Tuesday, September 30, 2008

YouTube tops media in explaining Wall St. mess

YouTube.com has again produced a gem in explaining a big mess in this country, and it proves that the American people really do understand the outrageous behavior on Wall Street.

The fella on this video does a better job of explaining the home mortgage and Wall Street mess than any TV talking head or expert I've seen. It's also proof that the bailout to be considered tomorrow by the Senate should not be passed.

Take a look at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT2Wg7lVYAs

Senate to vote tomorrow on bailout; Alexander and Corker will vote "aye" to protect fortunes

Congressional leaders and the Bush administration have set on a new strategy to pass a bailout of Wall Street fatcats: let the rich boys and girls club of the U.S. Senate vote first on it.

And it will tomorrow. The bailout will pass by a wide margin because the Senate has a lot of rich members, including Tennessee senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. They're going to vote to protect their stock portfolios over your pocketbooks. They're the 22nd and 15th richest people in Congress.

The New York Times reports tonight that the bailout legislation remains little changed from the one that failed Monday in the House. But a few extras -- that you will pay for -- have been added to the legislation to swing the needed 12 votes in the House.

The extras include tax breaks for businesses and the developers of alternative energy. But leaders won't reveal all the goodies ahead of time, so the people of this nation won't rise up again in righteous anger.

I don't know about you, but I'm still angry. The only hope for taxpayers and people against bailing out the rich is to keep pressure on your House members to keep those 12 votes against this unneccesary plan.

To read more, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/business/01bailout.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Dave Ramsey is at it again, giving bad stock advice

FOXNEWS' Bill O'Reilly had Dave Ramsey on his show tonight to give investment advice to viewers.

That's dangerous, and Ramsey should be ashamed of himself for giving a one-size-fits-all direction on investing.

To show how far behind Ramsey is in his advice, he still recommends investment in growth mutual funds for five to 10 years. That's despite reporting earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal showing that mutual funds have not recouped their losses since 2001's great stock market fall.

After recommending mutual funds, Ramsey told people to invest in real estate. He said it is a great time to buy a house.

Sure it is. But first you have to be able to sell your own besides qualify for a loan. Home values will continue to tumble this year and next.

The economy will not rebound until late 2009 to 2010. Yet Ramsey says everything in the economy is going along as usual. If you buy a house now, you'll be investing in something that will continue to lose value for the next 18 months.

He admitted not knowing or investing in individual stocks, which is a needed hedge in a bear market. He also does not invest in municipal bonds, which can be insured and deliver tax-free income each month. Their annual return can be 4 to 5 percent. Teresa Heinz Kerry keeps her fortune in Munis. Always look at how rich people protect their money to learn how to protect yours.

Ramsey is really wrong in his advice. But don't believe me. Get a certified financial planner and avoid taking any of Ramsey's advice on investing.

ESPN's Game Day brings the big time to Vandy

ESPN's College Game Day is coming to Nashville as Vanderbilt football emerges into the big time this Saturday.

It will be a great day for 'Dores fans. Watch out for the old 'ball coach Lee Corso as he gets the crowd going with his pre-game prediction.

This day at Vanderbilt University is well-deserved. The image of an institution known first for academics also succeeding on the gridiron should send an important message across college football.

The Auburn Tigers will be tough in this game of highly ranked teams. But look for a Vandy victory on and off the field Saturday at this city on a hill.

CNBC is trying to sell Wall Street bailout package

CNBC's talking head anchors are desperately trying to sell viewers on the need for Congress to pass a bailout package of Wall Street fatcats.

Don't buy their propaganda and keep calling your representatives and senators to oppose the plan that is being tweaked ever so slightly by negotiators for a Thursday vote.

This afternoon, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo conducted an interview with the biggest auto dealer in America. The poor fella in Fort Lauderdale said he was having 20 percent of his buyers turned down by banks for loans to purchase cars -- supposedly new ones.

The auto dealer -- whose profession ranks right up there in credibility with being a member of Congress or the news media -- said the rejection of 20 percent of his buyers for new car loans was representative of a tightening credit market affecting Wall Street. The guy says he hates to tell people "no". The remedy: pass the bailout.

But his reasoning and the bailout advocacy of Bartiromo fail on several counts.

First, like most Americans, I don't own a brand new car. I don't buy one because it immediately depreciates in value once you drive off the lot. It is not a good investment.

Second, more Americans over the past 25 years should have been told "no" when it came to cars they could not afford or homes that were beyond their income. That's one reason why we're in the current financial mess with $4.4 trillion in personal debt. And you don't correct that kind of conduct by bailing people out.

Third, auto dealers and home builders and financial institutions are going to have to adjust to a new world just like the rest of us. That means saying "no" to things you can't afford or should not do. That's what we do in my household.

Fourth, if the nation's largest auto dealer feels so bad for these potential buyers, why doesn't he loan them the money himself? I'm sure as the largest auto dealer that he has made a ton of money. If these buyers are so credit worthy, then he'll make his money back with interest and more sales. Why introduce taxpayers into the equation?

Finally, Bartiromo dug deep into her scare tactics today by warning that retailers will be laying off floor employees during the Christmas season because of a lack of a bailout. Retailers already were headed in that direction with forecasts projecting the worst holiday buying season in 15 years. Do some research, Maria.

CNBC should label all its anchors on the TV screen with "pro-bailout" under their names. Their advocacy for this unnecessary bailout of Wall Street is shameless. While it may impress their friends on Wall Street who they meet for dinner and martinis, their bias doesn't sell on Main Street.

Here, we know the truth and how to say "no", first in our own households. Wall Street and Congress need to learn the same.

If you'd like to tell Bartiromo and CNBC to just report the news and leave the bailout advoacy to the Bush administration and House Democrats, send a comment at https://register.cnbc.com/email/EmailSupport.jsp

Don't let Nashville say it's progressive to nation

Today I unveil a new logo for Nashville in anticipation of next week's presidential debate at Belmont University.

Nashville's elected and chamber of commerce officials are intent on selling Music City to the nation as a progressive place. But people who live here know better. It's just not everyone is willing to admit the truth.

Take this logo and e-mail it to your friends, fellow bloggers, blog sites and contacts in the news media. Make sure when the nation's focus is applied to Nashville, the full truth is seen -- particularly for the most vulnerable and voiceless.

Here are some talking points for the logo to make more people aware of Nashville's gross failures to treat every human being with dignity:

1) TORTURING PREGNANT WOMEN: The 287g deportation program was sold on a lie to the people here by Sheriff Daron Hall. The program has focused on undocumented immigrants and their families who have no criminal record. Crime has not fallen because of the program, which was its original intent.

Instead, there have been human rights outrages. The most prominent one was the arrest of a pregnant woman of Hispanic descent three days before her due date. What was her crime against humanity? She illegally passed another vehicle in the slow lane. She was jailed and her children handed over to a member of her family without her approval despite having written and photo ID of her residency in Nashville.

She was shackled during and after labor. Her newborn, American citizen son was taken from her. He was denied his mother's milk to build his immunity system. She was not allowed to express her milk, resulting in severe pain and an inability to sleep back in her jail cell. Mrs. Juana Villegas (DeLaPaz) was ultimately cleared of her traffic offenses.

Yet the deportation program continues in effect. And that's despite Nashville being governed by Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and Mayor Karl Dean. Cooper is a big backer of Sen. Barack Obama. The New York Times has reported on the outrage and The Boston Globe has editorialized against the program.

2) FAILED PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Nashville public schools are one year from being under state control for failure to meet standards under the No Child Left Behind Act. The city's nickname of the Athens of the South is a cruel joke for poor and minority children. The school district is under the control of the local chamber of commerce, which pushed and gained a rezoning plan that resegregates Nashville's public schools. A chamber member heads the school board.

3) RACIAL PROFILING/POLICE MISCONDUCT: The 287g program has resulted in the racial profiling of people of Hispanic descent in Nashville. That fact was proved by the recent arrest of a man waiting to go to work at a local laundromat. A Metro police officer approached him and asked for his ID. The man handed him a document that allowed him to get paid. That was not enough for the officer, who arrested the man and sent him on the path toward deportation.

