading her to believe that her parents might not have died accidental deaths but were murdered. This hunch leads her on a journey where she follows her mother’s footsteps in the days before she died—a journey that takes her into the heart of illegal immigration and terrorism within our own borders. To date, there is an estimated 21 million illegal immigrants in the United States. That means there are 21 million people living amongst us that we know absolutely nothing about. We don’t know their true identities, their history, their criminal records, or their intent. If only one tenth of one percent intend to harm us, that is an astounding 21,000 terrorists or criminals that could be living amongst us. In an age where an American sex offender is listed on the Internet, Americans’ criminal records are made public, and Americans are tracked through a pyramid of electronic records, the illegal immigrant—or terrorist crossing our borders—has no record at all. On paper and electronically, they do not exist. When I began writing Ricochet, I made the conscious decision not to inject my own opinions into the story. I would not judge the Hispanic illegal immigrant population, but I would instead lay out the very real threat that occurs when a country’s borders are wide open. Since Ricochet was released, I have heard from many people on both sides of the issue. I spoke to a school teacher who knew her third grade student was living under an assumed name; his mother actually had two fictitious names. The teacher was adamant and emotional about protecting “this poor family.” I spoke to an emergency room doctor who was to perform surgery on a man injured on the job; a man who could speak no English and who, it turned out, was working more than 200 hours a week. Realizing more than one person would have to be using the same identity, he refused to operate until he knew the patient’s real name and true medical history—facts that saved him from medication to which he was allergic. It turned out that four people were using the same identity at the same meat processing plant. I spoke to a landlord who rented his 1,000 square foot home to a nice, young Latino couple with an infant, only to learn that more than 70 illegal immigrants had moved in, completely destroying his home. Unable to pay for the repairs, the landlord has been forced to leave the house empty for months. He admitted the bank will probably foreclose. I’ve spoken to more than one person who had their identities stolen. Though our judicial system is supposed to be founded on the principle “innocent until proven guilty” the victims of identity theft were presumed guilty of criminal activities and poor credit, and they were forced to prove they were NOT the culprits. While the nation is debating whether the explosion of illegal immigrants are law-abiding citizens who simply want the American dream or are criminals who are taking over whole communities, there is a different picture the average American isn’t getting: the nation’s security. If a poor Latino who, as some allege, simply wants to work in our country can obtain a set of illegal documents, what could a terrorist do? The World Trade Center was attacked by only a handful of people, not an entire army. As long as our borders remain porous enough to allow men, women and children to simply walk across it, what would possibly prevent a terrorist from doing the same?
Before I start I would like to admit that I am a conservative. I am not a Republican, I despise President Bush for his big spending policies and I am sorry I ever voted for him. If I do not like his level of spending you can imagine how I feel about a candidate who is promising 10 times as much. I also spit at the thought that the Republicans may choose a liberal like Rudy Giuliani to run on their ticket. So far Hillary has promised over 750 billion dollars in new spending over the first four years she is in office. These are the conservative figures; most of which are the amounts that she says the programs will cost. If you know anything about politics, politicians always give the lowest bids they can on the cost of programs that they propose. That equals to over 3000 dollars for every man, woman and child in America. Most of the time she does not suggest how she will pay for these programs. Obviously taxes have to be raised. Last year around 140 million people filled tax returns. That works out to over 5300 dollars per tax payer over the four years she is in office or over 1300 dollars a year. That is unless she is like President Bush and puts it on the credit card for our kids to pay. Here are some of the high lights of Hillary’s spending proposals. Health Care. Hillary is proposing a comprehensive health care plan that she says will cost 110 billion a years or 440 billion for her term in office. Most analysts I have seen say it will cost much more than that. Consider this, Hillary’s health care plan is much more modest than the universal health care plan she proposed while her husband was President and significantly more modest than the other Democrat who are running and the most influential Democratic Congressmen are proposing. I am willing to bet that if she is elected and has large majorities in both Houses of Congress, she will go for the plan she came up with 14 years ago and has supported until this year when she was running for President. The Baby Bond. Hillary has proposed that the federal government give the family of every baby born in America a 5000 dollar bond. With around 4 million babies born in America every year that equals 20 billion dollars a year or 80 billion during her term in office. Note that she makes this as a blanket statement. I have not heard her qualify this statement