Monday, January 31, 2005

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I'm not sure why, but today I find myself in an unusually good mood. Various random events may be contributing to my joy, you be the judge. Today's top 3:

1) Family Three Cent welcomed a new puppy into our home last weekend. Baby "Gus" is a handful, but anyone with a new puppy can't help but be in a good mood. I'll post some pictures soon.

2) I am so impressed with Condoleeza Rice. She made history last week when she was sworn in as Secretary of State. During her swearing in, and subsequent appearances on TV (she was on Fox News Sunday yesterday), anyone could see her pride in her smile. She earned her new cabinet position and has a very impressive resume, so the 13 morons who voted against her confirmation are quite simply, national embarrassments.

3) Yesterday's Iraqi elections were the first free elections that country has seen in 50 years. I've said there is much work to do before that country has it's act together, but how can any freedom loving person not feel good for the Iraqi people? Seeing people voting, many of them risking their lives for the privilege to do so, is quite inspirational. One elderly man was weeping as it was the first vote he's made in his lifetime. He cried for his son, who was killed and would never be able to see a free Iraq. We take so much for granted here in the United States, and the Iraqis have nothing more than an opportunity in front of them. Some were literally dancing in the streets after casting their votes. To stand up to the homicide bombers, thugs, terrorists and murderers tells me there is hope for that country. I find it exhilarating.

Today the glass is half full. If you don't believe me, read today's Bleat.

Border Security

On Friday I mentioned John Fund's book, Stealing Elections. Today he has a column at www.OpinionJournal.com that discusses illegal immigration. Fund posits "....border security is now inextricably tied up in the public's mind with homeland security." I'm a big fan of George W. Bush and what he has accomplished as president, but illegal immigration is an area where he needs to have a backbone and take the proper steps to ensure the nation's safety.

Illegal immigration is a complex issue. On one hand, many workers in search of a better life come here to work. The argument that they do the work many American's simply won't do is probably true. M3C reader William blames our welfare system for being too effective of a "safety net." This, in turn, means low-end wage earners no longer have to find work to feed themselves and families. Enter foreign workers who are willing to work for those available "lower" wages. But there is also an undeniable drain on resources because of illegal immigration (cities, schools, hospitals, prisons, and even the welfare system all have increased costs due to ilegal immigrants).

I have a real problem with illegal immigration on principle. "Illegal" is a word that should have meaning and stigma. I fear if we allow illegal immigration, then we start down a slippery slope of allowing other illegal acts. More importantly, with the free flow of illegal immigrants (from either Canada or Mexico), a huge gap in our nation's security can easily be exploited by terrorists. The government's first job is to provide for the security of our nation. Ignoring security gaps at our borders is unacceptable.

I don't know which measures are going to be most effective in securing our borders. More border patrol agents, an Israel-style wall, guest worker programs, and using the military to patrol the borders are all options. The idea of a national I.D. card sounds appealing to me, as it can also help with the election fraud issue I discussed last week. but doing nothing is not acceptable.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Facts are Getting in the Way of the Truth

Our election is long over, and now that President Bush has started his second term, I guess it's a little safer to start printing stories like this one from the AP. We heard two things from the Democrats during the presidential campaign. Those were: 1) How bad George W. Bush's economy was and 2) What a total disaster the Iraq war has been. But the ecomony wasn't so bad after all. The best economy of the last 5 years, in fact. Heh.

With tomorrow's elections in Iraq, and given MSM's constant drumbeat of negativism, I wonder how long it will be before we start seeing stories about how things weren't nearly as bad as they have been reported the past 18 months. Given the utter lack of coverage on the recent historic (and successful) Afghan elections, I expect the media will do the same in Iraq and just go away quietly.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Election Fraud Follow Up

National Review Online put up two editorials this morning on the tainted Washington State gubernatorial race (here and here). I barely missed these as I posted this morning (I also forgot to mention how many felons apparently voted). Both editorials are pretty short, so check them out. They mention Sound Politics too. The more I read about this race, the more it stinks. Our electoral system is way too sloppy! And this invites corrupt individuals to steal elections. Now off to dinner, if I can keep it down.