Continuing reports have emerged of misconduct by Metro Police. One recent incident involved a young man who gave himself up to his church pastor and handed his belongings to his mother. The pastor took the young man to the police HQ for processing. Two weeks later, the pastor received a summons. He was called to be a witness for the young man who was accused on having drugs on him when processed. The pastor said that was ridiculous. Why would someone giving himself up still carry drugs with him? The pastor has many more stories of such incidents. The police department needs to be investigated by a permanent, civilian review board.

4) HARRASSING THE HOMELESS: Image, not action, is everything in Nashville. So that's why Metro is demolising a tent city set up the homeless. Where are these people to go? Out of sight, if they are going to stay in Nashville. In a city of more than 1,000 places of worship, this response to homelessnesss is shameful. If this outrage is allowed to continue, these places of worship should be turned into bowling alleys. That way, they would at least serve some visible purpose.

5) VANISHING HEALTH CARE: While a state issue, vanishing health care for the state's vulnerable citizens hits hard in Nashville. The state Capitol is located here, and Tennessee's governor is a former Nashville mayor. Yet the governor -- ironically also a Democratic -- has gutted the state's Medicaid program called TennCare. His latest cut was of 24-hour home nursing care for the permanently disabled. Their choice: either have a family member quit their job and stay home to provide care or go to a nursing home.

Meanwhile, the governor just gave $577 billion in corporate welfare to bring an auto plant to Chattanooga. What do fellow Democrats Mayor Karl Dean and Congressman Jim Cooper say about this outrage? Nothing.

So that's a starting list for the discussion with others and the media. There are more issues of unaddressed wrongs in Nashville.

Only a boycott can start efforts to address the gross abuse of the dignity of human beings in this city. Don't visit Nashville and spend your tourist dollars. Don't let your organizations bring their conventions here. And don't spend money on country music products.

Get Nashville's attention by getting out the word about its human rights abuses.

Karl Marx would be proud of the bailout effort

That's at least what one columnist appearing in the Canadian National Post newspaper wrote today.

He matches the bailout with Karl Marx's principles for establishing Communism over a nation. It is an educational read and takes a broader look at what is happening here beyond frantic TV talking heads and massive newspaper headlines.

One thing already has proved the talking heads wrong. The Dow is up almost 300 points in recovering from yesterday's 777-point drop. Some activity is ongoing in the credit markets. The nation has survived.

For a broader look at this crisis, go to: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2008/09/29/bailout-marks-karl-marx-s-comeback.aspx

Monday, September 29, 2008

Democrats, not Republicans, made big difference

While many political pundits want to concentrate on House Republicans for defeating the bailout of Wall Street fatcats, I believe 94 Democratic House members of integrity made the difference today for the people of this nation.

They voted against their party's leadership and against believing the Bush administration's manufacturing of another falsehood. These members will pay a political price enforced by the leadership. But they still stood for the people.

The best quote of the day -- as distributed by AP -- came from an Indiana congressman:

"We are now in the golden age of thieves. And where I come from we put thieves in jail, we don't bail them out." — Rep. Pete Visclosky, Democrat.

Well said. Bobby Kennedy would be proud. That's the Democratic Party I once loved.

Don't believe all the hype on financial crisis

Financial TV talking heads like Suze Orman tonight are peddling the propaganda to the American public that they will pay for the failure of the bailout of Wall Street fatcats.

They cry that the credit markets are frozen. What are small and middle-sized firms going to do to meet payroll and pay utilities? You're going to lose your job, they warn.

Answer their question with a question. What do you think real people do when they can't make ends meet?

They go into their savings, 401ks and even have fish frys and garage sales to pay for things; or they do without. Do these companies have cash on hand on their balance sheets? Do their owners have holdings they can draw from until things resolve themselves?

The talking heads say we Americans do not understand. We do. It's time for everyone to live like Main Street and quit acting like Wall Street can operate by different rules.

The same accountability demanded of us in our daily lives must now be applied to Wall Street. If there must be pain, let it be shared. And for a change, let any bailout be applied directly to the American people and not the fatcats.

Tennessee Supreme Court now majority women

Gov. Phil Bredesen has now created a female majority of justices on the Tennessee State Supreme Court -- a first for the court with today's appointment.

I've got to give Bredesen credit for the appointment and the distinction. It is a sign of progress. And I know from personal experience in the court system -- when my father was tried for an offense -- that women on juries are seen as more open, more apt to listen.

I hope that will be the same with the state supreme court, particularly when it comes to capital cases.

To read more from the state's best newspaper, The Knoxville News Sentinel, go to:


Tennessean raises its newsstand price 50 percent

The Tennessean at the newsstand -- other than on Sundays -- now costs 75 cents effective today.

That's a 50-percent increase over the usual price. I don't subscribe after reading Ms. Cheap's advice to save money by canceling my subscription and only buying the newspaper for 99 cents at Walgreens on Sundays. It has worked out well.

What extras are you going to get for paying more amid a recession that's turning deeper after today's 777-point drop in the Dow?

Let me know what extras you see in the days to come, and I'll publicize them so we can feel better about the price-hike at the newsstand.

What should you do with your money? First, don't listen to anyone on TV; get a financial planner

The cable TV networks are being dominated by people giving financial advice for viewers on what to do with their money in the wake of the 777-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrual Average.

Turn the channel.

Never take financial advice from someone on television.

First, everyone's situation is different. That's why you need a certified financial adviser. You need someone to talk to at length. It took five meetings before I re-invested our household's money. And I talked it over last Friday with my financial adviser when I decided to sell out of a big stock holding due to the bailout problems and generally poor economic data.

The market took its biggest hit today. It will drift down below 10,000 by the end of the year. Sen. Obama's election would drop things a bit further down.

If you took Dave Ramsey's advice 10 days ago on NewsChannel 5, you're not in good position financially when it comes to your investment in the market. I repeated Ramsey's advice to one of the principles in the financial brokerage firm I invest with.

He said Ramsey is good at telling people how to reduce debt, but the market is not his speciality. It's like fighting a disease, he said. You can't just give an antibiotic to one person and then prescribe it for another person who may have an entirely different ailment. That's where Ramsey went wrong with his advice 10 days ago that I blogged about. And NewsChannel 5 was wrong to allow him to air to offer such advice.

So turn off the TV and call for an appointment with a certified financial planner, NOT A BROKERAGE HOUSE. Don't act until you meet with someone with whom you can talk at length with and seek diversity in your investments in and out of the market.

Whining from Wall Street and Congress annoying, but Pelosi's political stock falls the farthest

I've never heard as many crybabies as this afternoon from Wall Street and Washington.

All the pitiful financial analysts on CNBC looked and sounded like a bride left at the altar. What happened to the groom with his big bailout check?

Wall Street is whining because there are no more easy commissions for brokerage houses as people take their money out of mutual funds and put their funds in cash. Brokerage houses are used to making money off your hard-earned funds whether you make money or not.

Now these folks in pinstripes and dress suits won't be able to go out to lunch as often, or dinner. They may have to live from paycheck to paycheck, just like people on Main Street. At least that's the assessment of my favorite checkout person at the local Publix. We talked about all the crying on Wall Street. And there was no sympathetic tone in our voices.

Economists now predict a deep recession since the bailout was not approved. Folks, we were headed to a deep recession anyway. You can't cheat economic cycles. This nation has been living high off the hog for a quarter century. Debt has risen from $1.1 trillion to $4.4 trillion. A day of reckoning was going to come. And it is now. That's the assessment of author Kevin Phillips, in a bravado analysis of this mess last week on Bill Moyers' PBS show.

Congressional leaders will try and push a new bailout plan or the same one on Thursday. They believe the big drop in the stock market proves their point. It doesn't. The Dow was headed down below 10,000 anyway.

Remember the biggest political mistake in modern times when President Gerald Ford said that Poland was free during a 1976 presidential debate? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today outdid him. In the closing remarks of the three hours of debate on the bailout, she blamed the nation's financial woes on right-wing ideology and eight years of the Bush presidency.

She was wrong in her assessment, generally and historically. Both parties and ideologies are to blame, particularly the Clinton administration. And when a politician as a supposed leader is trying to sell a bipartisan plan, he or she shouldn't go running down the other side moments before a vote. Neither should he or she bring legislation up for a vote when you don't have the votes. Pelosi made a big fool out of herself.