since. Does this also include babies born to citizens of foreign countries and illegal aliens? Note that because of the negative feedback from all across America, Hillary has since stated that she has given up on the plan. 401(k) plan for all Americans. Hillary has proposed to make 401(k) plans available for all Americans with the federal government. I believe the idea is a solid one but she goes way beyond just making them available she also plans to have the government provide up to a thousand dollars a year by matching dollar for dollar in tax credits. Wow another tax break for the wealthy! At least by their definition it is. How many of the bottom income earners can afford to make payments into a 401(k) when they can hardly put food on the table. The estimated cost for this program is 25 billion a year to the federal government or 100 billion for her term in office. Education money for developing countries. Hillary has proposed spending 2 billion of your hard earned tax dollars every year to get young children in developing countries into school. Can you believe this, in a country where we seem to fall further behind the rest of the industrialized world in education, she wants to spend our money to educate children in other countries. This adds up to 8 billion over her term in office. Universal Pre K education. According to Hillary’s fact sheet on Universal Pre K education on her website, she would spend 5 billion dollars a year increasing to every year up to 10 billion as more states participate. I thought that funding pre college education was the state’s responsibility. Here is another example of the federal government wanting to take over the state's responsibility for educating out children at a cost of between 20 and 40 billion dollars during her term in office. 150 Billion Dollar investment in energy. Hillary plans to spend 150 billion in additional alternative energy research. She has a plan to tax oil companies for 50 billion dollars of the cost but does not offer information on her website as to where the additional money will come from. Reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment. This is one of my favorites of her spending proposals. The Office of Technology Assessment was closed in the early nineties. The stated purpose of the proposal to spend 30 million dollars a year is to keep science free of politics and to tell the truth about science. Now this is great. We are going to get politics involved in deciding which science is true so that science can be free of politics. Does anyone else see the irony of this? Hillary has also proposed spending tens of billions of dollars on other programs such as. 10 billion on bridges 250 million for grants to find bridges that are not safe. Eight billion in increased health research. Increase National Science Foundation Fellowships by 378 billion. 300 billion for second chance education. 36 million for school physical-education programs. 1 billion to bail out people who made bad mortgage decisions. 6 billion on public transit. 8 billion in college affordability programs. 7 billion to get states to enact family leave programs Double Funding For the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 70 million per year. Create an U. S. Public Service Academy at 200 million a year. 1 billion to create affordable housing (above the billions we already spend). 50 million a year to help foster telecommuting. 1.2 billion for the Department of Transportation’s congestion reduction program 1 billion for Investment in Intercity Passenger Rail. If you want to know she means business all you need to do is watch her in the Senate. She already has a reputation as being one of the biggest spenders in congress and is known as the earmark queen. This year alone on just 3 appropriation bills she has successfully attached 530 million dollars in earmarkspare that to Senator Barack Obama’s 40 million and you can see what a successful spender she is. Last January Hillary voted against a bill to require public disclosure of earmark sponsors. Her vote is understandable since she successfully got one million dollars earmarked for a Woodstock museum. Fortunately for us taxpayers that other Democrats were so embarrassed when this made the news that they voted again and removed the funding from the bill. Hillary became a Senator in 2000. In her first four years as a Senator she sponsored or cosponsored 380 bills that totaled 302 billion dollars in increased spending and only 3 that reduced spending. Of course not all of these bills passed but it goes to show how committed she is in increasing spending. 302 billion proposed in her first 4 years as a freshman Senator, can you imagine what she would do as President? Everyone needs to ask how does she plan on paying for all these increases. It is simple; Raise taxes. She wants to raise taxes on the rich. She wants to raise taxes on businesses. It appears from her speeches for the last 4 years that she wants to repeal the entire Bush tax cuts. This means that the lowest income taxpayers will see their taxes increase from 10% to 15%. That is a 50% increase in the amount of taxes that the lowest income tax payers have to pay. She also talks about raising taxes on business. It is important to understand that business do not really pay taxes. They pass the cost on to the people who buy their products. Raise their taxes and they raise their prices. The have no choice if they are going to stay in business. So raising taxes on business is just another way of taxing even the poorest people in America. In summary, Hillary in on a spending spree and she has your credit card. She wants everything she sees and joyfully knows that she is not the one who has to pay the bill.