Election Fraud

Many bloggers are doing a fine job tracking the numerous instances of election fraud from November’s elections. Here’s an abbreviated round up, given my previously discussed “technical difficulties.”

PowerLine has been following the issue of fraud in Milwaukee. Check them for an update on 1,305 voters who should not have voted, because of “irregularities” in their same-day voter registration cards.

Here’s the story on the five Kerry campaign employees who were arrested in Wisconsin for slashing the tires of rented GOP “get out the vote” vans. The vandalism took place on election-eve.

And things are getting interesting in Washington State. Please also check the archives of Sound Politics, as they have been on the case from the beginning. It seems Christine Gregoire finally won on the third re-count, thanks to a box of --COUGHhorsesh*tCOUGH-- “previously undiscovered” ballots from heavily democratic King County. We may yet see another election between Ms. Gregoire and Dino Rossi for the governor’s race there. If that happens, bloggers will be credited for keeping the pressure on and once again leading the mainstream media by many weeks.

My Three Cents recognizes that election fraud is a serious problem in this country. Please read John Fund’s book Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. Voter Fraud will probably be around in some form for as long as we have free elections. But we can do a lot more to clean up the system, reduce the impact of fraud and prevent the outright stealing of elections.

This is where we can take a tip from Mexico, of all places. There, voters need to give a thumbprint when they register to vote. At polling places, citizens must present positive identification cards (with magnetic strips to further increase security) and have their thumb electronically scanned in order to place a vote. Also, late (or same day) voter registration is not allowed.

I’m still not sold on electronic voting, and internet voting introduces a plethora of opportunities to commit election fraud. Call me old-fashioned (or paranoid), but I still like the idea of punching a card and dropping it anonymously into a collection box.

If we took these steps, then well known instances of dead people, pets, and 400 Shirley Temples all casting their vote would be eliminated. Also, those of us who do vote legally, are treated more fairly since honest tallies would result. I’m all for having “every vote count” as long as every vote is cast legally, by U.S. citizens.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Salt in the Wounds

Somebody please do something for these poor losers (hat tip: Charles Johnson). These people are pathetic! Paging Dr. Kervorkian.

Dawn on the Cleaver


Dawn on the Cleaver Posted by Hello

This image was taken June 3, 2004 on Mt. Rainier (just a few hours after we had a great view of this omen). The meteor was so close we could actually hear it! We mistook it for an emergency flare at first.

Dawn was just beginning to break around 5am when this picture was taken and we we had climbed to roughly 12,000 feet in altitude. Shortly after, we had to abandon our summit bid due to avalanche conditions. My plan is to make another attempt sometime this summer.

UPDATE: Send me an e-mail if you're interested in seeing a video of the meteor flash. It's not from our climbing group, but interesting nonetheless.

The N.Y. Times Isn't Going to Enjoy This

This is a very interesting media presentation framing the future of media as an epic battle between Microsoft and Google (hat tip: Galley Slaves). I don't know how old it is or who made it (some imaginative person at Georgia Tech, it appears), but it's worth the 5 minutes. Definitely provokes some thought.

One Week Down.....

Though hard to believe, My Three Cents has been around for a week now. I have learned quite a few lessons already. First off, thanks to all (I know there aren’t many of you) who have stopped by. I appreciate the fact that you’ve taken precious time out of your day to “pay me a visit.” Special thanks to those who have sent supportive e-mails, they are all read and cherished.

As for some of the lessons learned, I’d say #1 is to be very careful in saving posts before trying to publish them. I have wasted several hours composing, and then retyping posts that somehow disappeared into the blog ether. From now on (at least for long posts) I will compose everything in MS Word, then copy-and-paste for publishing to the blog, thus saving a copy should other e-disasters occur. And given my utter lack of techno-skills, future e-disasters are inevitable. Like another terrorist attack on our country, not “if” but “when.”