Pelosi's performance bodes ill for Sen. Barack Obama and his legislative agenda if he gets elected president. Almost 100 Democrats voted against her plan and leadership.

Congressional members on the far left did not vote for the package because -- among other things -- it incredibly put the secretary of the treasury beyond judicial oversight or correction in some of his decision with $700 billion in taxpayer money. My goodness, Congress was about to crown a king in America. On the far right, they objected to spending without any guarantee that the plan would work. Who will bail out America with $11.3 trillion in debt?

The American people won in today's House vote. And if they have to pay for it on Main Street, they'll suck it up as they always have -- and have been for the past several years.

This time, at least, there will be some Wall Street fatcats sharing the pain. Rep. Jim Cooper was the only Tennessee rep to vote for the bailout. Be sure to e-mail or call Cooper and your House member and tell them to vote against the next bailout plan.

Obama wrong about education of Latino children

The New York Times' education writers continue to do a stellar job in examining the education proposals of both major presidential candidates.

In its latest installement, it takes Sen. Barack Obama to task for his proposal for introductory bilingual education to Hispanic immigrant children. But the facts show, however, that bilingual education is not the way to boost achievement scores of these young ones.

I agree. I was involved with English language education in Metro Nashville schools for three years in effecting change in funding and class sizes. We were successful, thanks the Bush administration.

Contrary to what Tennessean columnist Phil Valentine wrote and did not correct, nearly all of the nation and Nashville does not offer bilingual education. And English as Second Language education is English immersion, not bilingual education as Valentine contended.

The Times points out that educators in a very successful California school district use English immersion for immigrant children. My cousin, when she taught religious education in California, only spoke English to her classes. When it was founded in 1929, one of the founding principles of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, stressed that people learn English for empowerment.

Throughout the presidential campaign, Obama has been less interested and educated in the matters that face Americans of Hispanic descent and non-citizen immigrants. If this nation gets it wrong in the education of immigrant children, then their futures are doomed. Obama should read and heed The Times' article.

To read more, go to: http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/the-bilingual-debate-english-immersion/

Bailout of Wall Street fails on first try as nearly 100 Dems in House defy their own leadership

The U.S. House of Representatives has initially rejected a bailout of Wall Street fatcats as congressional leaders of both parties failed to sway enough members to defy the will of the people.

The vote is now being held open beyond the 15-minute limit. The vote was not gavelled to count. It remains on the floor as the House goes to other business as leaders go behind the scenes to turn nine members on the "no" side to support the bailout. Stay tuned.

It was a sad, hypocritical moment in American politics for the bailout supporters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed eight years of the Bush administration for the nation's financial and economic troubles. That was a terribly wrong, partisan remark to make at such a critical moment. Besides, it was the Clinton administration that unleashed the greatest deregulation of Wall Street, something for which Pelosi supported.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer claimed that the American people had asked Congress to act today for the bailout. I guess he hasn't been answering his phone or reading his e-mails.

This kind of selective memory and damning denial are reasons why this 110-page piece of legislation initially failed. No supporter could definitely say this bailout would work. They only used the word "maybe".

This nation faces an even deeper recession, one that will produce the most severe economic conditions many of us have ever seen. No bailout plan can stop that. It would be better that the $700 billion in the bailout be given back to the taxpayers to survive the coming days that will stretch throughout 2009 and into 2010.

Congratulations, America! Stay on guard, however. This plan will be resurrected in some fashion, perhaps today, or maybe later this week.

Chamber symposium on poverty just another dodge by powers that be to effect change

My mentor, the Rev. Enoch Fuzz of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, was speaking to a small group of us earlier this month and cited the philosophy of teaching a person to fish instead of giving him or her a fish to lift their fortunes.

Fuzz said teaching a person to fish was a worthy philosophy. But what is that person supposed to do when there are fewer lakes and ponds from which to fish?

Indeed, one can see that truth in Nashville and in Tennessee, which has an unemployment rate of more than 6 percent.

Fuzz mentioned he had been invited to a chamber of commerce symposium on poverty. My mentor declined the invitation, saying he had been to a gathering about poverty the previous year, and the previous year and the previous year. What more is there to learn about poverty? he asked.

Nothing. LBJ told us more than four decades ago that the only effective way to fight the cycle of poverty destroying families is through education. Yet education locally has been under the grip of the chamber of commerce since at least when Phil Bredesen became mayor in 1992. Now the chamber has a member as head of the school board.

Can we expect change in the sorry state of Metro education for those innocents and their parents most at risk to poverty? Of course not.

The chamber's symposium on poverty last week was just a dodge, an effort to take attention away from where the real solution awaits effective action. The answer to poverty must come from public policy, not charitable organizations. Government is of the people, the human response to need.

Any meaningful symposium on poverty must address education, specifically more funding to effect change. Nashville needs Impact Fees on all new residential construction for single and multi-family homes. Williamson County, which attracts many Nashville residents for its schools, has raised more than $93 million for public education since 1987.

The chamber here does not want that levy in Nashville. So it holds symposiums restating the obvious and pointing to charitable organizations for their response. And enough African-American politicos buy into this dodge as long they can get titles and jobs from the powers that be.

I've been in Nashville housing projects since 1997. I've also been in its struggling schools, raising resources and building computer labs and instruments for a school band. I've been in the prisons and on death row. I've been in the courtrooms. I've been to the neighborhoods at night that black politicos and journalists will only visit briefly when they want something.

A symposium did not help or spur me. And a symposium each year will just provide cover for those who should be doing something.

That continuing wrong brings me back to the what's right, of my mentor Rev. Fuzz. He is a walking and talking symposium on poverty and injustice in our legal system. More importantly, he is someone who acts.

House to take up bailout of Wall Street at noon

The bailout of Wall Street fatcats will be taken up by the House of Representatives at noon CDT today.

Watch and see who is for the fatcats over the taxpayers. Congressional leaders are ridiculously claiming taxpayers are not on the hook here. And the supposedly new package still provides for a bailout of foreign banks.

Proponents cannot claim that the bailout package will work. They just claim a psychological benefit. Who knew that taxpayers were supposed to be the psychiatrist for the financial markets?

This bailout plan still stinks. You have until noon to call your representative and tell them that in no way should he or she vote for this bailout.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bailout supporters now claim plan won't cost you

In reaching another purported agreement to bail out Wall Street fatcats, GOP House leaders this afternoon have now joined Democratic congressional bigwigs in trying to sell out taxpayers.

The House will vote on the plan tomorrow. It probably will pass with Republicans on the far right and Democrats on the far left voting against the bailout. The big question mark will remain in the Senate, where the minority party has the power to filibuster. That takes 60 votes to stop. The Dems don't have the votes to stop it.

Sen. John McCain, however, said this morning that he would support the bailout but needed to look at the language. He probably could bring over enough Republicans to stop a filibuster, particularly Tennessee Sens. Corker and Alexander. They are the 15th and 22nd richest members of the Congress. So they'll be most interested in protecting their stock portfolios from a large loss of value due to the lack of a bailout.

As it now stands, legislation that the American people overwhelming oppose will be passed into law ... unless perhaps you turn up the heat on your representatives once more.

McCain cites Marsha, Marsha, Marsha on This Week; will he side with haters in White House?

Everytime I start liking Sen. John McCain, he goes and says something that sets me back to square one.

This morning on This Week, he thanked GOP House members who had educated him on their objections to the bailout of Wall Street hogdogs. He mentioned several reps and ended with the name "Blackburn" as in Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.

Blackburn is a hater when it comes to people who look like me. And unfortunately, McCain is surrounded by a lot of haters in his political party and of his ideology.

Conversely, I'm not a great fan of Sen. Barack Obama as an experienced leader. He is much more of a politican with substanital rhetoric, and he stooped to great lows to stop Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign.

I like a lot of the people who support Obama. But some Democrats like Rep. Jim Cooper have remained silent during the heinous 287g deportation program in his congressional district that includes Nashville. He and others who lack simple integrity are a disgrace to the Democratic Party of Bobby Kennedy. And he would have let them know it, too.