De par son graphisme, ses thиmes, son approche mкme du casino, Casino Broceliande ne peut que vous surprendre. Bien que les jeux traditionnels (jeux de table, Baccarat et machines а sous, video poker, et jeux а tirage) soient conservйs, leur design s’en trouve modifiй au point de vous troubler. Casino Broceliande n’invite pas seulement le joueur а jouer, mais а entrer en profondeur dans son monde а lui, en le plongeant dans les douceurs orientales et les mythes des chevaliers de la table ronde, pour son plus grand plaisir. En mode rйel, vous pouvez recevoir en cours de partie des bonus mystиres par Merlin l’Enchanteur. Cela est fascinant! Mais qui est il au juste? L’origine du nom de Merlin n’est pas clairement dйfinie. Les noms « Merddin », « Myrddin », puis « Merlinus » ou encore « Merilun » furent utilisйs pour dйcrire un mкme personnage. Le nom de « Merlin » sera adoptй au XIIe siиcle. La lйgende de Merlin l’Enchanteur est trиs complexe, les sources manuscrites de l’йpoque ayant disparu. La plupart des ouvrages relatant Merlin, йvoquent aussi Arthur et les chevaliers de la Table Ronde. Or, ces textes datent du XIIe au XVIe siиcle, alors que des rйcits remontent а bien plus longtemps. Il apparaоt qu’un certain Merlinus Ambroisius aurait rйellement existй, de descendance royale. Merlin l’Enchanteur signifie la bontй et le rкve, l’humanitй et la nature. Son rфle est d'aider а l'accomplissement du destin du royaume de Bretagne. Il devient l'ami et conseiller du roi Uther Pendragon. А la mort de celui-ci, il organise le dйfi de l'йpйe Excalibur qui permet а Arthur, de succйder а son pиre. Puis il l’incite а instituer la Table Ronde afin que les chevaliers qui la constituent puissent se lancer dans des missions relevant du mythe, (quкte du Graal). А la fin de sa vie et malgrй toutes ses connaissances, Merlin ne pourra rien contre la destinйe du royaume de Bretagne et la fin tragique du roi Arthur. Dans un monde chrйtien alors en plein essor, il reprйsentait ce qui restait de la tradition ancienne : le monde druidique moribond.
So, I'm channel surfing in my New York City hotel room, organizing the junk I lugged from a conference to my hotel room floor, junk I'm about to pay an exorbitant surcharge to lug over the border and then throw out once I get home. No point in channel surfing,'cause there's only one thing on, presidential hopefuls strutting their stuff. Even with the volume turned off it didn't take me long to size 'em up. Disclaimer. I have no business writing an article about American politics. I know nothing about politics and I'm Canadian to boot. But I do know that all business is show business and politics is no exception. After glancing at the chorus line of official Democratic contenders, I picked a couple to whom I'd give a call-back (or as they say on American Idol, send "To Hollywood" for the next round). Who? An uptight looking woman and a magnetic "what's his ethnicity?" guy with an intriguing name. The rest of 'em? A bunch of boring looking old white guys in suits. A month later, I see an headline in The Huffington Post from The New York Times, "Young Americans Love Obama, Clinton". The article says that young Americans are really familiar with only two of the candidates. Duh. I doubt it's just young Americans. In his best-selling book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell writes of a study in which students were shown 3 ten second video-clips of a teacher and asked to rank that teacher's effectiveness. Those results were compared with the opinions of students who'd been in that teacher's class for a whole semester. The results were virtually the same, despite the fact that the clips were shown with the volume turned off. No surprise there. I didn't need 3 ten second clips. Woman, African American, old white guys in suits. But let's dig a bit deeper and check their back stories. The woman's a no-brainer. She's a sharp tongued Yale Law School graduate who used to be Mrs. President. Forget that she's got the charisma of a carp, the former first lady's got an interesting story and best of all, she's a woman, and we've never had a woman president, so she stands out. She's the long-suffering "he done her wrong" wife of an affable but naughty donut eating President who "did not have sex with that woman". OK, so we never really liked Hill, but we did always suspect that she was the brains of the operation. We weren't sure about her "stand by your man" attitude, but we understood why she did it--the woman had bigger plans. A stain on some other woman's dress wasn't going to derail her. Who can resist renewing the melodrama for four more years? Think of the ratings! Will Bill schlep around the country to stand behind her podium? Was there a deal? She looks the other way, he gets her into the White House"? What will he be doing behind the curtains? Don't touch that dial! And we won't just be getting the first "First Man" in U. S. history, we'll be getting two Presidents for the price of one. The Mr and Mrs. President Show. But the real reason this woman has a shot? She'll get the curiosity vote. We all wanna see how she's going to wear her hair. The other contender, is a Hawaiian born product of a "black as pitch" Kenyan father and a "white as milk" mother from Kansas (his words, not mine). Throw in a stint in Indonesia and things are starting to look interesting. He says his name means "Blessed by G-d" in Swahili and you gotta admit, the guy does have an angelic look about him. The other choices? Like I said, a bunch of old white guys in suits. (OK, so one has a Mexican mother and a couple aren't grey haired yet, but they might as well be.) I didn't notice 'em. You can't get elected if people don't know you exist. It's no coincidence that actors do well in politics. The Republicans have figured this out. Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ronald Reagan got the lead. (Don't think Law and Order guy will.) Actors get that "all biz is showbiz". You gotta confidence. You gotta have a story. And know how to tell it. You gotta have a look. A name. You gotta give us something to remember you by. Most important? You gotta be able to connect with your audience. A brief look at recent history proves my point. No one would ever accuse George W. of being the sharpest tool in the shed, but he's sharper than the cardboard cutouts they threw into the ring to run against him, smart enough to know that we won't vote for guys we don't relate to even if they are smarter, more articulate and have a better plan. So whatever you're running for, whatever role you're after, V. P of Finance, Girlfriend, PTA President or American President-- remember, all biz is showbiz! And that, my friends, is the inconvenient truth.
Don't look now! Someone's staring at you from that far wall behind the artificial potted plants in this busy hotel lobby. But there's no need for that furtive glance like you have some lint on your shoulder. There's no need for those tiny furtive steps either. No one's stalking you. It's just the hotel's CCTV surveillance system. The hotel has recently been caught up in the wave of video surveillance. That someone staring at you from across the room is just the camera from the newly installed CCTV surveillance systems. In hotels and in places where there is high human traffic, state of the art CCTV surveillance systems have been mounted for purposes of safety and as crime deterrents. That Constant Fear The world, it seems, is gripped by fear of terrorist attacks. In fact, after 9/11, it seems to be a Herculean effort to make life go on - do business, travel, interact with others in densely populated places. After all, if there's anything 9/11 has shown us, it is that a bomb could go off in a sidewalk while you are having an al fresco lunch with a colleague, or blow up the trans-continental plane you are in while it's in in the air, cruising at 125,000 feet. The security guys you see milling about do not reassurance you. You have always felt that security guys patrolling public places have a very limited capacity for preventing crime. They only act when something happens in their line of sight. By then, however, you'd be beyond help. You're Safe Now Installed in a strategic spot and equipped with cutting edge technology in surveillance cameras, CCTV surveillance systems can record everything that goes on in its line of focus. These recordings can later be retrieved and analyzed to recreate scenes. Software developers now see the potential of CCTV surveillance systems in preventing a repeat of large-scale terrorism after the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center. These developers are working hard to develop programs for surveillance systems, among them an important feature known as face recognition. With face recognition installed in CCTV surveillance systems, it is now easy to recognize certain key features in the face of an individual. This face will be compared to a host of faces from a database of mug shots and photographs. A person flagged as dangerous can then be prevented from gaining access to buildings or public transportations, thus thwarting any planned attack or escape. Big Investment That Pays Off CCTV surveillance systems today now boast of functionalities not seen in the video surveillance systems of the past. This time, CCTV surveillance systems have 1. motion detection. This means that the surveillance system only records footage when movement triggers the surveillance system. 2. resolution as clear as day. Grainy footage is not a problem anymore with some video surveillance cameras featuring 1600 x 1200 dpi, or even more, resolution. 3. night and infrared vision. Even with low or minimal lighting, these new surveillance systems can record images with infrared technology. Government administrators are seeing the positive side of surveillance systems. In fact, after 9/11, federal budget is flowing in for these new security measures. There are states which require the installation of surveillance systems in business establishments before these businesses can operate. So, there is really no need to be afraid. CCTV surveillance systems, those new security guys, have your back. They are always watching.