The most frustrating part of having to re-do a post is that it can be difficult (sometimes impossible) to remember exactly how things were worded the first time around. Like I said, I’m still learning. Oh well, come back soon to see (God willing) my future post on Election Fraud. It’s out there somewhere already, but I have no idea where. And believe me, it was a strong effort!

Lesson #2 is to remain vigilant in pursuing the news, then post as quickly as possible. Several times I have pulled back in posting thoughts just because it seems like “old news” by the time I get around to it. I may be wrong, because if a reader hasn’t seen it, then it wouldn’t be old news to them, right? So those can be tough decisions also. There are more lessons, but maybe for another day. So before I go completely mental, I need to reconstruct some stuff….

DHS Reform

Ed at Captain's Quarters has a link to this Washington Post article on reform at the Dept. of Homeland Security. Read Ed's blog also. As usual, he's spot on with his analysis. I touched on this a little bit last night, so I'm pleased to see these reforms announced (though enactment is still nearly a year away). If other government agencies went to a performance based system, then we all would receive better service for our tax dollars. Start by abolishing the teacher's unions and enact similar reform at our public schools too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Ich Bin Ein Powerliner

Those PowerLine guys are really smart, and yesterday were very gracious in answering at least one clueless blogger's dopey e-mails. It's my opinion they have one of the top poli-blogs in the blogosphere, which is why I've put a permanent link to them on the right hand side of my blog. Read them daily, 4-5 times if possible, and you will be on top of your world's current events.

Today they discussed a Michelle Malkin column outlining how a deceased 9/11 victim was recently approved for his green card, nearly 3 1/2 years after his death. I understand her frustration with the Dept. of Homeland Security as my own experience as a regular business traveler has frustrated me numerous times. Malkin takes it one step beyond just complaining about another bureaucratic snafu. She suggests taking action by:

What can be done:
1. Contact the
chairman and members of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Borders, and Claims and ask them to investigate this and other information lapses outlined in the column. The e-mail address of John Hostettler, chairman of the subcommittee, is John.Hostettler@mail.house.gov. His phone number is (202) 225-4636.
2. Donate to
Windows of Hope, the charity for family members of Sept. 11 victims like Mr. Kniazev who worked in the restaurant/services industry.
3.
Drop me a line if you have a similar story to share.
4. Keep Mr. Kniazev and his family in your prayers. May he rest in peace without any more government insults to his memory. The best way to honor him would be to ensure that national embarrassments such as this do not happen again.


My own experiences are far less tragic than Mr. Kniazev, yet frustrating nonetheless. Suffice it to say that all of our airports do not follow the same security procedures. And since I'm not at the airport every day, it's safe to assume that procedures may vary day-to-day or even shift-to-shift. Is the security at LAX worse than Las Vegas? Or is someone on a powertrip at Chicago's O'Hare, hassling passengers because he's wearing a badge? I have no idea, but I do know that they aren't all on the same page.

Why we would expect any government agency to be effective, more efficient and more customer friendly than your neighborhood's Dept. of Motor Vehicles is beyond me. And that reminds me where I have to go tomorrow afternoon. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Neo-Triangulation a.k.a. "Finding Common Ground"

Hillary Clinton has begun her campaign for president in 2008. Her speech yesterday on abortion is her attempt to appear “moderate” on a heated social issue. Don’t be fooled, “moderate” is a liberal code-word that immediately paints their opponents as “extremists.” And who wants to be guilty of extremism, no matter the issue?

"There is an opportunity for people of good faith to find common ground in this debate…” Hillary said yesterday. She is appealing to pro-lifers by stressing the importance of reducing abortions, yet moments later appeases her left-wing supporters by firmly restating “her support for the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.”

This “re-clarification” of her stance on the abortion issue is nothing more than a continuation of her husband’s mastery of Dick Morris’ “triangulation” strategy. Remember the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy or “I smoked but I didn’t inhale.” Bubba shamelessly said anything to score votes. And why wouldn’t Hillary do the same thing? After all, that strategy earned them eight years in the White House.