So making an endorsement in this presidential race is quite difficult. Will McCain separate himself from the haters like Marsha, Marsha, Marsha if he makes the White House? Will he tell Rush Limbaugh to go jump?

Will Obama call out frauds like Cooper if he gets into the White House? Will he have any more interest in the nation's failed immigration policy than he has woefully shown during the campaign?

There may be no answers before it is time to vote Nov. 4. For many of us, this presidential election will present a difficult choice.

An interesting endorsement of Sen. John McCain

YouTube is an amazing vehicle of communication for this very visually-oriented world.

And one of the most watched presentations today is the following video endorsement of Sen. John McCain for president. It is not unique because of the race of the person in the video. It is interesting for its rant against liberalism and its impact upon black families.

I don't agree with everything the man is saying. But I find it provocative in terms of stimulating needed political discussion.

I haven't decided on whom I will endorse for president. Still, I am open to being swayed.

See what you think about this man's rant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxhYampIl7A

Vanderbilt rises to 19th in nation; biggest game in a long time looms Saturday with No. 13 Auburn

The Vanderbilt Commodores made good use of a weekend off, rising in the polls to 19th in the nation and getting a close look at what appears to be a very beatable Auburn Tiger team.

Auburn was given a gift of a victory by UT yesterday, as its offense was shut down for almost all the second half. Its only first down came with less than two minutes in the game and sealed the victory over the struggling Volunteers.

This Saturday's game between the No. 19 'Dores and No. 13 Tigers should be a featured game nationally, significantly boosting the image of the Vandy program. Ole Miss' upset of Florida in Gainsville throws the whole SEC race wide open and a Vandy win Saturday would start talk of conference title hopes, not just a bowl appearance.

The 'Dores may be the best kept secret in the SEC and the nation. But after Saturday, Vandy football may well become the biggest gridiron discovery since Gatorade.

Recruiting wise, the game could have a significant, local impact. A lot of Brentwood's best athletes go to Auburn. A 'Dores victory could keep some of these athletes home to play for a contending college program while receiving one of the nation's best educations at this city of a hill.

Put some new shock absorbers on the band wagon, and let the hype begin!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nashville area ranks poorly as safe place to live; numbers show Sheriff Hall continues to lie

A new report issued today by Farmers Insurance Companies Group showed the Nashville area as the 307th most secure place to live out of 379 Metro areas across the United States.

Nashville's ranking is a drop of 54 places from last year's study and ironically comes from examination of crime data from over the same period as Davidson County's heinous 287g deportation program.

Sheriff Daron Hall claimed the 287g program was going to make Nashville a safer place. It was implemented more than a year and a half ago. Instead, the Farmers Insurance report shows Nashville is less safe. And that data matches long-term research of immigrant conduct released earlier this year by Robert J. Sampson, chairman of the Department of Sociology at Harvard University.

His work, examining crime data in Chicago from 1990 to 2004, showed Hispanic immigrants had lower crime rates than native born individuals. Why? They had to stay out of trouble and not draw attention to themselves to stay in the country.


Metro Nashville even ranks below Philadelphia in terms of safety for residents. Knoxville ranked 276th.

The numbers of this new study don't lie, even if Sheriff Daron Hall does.

Go to http://www.bestplaces.net/docs/studies/secure_list.aspx

Newman followed scripture command in life

The death of actor Paul Newman removes not only a great talent from this world but also a marvelous role model for people who have been blessed with much.

Newman through his career earnings and grocery products supported so many charitable and good public policy causes across the country for decades. He followed the scripture exhortation that from those given much, much is expected.

From just looking at him, he was blessed with great looks. But he was also blessed with a mate for life, fellow actor Joanne Woodward. One can only imagine the pain she now feels in having someone so integral to her life temporarly removed. Our prayers should be with her for consolation and strength.

Paul Newman was a massive figure on and off the screen. He did not wear his faith on his sleeve or try to convince people with words. He was an actor, and he acted in making life better for those less fortunate.

This world will miss his philantrophic leadership and his example of faith that should be modeled by everyone.

May God now send his angels to greet this great man's soul and usher him into paradise where Lazarus suffers no more and the Lord's perpetual light shines forever and ever, amen.

McCain the clear winner in last night's debate

Sen. John McCain was dazzling last night with more than a quarter century of experience in foreign policy and global travelling, making Sen. Barack Obama look and sound like Gov. Sarah Palin's more knowledgeable brother in the presidential debate.

McCain routed Obama in foreign policy questions, offering answers of been there and done that to Obama's rhetoric from think tanks.

On the economy, McCain was surprisingly strong and Obama unsurprisingly evasive. Obama refused to endorse any bailout plan because he had not seen the language of the legislation. Yet earlier in the day, Senate Majority Harry Reid was touting the bailout plan as based on Obama's four principles for any bailout.

McCain struck a chord with voters in touting the need to cut spending and for Washington to operate on the same standard of living as the American people. Obama danced around the question of what programs -- that he has been offering the American people the past year -- he would have to cut or delay.

Later in the debate, Obama tried to turn to his strength over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in that he did not favor going into the Iraq war as McCain and she did. But the Republican presidential nominee effectively turned that point on Obama, saying that the proposition before the next president is not who supported what back when but how will U.S. policy in Iraq be conducted in the future.

As for Afghanistan, Obama tried to take McCain to task for pointing to Iraq instead of that country where action has heated up. But McCain again used his experience of being there in Afghanistan and assessing the situation himself. Obama has just been to the country. And Obama heads a subcommittee that has Afghanistan in its oversight.

Again, Obama is just a bit more knowledgeable on foreign policy than Palin. But she has the advantage of learning from McCain. I don't know who is instructing Obama, but he or she is doing a poor job.

On the Russian invasion of Georgia, McCain scored points on Obama's initial weak response to the invasion that sought to score political points by citing a McCain campaign official as a former lobbyist for victim nation. And McCain, who has met Vladamir Putin, showed how he differed from the president in his assessment of the Russian leader.

"When I looked into his eyes, I saw KGB," McCain said.

I am convinced from listening to McCain that he would not commit U.S. troops to any theater without a plan for withdrawl as well as attack. He has served and he knows the risks. And he knew enough to oppose the president and his strategy in Iraq, resulting in the surge that has successfully lessened the violence and deaths in the nation.

Even though he was the clear winner last night, McCain's campaign still is not going to surge ahead of Obama. McCain still is the underdog. But his campaign is on the move. He returns to Washington to work on the bailout plan. And what happens in the next few days from there could well determine the election.

All that Obama can do is sit and wait.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why didn't House Dems pass bailout when they had votes on Monday? It's sickeningly political

House Democratic leaders had the votes last Monday to pass their generous $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street hogdogs, but they didn't. Why?

Because Dems wanting to pick up seats in the general election did not want to be stuck as solely backing a Bush administration plan that had no guarantee of correcting what was wrong. They wanted GOP House members also on the hook. And now they have balked, because their constituents along with those of the Dems are dead set against this bailout.

Now Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., says he expects a deal by Sunday. Good luck. I don't believe he is going to get it. GOP House members know the bailout is a loser at the polls in November. Economic data this week has been very weak on home prices and GDP growth, showing that once a bailout would be passed, the economy would still go into the tank. Earnings worries will grip the market next week and push stock prices down regardless.

A private bailout of Wall Street is being pushed by House GOP members. But this group of politicos is not the most virtuous bunch. I'm equally suspicious of their efforts.

Some financial-types now are talking about how the markets could get along without a bailout. That's good. There are going to be big layoffs -- plan or not. Twenty-five years of excess and deregulation will not be corrected by any plan.

America will have to tough it out.

Palin should explain herself on cutting rape kits

Even hockey moms get raped.

But if they lived in Wasilla, Alaska, when Sarah Palin was mayor, they would have had to pay for their own rape kits and forensic examinations.

That's difficult to believe of any female elected official, to be so uncaring of her own gender. But that is the truth about the GOP's vice presidential nominee.

Someone in the news media needs to question Palin about this matter instead of trying to trip her up like Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson on the Bush Doctrine or Sen. John McCain's lack of a record in regulating the financial industry. Her budget cuts of rape kits and forensic examins are representative of a shockingly incompassionate side.

Without further explanation, Palin does not represent progress for women. She represents regression of a most savage kind that may pass where you shoot and skin a moose but not across a nation that should show the utmost compassion to victims of rape.

To read more, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/26/opinion/26fri4.html?_r=1&em&oref=slogin

McCain to debate but why; he looks unfocused

Sen. John McCain will debate tonight at Ole Miss despite the failure of all sides in the negotiations for a bailout of Wall Street fatcats to reach any consensus.

McCain's decision kind of makes him look scatter-brained and unfocused. There is no deal in Washington, and it's not even close. So why did he announce Thursday that he was suspending his campaign and going to Washington to forge a compromise? He said he would not debate without a deal.

McCain should remain in Washington. But perhaps he sees a political advantage in debating tonight because it is on his strength of foreign policy.

Both candidates have been most disappointing amid this economic crisis. Is there not a real leader in this nation whom the people can turn to and find consensus in shared values and principles?

Putin/Chavez partnership is big trouble for us

The reach across 5,000 miles by Russian Prime Minister Putin to Venezuelan President Chavez to provide nuclear help has the makings of big foreign policy trouble for our nation.

Chavez has been a frequent critic of this nation under the leadership of George W. Bush while offering a hand of help to our nation's poor with low-cost heating oil.

El presidente also has a lot of clout in Latin America. He is the new Castro as far as a destabilizing force. His retention of his office was made possible by fraud in the election process, despite the results being sadly stamped with approval by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Putin is pissed by the missile shield for NATO nations surrounding the western side of his nation. So with Chavez, he is making trouble for us in our backyard.

Should our nation's leaders be talking tough with Putin, instead of Bush's "I have looked into his soul" and he is a good guy approach? Should our nation's leaders be talking with Chavez, instead of ignoring and stonewalling him?

Something must change in our approach to both nation's leaders, or we'll face a growing threat on our shores.

Memphis Schools talk of progress and changes

While Nashville public schools continue to wander aimlessly ahead of state control, education and business leaders in Memphis are working toward further progress -- now starting with making sure employees are doing their best.

Again, if Metro Nashville officials want to know what to do about the sorry state of public education for all children here, they should simply drive three hours west to Memphis and look and listen.

To read about a progressive city and how it educates its children, go to:

Corker and Alexander protecting portfolios first

Members of Tennessee's congressional delegation are clueless about the degree of anger many folks here have about Washington passing any kind of bailout plan of Wall Street fatcats.

Today's story in the state's best newspaper -- The Knoxville News Sentinel -- is espcecially telling when it comes to the disconnet of Tennessee's two U.S. senators. They want a bailout by the end of the weekend.

And why shouldn't they. Bob Coker and Lamar Alexander are the 15th and 22nd richest members of Congress. A bailout plan would personally enrich them and their stock portfolios. If there is a not a deal by the market's open on Monday, my financial adviser says the Dow, S&P and NASDAQ could fall like after 9/11. And that would make our two senators a little poorer.

So now you know why Congress is so urgent to act, along with Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- who is richer than Corker and Alexander.

To read more of the Tennessee congressional disconnect, go to: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/sep/26/some-tennessee-have-big-concerns-about-bailout-pla/

Besides $700 billion bailout, Dems want another $56 billion for auto industry and your household

Before even going to the White House yesterday with their purported compromise Wall Street bailout plan, Democratic leaders in Congress unveiled another $56 billion boost in the federal deficit.

This milking of the taxpayers included $7.5 billion in a $30 billion bailout plan for the auto industry. The rest would come in small economic stimilus checks for your home before Christmas -- a buying season that's predicted to be the worst in 15 years.

The Bush administration already proposes to raise the nation's debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion with its dead bailout plan. Adding just another $56 billion for the Dems is no big deal, they think.

CBSNews and Katie Couric asked a great question 10 days ago. After our government finishes bailing out every industry, who is going to bail out our government?

Perhaps the Chinese will buy up America, and Communism -- thought dead after the Berlin Wall fell -- will have ultimately triumphed over capitalism and our way of life. Can you hear Castro laughing?

History's a bitch, ain't it?

Two things you can count on today; get involved

Amid all the uncertainties of the financial and political markets today, here are a two things you can count on:

1) There will be no bailout deal reached for Wall Street fatcats. All sides are very far apart. There will be no vote on any legislation.

2) Sen. John McCain will not be at tonight's presidential debate; he will be leading in Washington and fulflling his responsibilities as a senator.

After that, it's all too difficult to tell. Live in the moment.

The very good news in all of this mess is that it leaves time for you to get involved. You and your university classmates should be marching. You should protest this bailout and recommend your own ideas that come from real lives.

Consider your role. There is still time. If you are going to form a protest, let me know and I'll publicize it and forward it to the city's media outlets.

This is your country; fight for it.

It's your future.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Leno finds a laugh in bailout mess

In describing the current bailout mess, Jay Leno tonight says it's like one of those fast and loud talking TV ads for a bad product:

"Act now! Just 10 easy payments of $70 billion each. But you have to act now!"

Leave it to O'Reilly to come to wrong conclusion

Conservatives led by TV entertainer Bill O'Reilly are trying to sell a revisionist history of why this nation is in a financial crisis.

They blame the Democrats for pushing more home lending to areas of communities filled with people redlined by banks to avoid making home mortgages.

O'Reilly, aided by Laura Ingraham, said the policy was aimed at poor people making $20,000 a year who had no skills and no education. The FOXNEWS darling, who has tried to sell himself as a person who pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, made his insulting analysis on tonight's program.

If you have no skills and education, you're not going to be making $20,000 a year. Minimum wage is only going to guarantee you about $12,000 a year. That banks redlined communities of people of color from receiving any kind of lending is fact. That something was needed to force banks to finally consider these people for the American Dream is fact, too.

The change in federal policy did not require banks to make loans that were not properly collateralized, nor offer adjustable rate mortgages that consumers did not realize would ultimately cost their household incomes more than they could afford.

Yes, Democrats do have big blame to accept in the current financial crisis. Clinton administration deregulation allowed financial institutions on Wall Street and Main Street to get together in creative, fast-profit deals.

But favoring the financial industry with top-down socialism began with the Reagan administration and the huge bailout of the savings and loan associations. And Sen. John McCain was involved in those bailouts.

O'Reilly, who supports the mother of all bailouts, is just peddling the same propaganda -- not only about his own upbringing but good people struggling to climb up the economic ladder.

Inside White House meeting: Drama and Obama

Politico.com has a great blow-by-blow account of the afternoon meeting in the White House that left the supposed compromise bailout deal for Wall Street all but dead.

The account includes a strong moment of intervention by Sen. Barack Obama, who has accused Sen. John McCain of introducing presidential politics into the bailout negotiations. The account, however, shows McCain to have been mostly silent in the meeting and also supporting a recitation of facts by bailout booster, Rep. Barney Frank.

The account is a worthy read for all the weaknesses and personalities involved in the negotiations in Washington -- and the lameness of a very lame duck president. With these dynamics, tomorrow promises to be one of the most memorable days in American political history.


Deal dead; there never was one, McCain says

Congressional Democratic leaders had their purported, compromise bailout deal for Wall Street fatcats blow up in their faces this afternoon after an angry meeting with GOP representatives before the president in the White House.

Crazily, Dems are siding with George W. Bush, just as they did with his bogus Iraq invasion plan. Don't they ever learn? No.

Sen. John McCain said this evening that there never was a deal. So we can only guess who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have been talking to the past several days. Wall Street fatcats had been expecting a favorable vote tomorrow morning. Now there is no legislation.

Democrats and Sen. Barack Obama call McCain's presence in Washington as a political stunt. Today's daily Gallup poll shows some voters think differently. McCain was tied with Sen. Barack Obama in the poll at 46 percent. Earlier this week, a Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Obama up by nine percentage points.

There will be no deal reached tomorrow. There will be no deal over the weekend. And both parties will leave Washington pointing fingers at the other.

Then, the free markets will be left to their own devices, which is what free markets are supposed to do. And guess what happened tonight? The faltering Washington Mutual savings and loan -- which has been dragging down the financial markets for the past three weeks -- was acquired by JP Morgan. That's what free markets should do.