Observers will notice a pattern with the Clintons. I call it “But Syndrome” (I know that’s a terribly weak name, but cut me some slack—it’s my first week of blogging. Maybe we should just shorten it to ‘B.S.’). Everything they say is followed by a “but” or other qualifier. In the linked N.Y Times article, there are two more examples of this near the end (and I suspect with a small amount of research I will find many more in the public record):

“Mrs. Clinton supported a proposed ban on late-term abortions as long as it included an exception to protect the health of the mother; in turn, she has opposed such a ban when it lacked that exception. She has also supported some state parental notification laws under which a teenager must involve at least one parent in the decision - but only when there is an exception in the laws that allows the judge to bypass the law and let the teenager obtain an abortion on her own - a process known as "judicial bypass," which Mrs. Clinton has also supported before.” (Emphasis mine).

I honestly don’t expect that we will see Roe v. Wade overturned within our lifetimes. Whether you agree with the decision or not, I just don’t see any changes coming any time soon. Yet, for many “single issue” voters (on both sides), the abortion debate is their issue in electing presidents, senators, and probably all the way down the line to dog-catcher.

In November, voters rejected John Kerry's “global test” and his utter incapability to take a stand on any issue. I just wish Americans would do the same when it comes to the Clintons. We need to be careful in assuming that voters rejected liberal ideaology in the last election. It’s entirely possible that someone other than Bush could have been elected had the Democrats nominated someone with more charisma than John Kerry. Slick Willie may be followed by Slick Hillie in 2008. Be warned.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Howard Hughes

Mrs. Three Cent and I recently watched "The Aviator" starring Leo DiCaprio. I'm no fan of DiCaprio, but he did a good job portraying the eccentric Howard Hughes. And it is an entertaining, well made movie. However, it does not stand up as well (what movie ever does?)as Richard Hack's biography entitled, "Hughes: The Private Diaries and Memos." Hack's work is quite thorough, and covers Hughes' entire life. It is an excellent book and the reader will have a complete understanding of all Mr. Hughes' varied and amazing accomplishments. He was more than an obsessive-compulsive and paranoid aviator, but an inventor, movie maker, world-class golfer and ruthless businessman.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The News is Broken

Yesterday was a busy day and we’ve been having problems with the phone line, thus no posts. But during lunch I did happen to catch a few minutes of “Fox News Watch” on FNC, hosted by Eric Burns. Among other things, his panel discussed the Philadelphia Inquirer’s new practice of calling ex-subscribers to find out why they are ex-subscribers. Specifically, they were worried that their 21 anti-Bush editorials during the ’04 presidential campaign may have driven away some of their readers.

On the panel was “media writer and author” Neil Gabler, who clearly has a problem with what the Philadelphia Inquirer is doing. He said the media “shouldn’t treat the news as a product.” He believes this practice will somehow lower the quality of the news. Gabler couldn’t be more wrong in his analysis. But, sadly, I fear much of the MSM share his views. Until they figure out that the news is indeed a product, and their customers (viewers and readers) are going away because they are dissatisfied with that product, then we will continue to see this (hat tip, Matt Drudge):

CNN LOSES 63% OF AUDIENCE OVER INAUGURATION 2001 Fri Jan 21 2005 23:52:24 2005

CNN hemorrhaged more than half their audience from the 2001 Inauguration, overnights show. The troubled news network only averaged 779,000 viewers during yesterday's Inauguration coverage from 10am-4pm with just 168,000 of those viewers landing in the coveted 25-54 demo.

Like CNN, MSNBC also suffered major losses, only averaging 438,000 viewers throughout yesterday's coverage (141,000 in 25-54), down a whopping 68% over 2001 and faring even worse in primetime with just 385,000 viewers.

In contrast, Fox News averaged 2,581,000 viewers from 10a-4p (up 30% over 2001) and their 25-54 demo average of 705,000 came close to CNN's total coverage ratings yesterday.

PRIMETIME:
FNC -- 2,439,000 (up 57% OVER '01)
CNN -- 1,353,000 (down 14% over '01)
MSNBC -- 385,000 (down 47% over '01)

If I lost 63% of my customers, I’d be out of work. If any business lost that much market share, their CEO should be not only sacked, but sued for gross negligence and then publicly beaten by the company’s shareholders.