Congressional debate over weekend will show moral bankruptcy of federal bailout legislation

Congress -- not the gridiron -- will hold the most dramatics this weekend.

House Republicans are not going to vote for supposed compromise bailout legislation for Wall Street fatcats, but that doesn't matter since they are in the minority. But the Senate will hold the package at hostage, as Republican senators led by Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby will filibuster this legislation.

Thank goodness.

There also may be nothing to debate. Congressional leaders who met with the president refused to talk to reporters. Sen. Richard Shelby said 20 minutes ago that there is no deal, according to CNBC.

This situation seems to be going from extreme to extreme. If there finally is a deal, Democrats don't have the 60 votes to stop a filibuster by Senate rules. And Sen. Harry Reid is a weak Senate leader.

Enter Sen. John McCain. He will face a big decision -- support the filibuster or round up the needed GOP votes to help the Democrats stop the delaying tactic.

The truth that has most of the American people outraged by this plan is its foundation. It is not based on any moral principles -- those behind the founding of this country.

The American people are right. I hope that Sens. Bunning and Shelby and their colleagues will prevail. And I hope Sen. McCain will put America first and not oppose their actions.

BREAKING NEWS: Compromise reached on bailout plan, but it won't do a thing to stop recession

Congressional leaders have reached a compromise on the bailout of Wall Street fatcats that would deliver corporate welfare in three stages to see whether the plan is working than immediately fulling funding it.

In addition, Democrats are taking an economic stimulus plan to Wall Street to make the medicine of the bailout go down easier in the throats of taxpayers. That will just add to the already mushrooming deficit, which now is set to a debt ceiling of $11.3 trillion.

Any bailout plan must not be pasesd. The economy -- which has been bolstered by riotous living of the the past quarter century -- must go through a deep recession that will border a depression. You can't buy your way out of economic cycles. Any bailout plan will severely weaken the dollar, forcing this economy further into retreat and Wall Street into more volatility.

Even the Great Depression did not end because of FDR's programs. It ended because of WWII and the demand for armanents from the manufacturing industry.

The president last night finally acknowledged the nation is in an a recession, something he denied most recently in the summer. So why should anyone trust what he says now.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading the Democrats. That fact still does not make the bailout right. Democrats get the most campaign contributions from Wall Street fatcats. So Pelosi is just protecting the goose that lays the golden egg for her party.

There is no reason to have any confidence in any bailout plan that will come from Washington. Economic cycles cannot be avoided. We are in a deep recession, and it is going to stay that way for the next 12 months or longer.

Time to build grassroots opposition to bailout

Robert Lovato, a fine writer, thinker and opponent of the federal bailout of Wall Street fatcats, has sent out the following advice to regular people on Main Street on how to get involved in stopping Congress from adopting top-down socialism for free markets.

Here is his note and direction:

In what many of of us hope will be a historic show of popular force, there will be small and large protests of the Bush Bailout organized throughout the entire country today.

You can find or organize your own event by going here. http://truemajority.wiredforchange.com/event/distributedEventCalendar.jsp You can also see a partial list here. http://truemajority.wiredforchange.com/event/distributedEv And, lastly, you can read more about it at Wired magazine. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/09/outrage-online.html Hope to see you somewhere!

My sense is that this will be pretty historic, needs our support and will grow-and needs to grow.

Lavato is pointing us in the right direction. It was my honor last night to attend a reception at the home of Vanderbilt professor Bruce Barry for two of the most effective political bloggers in the nation. They have just finished a book on their efforts in how they became political players locally and nationally. I'll blog more on them in the next few days.

As Nelson Mandela once said: "Our greatest fear is not that we are powerless. Our greatest fear is that we are more powerful that we've ever imagined."

Join the protests, form your own, and feel the power.

Clinton says McCain acting in good faith

Sen. John McCain's request for a delay in tomorrow's first presidential debate was something done out of good faith since McCain wanted more debates in the first place, former President Bill Clinton said this morning.

Clinton is right. And the only congressional leader asking McCain to stay away from Washington and bailout negotiations is Senate leader Harry Reid, who has been the weakest Senate Majority Leader in my memory.

McCain will stop all his campaigning today to go to Washington to participate in the negotiations. And he is needed. Republicans are balking at the bailout and do not trust the Democratic leaders. The Senate will need 60 votes to pass any bailout over the threat of a filibuster. McCain is going to be needed to get GOP support for any plan.

That's leadership, and Sen. Barack Obama has failed the test by saying tomorrow's debate should go on. And Obama's stay-at-home strategy is representative of his lack of clout on Capitol Hill as a senator in crafting any compromise on any legislation in his few years there.

Clinton's indirect endorsement of McCain's action is going to help the senator's efforts in Washington and overall in the presidential polls. His America First motto holds true.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bush fails to convince;Gingrich calls plan appalling

President George W. Bush tonight failed to make a convincing case to the American people on passage of his bailout plan for Wall Street fatcats, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called the plan "appalling".

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee John McCain will meet with Bush and congressional leaders tomorrow morning about the bailout. That meeting, however, will produce no consensus.

McCain has said he will stop campaigning tomorrow and stay in Washington to work with congressional leaders on a compromise. Obama rejected a request from McCain to cancel Friday night's debate on national security and come to Washington to work on the bailout over the weekend.

On Hannity and Colmes tonight on FOXNEWS, Gingrich called Bush's plan "socialism", and said Obama should join McCain in Washington with negotiations.

Obama has benefitted in national polls from the bailout and economic troubles. A Washington Post/ABC News poll show the Democrat with a nine-point lead. So his interests apparently are not with resolution of the nation's financial troubles. That's hard to say. But Obama's rejection of McCain's request is a failure in leadership.

And his polling advantage may not be as big as he believes. A new LA Times/Bloomberg poll shows Obama with only a four-point lead.

McCain will benefit in voters' eyes by being in Washington to work out a compromise across party lines. Obama will be hurt by continuing his campaign.

To read more on the poll, go to:


BREAKING NEWS: Obama says debate goes on

Sen. Barack Obama says that the presidential debate Friday will go on despite Sen. John McCain's request to delay it so both candidates can go to Washington and help craft a deal for Congress to consider about Wall Street's troubles.

"It is my belief that this is time the American people need to hear from someone in 40 days who will be responsible for this mess," Obama said.

Obama said he had contacted McCain first this morning so the two could issue a joint statement of principles about the current crisis.

Obama said he and McCain agreed that taxpayers should be treated as investors in the bailiout legislation and receive full reimbursement at a later date. He also said they agreed on direct help to mortgage holders.

Obama said the risk of doing nothing risks catastrophe. He added that he and McCain agreed on issuing a joint statement of agreed principles to send to Congress.

McCain makes new, dramatic move on economy

Sen. John McCain asked this afternoon for a delay in Friday's presidential debate so he can go back to Washington, D.C., to build a consensus on how to address the nation's economic future against the backdrop of Wall Street troubles.

The move is a dramatic and needed one. And it should be a note of assurance to every citizen that perhaps something other than the current bailout plan will finally be considered by Congress. McCain also will suspend his campaigning after an address tomorrow before the Clinton Global Initiativve.

The Obama campaign has not responded to McCain's request to delay the debate which is supposed to address foreign policy. Obama is in Tampa Bay preparing for the debate.

His response will tell voters what kind of leader he will be.

To read more, go to:


Let free market forces resolve market problems

The question of the day from members of Congress for federal financial bigwigs pushing a bailout of Wall Street fatcats was simple:

"If Warren Buffett can investment $10 billion in a struggling financial institution, why not wait on other big money individuals to buy other bad assets at a bargain?"

Buffett -- with his Berkshire Hathaway stock fund -- made the purchase yesterday. At this moment, his stock is up by almost $139 per share. A share of his stock trades at more than $4,000.

There certainly are plenty of other billionaires out there in this nation and around the world who are waiting for all the bad debt on Wall Street to get cheap enough to purchase a big share of these financial institutions. What happened to letting free market forces take care of free markets?

Merryll Lynch was bailed out by another financial institution, and 10,000 ML jobs were saved. The Fed warns that there will be 100 bank failures if Congress does not act soon. When I was an economics reporter in Oklahoma during the energy industry boom and bust times of the 1980s, the state suffered 100 bank failures from oil and gas assets that went bad. I learned how to read bank financial statements like a board of director.

Guess what? Oklahoma's economy survived. Now it is doing well as the price of gas continues to be high. And Oklahoma City just attracted an NBA team, putting the city on the major league map.

The federal hard heads don't have a good answer to the question at the beginning of this post. That makes me think that allowing people like Buffet buy up all these bad assets and shares of these companies is the best route to go for the nation.

Gas problems easing in Williamson County but there are some very important lessons to learn

The noontime continues to be the salvation time for Williamson County drivers, and now there are no more lines snaking into gas stations in the Cool Springs and Highway 96 areas.

There are, however, some lessons to be learned from the gas shortage, from my interviews of county residents.

* Don't allow vehicles with at least a half of a tank of gas fill up.

* Don't allow drivers to fill up their tanks and then their portable tanks in the beds of their trucks.

* Don't waste taxpayer money by using police to rectify traffic problems around the stations. These businesses should have their own employees out there making matters easier for drivers and enforcing rules on topping tanks and filling portable ones.

Government doesn't need to pass laws. Businesses just need to follow common sense and offer the best service to their customers, particularly in a time of crisis.

Obama opens up nine-point lead over McCain

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Sen. Barack Obama's lead over Sen. John McCain growing as confidence in the economy falls.

The nine-point lead is formidable and Obamaa's performance in this Friday's debate could send him into double-digits over McCain with about five weeks to go. The economy is going to struggle for at least the next 12 months, so the issue will not go away.

McCain's only chance is to come out forcefully against any bailout plan in the Friday debate for Wall Street and ask that any money be directed right to the people with the bad mortgages. That populist -- and correct -- push would turn voters and address their anger over this situation. Congress at the earliest will not vote on any plan until a week from today.

McCain had better take a definite side. His record of being in Washington for the past 25 years as lawmakers deregulated the financial industry hurts his credibility.

If he doesn't come out againt the current bailout plan, McCain's chances to win in November will fall. But don't count him out. National security could top voter minds if something happens on the terrorist front or Israel bombs Iran. In addition, North Korea now is no longer cooperating with the world community to dismantle its nuclear program. One missile test could put that nation back in the headlines.

To read more about the poll, go to:


Why has media not picked up Dobbs' story?

The nation's mainstream news media has extensively reported on two Franklin, TN., men who have created a racist product called Obama Waffles.

The charicatures of Sen. Barack Obama are something out of the Old Jim Crow South. And guess who got caught buying the product on cell phone camera: CNN's super famous anchor Lou Dobbs.

The story has been reported all over the Hispanic blogosphere. It confirms for those of us who are Americans of Hispanic descent that Doobs' anti-immigrant rant is built out of his personal bigotry.

Yet CNN hasn't reported it. It sure doesn't want to hurt its viewership. FOXNEWS hasn't reported it since it agress with Dobbs' anti-immigrant rant. But where is MSNBC? Surely Keith Olbermann can go after someone else on political TV other than Bill O'Reilly.

Perhaps the lack of coverage of Dobbs' bigtory is indicative of a good ol' boy system in the mainstream media, most led by white folks who are more interested in getting invited to dinner parties instead of covering all the news. And this system does not respect this nation's Hispanic presence, evidenced by the lack of Latino voices on TV political show panels.

CNN does feature two Hispanic voices on its secondary political panel. But both experts are Republicans, which is contrary to the continuing trend in Hispanic voting that goes two-thirds to Democrats.

If you've seen anything in mainstream media on Dobbs' and the Waffles, please let me know so I can eat my words -- with syrup or not.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Blackburn says Sarah Palin qualified in foreign policy because son is in the military; it'd be funny if she wasn't serious

FOXNEWS' Bill O'Reilly made "Congressman" Marsha Blackburn look more foolish than she already is tonight with tough questioning on why Gov. Sarah Palin won't take any questions yet on foreign policy.

O'Reilly pointed out Palin's dog and pony show visit to the United Nations and meetings with the heads of state for Afghanistan and Colombia. O'Reilly said that politicians and candidates usually take questions after their photo opportunities with foreign leaders. Palin was kept away from reporters.

Blackburn was pitted against Carolyn Heldman, who has a PhD in politics and teaches at a California college. And Heldman said that Palin was being kept from reporters -- even now with just six weeks until election day -- because of her gross inexperience in foreign policy.

Here comes Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, who cites -- as part of Palin's foreign policy experience -- that the Alaska governor has a son in the military.

Wow. She actually said that.

So that fact makes Palin qualified to lead the free world if something happens to Sen. John Mcain in the White House?

"Congressman" Blackburn thinks so. Perhaps "thinks" is too kind of a word to attach to Marsha, Marsha, Marsha's comment.

Secret of gas shortage revealed

I was buying some talapia this evening from the good man behind the seafood counter at Publix when he spoke of his hope of having enough gas to make it home after his shift was over.

We talked about all the craziness. And then he spoke of how he discovered last night in Spring Hill about why gas was in such short supply.

A fella next to him in a pickup truck not only was filling up his tank but three other five-gallon portable tanks in the pickup bed.

So now we know. Gas stations could reduce the shortage problem by forbidding drivers from filling up anything but their own gas tanks -- unless they have a business license requiring fuel for machinery.

Ask presidential candidates to award Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Medal of Honor once in White House

There is precedent for a president to overrule a decision by his secretary of defense and award the Medal of Honor.

And that's what we need to push for -- not from President Bush who has shown a lack of integrity on so many issues -- but from the new president who takes office in January in the case of Marine hero Sgt. Rafael Peralta.

Peralta, already wounded in the head and body, pulled an enemy grenade to his body and saved five members of his team. That's what a team leader is supposed to do -- make sure his comrades get back home alive. And Sgt. Peralta's did.

They testified to his heroism and convinced a military board considering him for the Medal of Honor. Even President Bush cited Peralta's heroism at a Memorial Day event in 2005.

Yet now the secretary of defense has rejected the Medal of Honor for Peralta. It is a travesty. This outrage must not be allowed to stand.

No petition will convince the Bush administration. But if you come across the presidential candidates over the next six and a half weeks in your community, bring up Sgt. Peralta and his heroism and the need to award him the Medal of Honor. Perhap they will commit to do the right thing once in the White House.

To read more, go to:


It's time to tell lawmakers to consider new plan

The Bush administration is pushing its $700 billion to $1 trillion bailout of Wall Street fatcats as the only thing to do or cry "havoc" and let loose the dogs of economic ruin.

That's a lie; it's Iraq deja vu.

There are other options -- the most promising one that creates a federal entity to direct all this money directly to homeowners in trouble. At least that way, taxpayers can realize some benefit. I also like an idea of an economic stimulus to people holding mortgages and households making, for instance, $130,000 a year or less.

You can read about these viable options from The New York Times. Get educated and call your congressional representatives. Go to:


Bernanke kills bailout with failure to apologize

Mark the time and date: 12:07 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2008.

That was when Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke showed the American people that he first represents the interests of Wall Street. Taxpayers, homeowners and the nation's most vulnerable be damned.

In questioning by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown on the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke was asked if Wall Street should apologize to the American people. The senator's question was prefaced with the fact that the households income of many people around Cleveland -- of $40,000 to $70,000 a year -- was not even enough to cover the country club membership dues of the fatcats being bailed out.

Bernanke stepped around the question, trying to rationalize away who does business on Wall Street and how. The senator asked that his question be answered. Bernanke continued his despicable dance around the obvious.

That moment should be remembered. It showed that the bailout is not to help you and me but to continue a heroin-addicated-like pattern of historically propping up an industry that does not deserve it.

The American people must now allow this bailout plan to pass.

Bush's quick invasion of Iraq duplicated in bailout

It is a matter of trust, and that's where Bush administration officials testifying now before Congress fail the test.

The president and his officials have no credibility in convincing the representatives of the people of this nation that a $700 billion to $1 trillion bailout of Wall Street fatcats is worth the investment of tax dollars.