CNN is in big trouble if Drudge's figures are correct. MSNBC is on the ropes. The L.A. Times is taking a small step in the right direction. CBS is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, by considering Katie Couric or Jon Stewart as Dan Rather’s replacement. And ABC hasn’t figured out that they too have a problem with biased reporting.

The bottom line: MSM is no longer the only game in town. They are becoming increasingly irrelevant, because they are in many instances slower than the blogosphere. And they don’t understand that undisclosed bias has also seriously damaged their credibility, perhaps beyond repair. Self-proclaimed MSM “objectivity” is simply a farce. I believe these reasons, speed and bias, are why the traditional news outlets continue to lose customers.

The L.A. Times and Philadelphia Inquirer may just now be beginning to realize that their products are broken, but the major TV outlets haven’t even gotten that far yet. Nor has the Democratic Party, by the way, but that’s a rant for another day.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Good News? What Good News?

Some might argue that the lack of "good news" stories from Iraq is because there is nothing good going on there. As far as the illegal-Halliburton-war-for-oil-imperialistic-occupation goes, the MSM would have you believe everything has been an unmitigated disaster. Arthur Chrenkoff has a stunning tally of the scope of negativity in the MSM Iraq coverage. Chrenkoff's bi-weekly columns noting good news from Iraq is a must read at opinionjournal.com and they show some of the great accomplishments our troops are making in rebuilding Iraq and fighting the terrorists.

Continuity of Government

We all have something to be thankful for as President Bush starts his second term. It seems that few people give much thought to how smooth the transition of power is in our nation. True, President Bush was re-elected in November, thus there was no real transition to make today. But with three former U.S. presidents attending today's inauguration, it seems that our leaders are safe from such calamities as this.

Our country is the greatest nation the world has ever seen. Although we have problems (and sometimes huge problems with elections), the fact that we don't have to worry about our candidates being poisoned by political foes or external forces influencing election results speaks volumes about the wisdom of James Madison and the other signers of The Constitution. And even when our leaders do bad things, like Nixon or Clinton, the process works.

Credibility Gap

Less than a full day after I railed against the MSM for being too slow, I link a Washington Times editorial from yesterday. Heh. Social security indeed faces a looming crisis. Everyone knows it, and we have for some time. I am 34 years old, and remember as a teenager my father's admonitions to save for my retirement. He knew then that whatever was left of social security (if anything) wouldn't be enough to retire on. So liberal claims that "there is no Social Security crisis" further damages their fractured credibility. Remember Senator Kerry's March 2004 remarks in Chicago. When Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid go on the Sunday talk shows with their "Pay no attention the looming crisis behind the curtain" nonsense, we know who the real crooked, lying group is.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Why I started this blog....

I'm still learning this whole blogging thing, but oh well. Here goes:

Check out what Hugh Hewitt said this morning about blogging, and you begin to understand why I wanted to start my own blog. Hugh says, "MSM is as slow as a glacier compared to the blogosphere when it comes to delivering content." I have been struck with the same thought several times in the past few weeks. As I take the dog for a walk, I pass the newspaper vending machines and see headlines like, "Tsunami Death Toll Reaches 60,000."

My immediate thought was, "Wow, I just read online how the death toll was over 100,000." The newspapers left in the rack are already obsolete by the time you pay for it! The guy next to you on the subway is reading a paper that is irrelevant before the ink is dry.

I watch cable TV news and listen to them report on scandals like the U.N. "Oil for Food" Program. A feeling of deja vu sets in since I have seen (usually days or sometimes weeks prior) the same information in the blogosphere.

I have no idea where this blog will take me. I am a bit of a news-junkie, and I'm also interested in the outdoors, music, college football, backgammon and other cultural phenomena. At some point I will touch on all these topics. Perhaps it will attract others with similar interests. Maybe someone will laugh every now and then by something I write. Hopefully, it will keep me plugged in to our world and I will continue to learn.

My Three Cents Starts

This is the kick off to my new blog, entitled "My Three Cents." Wish me luck!

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