I believe the bailout only delays the difficult medicine America must take for gross over-spending and greedy profit-taking of the past quarter century.

For a better case about this matter, go to:


Not even Stephen King could write this thriller

The Washington Times makes a plausible case that would make the 2000 contested presidential race look like a clear mandate for George W. Bush.

That's damn scary. But a 269-269 Electoral College tie is mathematically and politically possible. And then a nation already in the throes of a financial market meltdown would face political peril of equal extreme.

The U.S. Supreme Court would not settle this matter as in 2000. It would be Congress. And guess which ticket holds the advantage there? Not so fast. You may be wrong.

Read more, if you dare, at: http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/sep/23/an-electoral-college-doomsday/

Doing my part and giving my respect to Al Gore

When I go to the supermarket and go through the self-checkout line, I do not use plastic bags -- even if there are no paper bags available.

Employees look at me strangely as I end up just restacking the items back into the grocery cart. I tell them, "I'm doing it for Al Gore".

And they don't get it.

If I would take additional time to explain, I'd tell them about the mass of plastic the size of the state of Texas that's in the northern Pacific Ocean. Gore has made the world aware of such things and why we should care.

So I remember Gore when I go to the supermarket. And now with the new medical research saying that plastic used for beverages may contribute to diabetes and heart disease, Gore's encouragement has become even more important in my life.

Some folks just want to find a reason to dismiss Gore's contentions. A recent story about his owning a large yacht on a Tennessee lake was just another knee-jerk attempt to undercut his message.

So Mr. Gore, I say "thanks" for making me aware. Our lives and world will be better for your effort to educate.

Campaign getting weird as Obama, Biden disagree

Politico.com makes a compelling analysis of a campaign fighting against itself in comments by Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden correcting the other.

It is quite bizarre and disturbing for a ticket that wants to run the country.

The only person escaping flip-flops and criticism is GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin. While she is criticized for a lack of foreign policy experience, it seems with the actions of the other three candidates that the best experience is to keep your trap shut.

Palin attracted a crowd of 60,000 people at a speech a few days ago. Obama had a poor turnout for an appearance in Wisconsin.

To read more about this ever-changing presidential campaign, go to:


Impact Fees make sense as White Flighters return

The New York Times reports that "White Flight" from New York City has reversed for the first time since 1940.

In population pockets, the same thing has been happening in Nashville as older suburbanites sell their large homes to move back to downtown condos to be closer to cultural amenities, sporting events and better health care.

It is this immediate trend that makes it imperative for elected Nashville officials to enact Impact Fees on all residential and multi-family construction to pay for the stress to roads, infrastructure and even schools.

The most striking thing from last night's town hall meeting at Stratford High School was the accounts of "separate but unequal" distribution of resources across Metro public schools. And "White Flight" can be blamed for that, as families of means left Nashville neighborhoods for the suburbs.

Now that some family members are returning to live in Nashville, it is only right that they pay for the privilege of living back in the city and supporting the infrastructure they deserted.

The Chamber of Commerce, which controls decisionmaking in Nashville and the what the news media publishes and broadcasts, does not want any discussion of Impact Fees. Any kind of tax is viewed as discouraging growth. That's wrong. So it is going to take extraordinary effort to get the matter of Impact Fees on the civic agenda.

Meanwhile, Nashville's affluent suburbs have had Impact Fees for two decades now. No wonder their schools are viewed as so much better. Revenue from such fees must go to school construction. So that frees up other school revenue for broader use in the district.

The next time someone complains about the quality of Metro Schools, talk about the need to enact Impact Fees on residential and multi-family construction. It is only fair as "White Flighters" return to the city. And it makes sense for a better future.

To read about New York City's demographic change, go to:


Congressional bailout hearings beginning now

If you are on Comcast Cable, go to either Channel 46 or Channel 98 to catch the Senate Banking Committee hearing on the massive bailout proposal for Wall Street fatcats.

The U.S. Treasury Secretary, Federal Reserve Chairman and the SEC Commissioner are slated to give opening statements and field questions.

If you want to make this bit of reality TV like watching a football game, tune into Channel 46(CNBC) and watch how the financial markets go up and down with each statement and question.

The bailout -- estimated from $700 billion to $1 trillion - is far from nailed down. Your voice still can be heard, so watch the hearings and stay aware.

Dean not capable of making education decisions

The one major problem with Mayor Karl Dean's town hall meeting tour of areas served by Nashville public schools is that he is part of it.

For the most part in school districts moving forward, such meetings are conducted by educators. They are the most skilled at rescuing children and making the decisions to do so with the resources available. That's what happening in Memphis City Schools where the school district is implementing brave new plans to keep student achievement ahead of No Child Left Behind requirements.

A mayor is not supposed to be involved unless things are going wrong. And they are in Nashville public schools, as the district comes under state control because of failing to meet NCLN standards.

Dean heard last night from Stratford High School patrons and teachers that the school is not even meeting constitutional requirements. Education there is separate and unequal, compared to a prominent south Nashville School. In addition, school district plans to close Cora Howe Elementary School is a tragedy.

I've personally seen the Reading Recovery program there at work with children needing heroic help. And I've seen the immediate difference in the ability of these children to read. There is no greater happiness than in the reaction of a child who finally gets it, who has finally connected to a broad beautiful world of learning.

Yet Dean, in an interview with The Tennessean's Gail Kerr, contended that education was one of his successes for his first year in office. And this man is going to make things right in Nashville public schools? That's like the mother of Britney Spears writing a book on raising children. She has? Wow, things really are bad in this country.

Kerr's column didn't help the local schools' situation. It was a puff piece marveling at how the mayor likes cafeteria food and is willing to sip milk with first graders. But the food is not good enough for him to send his children to public schools.

Dean is a protege of Gov Phil Bredesen. Uncle Breddy -- then Mayor Bredesen -- never sent his child to Nashville public schools either. Yet he implemented a political curriculum that left even more children behind and set the stage for Metro's current troubles with NCLB.

Educators, not chamber officials or mayors, should be about the business of righting schools and the futures of children. They have the expertise and experience. The education bureaucracy, however, must be kept in check. And that's where politicos can come in and set standards of accountability on annual performance to track improvement. That's where they should come in and even shift out entire faculties and administrators of a school failing to meet needed standards.

But education decisions ultimately must be left to those educated to do so, just as surgery is left with the surgeon, not the adminstrator running the hospital.

Again, Nashville should look to Memphis on how to run a successful school district. There, a progressive city is making plans to move from good to excellent in educating children of all skill levels and giving taxpayers their monies' worth.

To read more on last night's town hall meeting, go to:


Obama says bailout will delay his programs

Just as feared, new programs to help the most vulnerable in our society would have to be delayed if a federal bailout of Wall Street is approved, Sen. Barack Obama has confirmed.

We're talking about more accessible health care, cutting taxes for the non-affluent and other measures Obama has sold to voters as needed change. Still, Obama supports the bailout and Sen. John McCain opposes it.

That truth is another strange aspect to the Obama campaign and brings into question his experience to deal with the major issues facing this nation.

To read more, go to:


'EnglishOnly' vote set for Jan. 22 date at earliest

Councilman Eric Crafton easily gained enough signatures to put his "EnglishOnly" referendum before Metro Nashville voters as early as Jan. 22.

Crafton turns the more than 5,000 signatures into county officials today. His attempt to get the referendum on the November ballot was blocked by politics and a court ruling. A Jan. 22 vote will cost taxpayers $350,000.

I agree with supporters that the fault for the cost belongs to those political forces opposing the referendum.

It will be interesting campaign if the Jan. 22 date holds. That will be near Dr. King's birthday and subsequent celebrations. Will that proximity affect the campaign against the measure and give it ammunition?

We'll have to see.

To read more, go to:


CityPaper shows ESPN critic to be out of his league

ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge has been making his career on being critical of Titans' quarterback Vince Young.

And so when he got really nasty about Vince this season, Hoge got more notice than he wanted. And when put on the spot by the CityPaper, the former Steelers' runningback folded like a paper tiger.

Critics come and go. Hoge had a decent career with the Steelers. But it was nothing close to what Vince has done in only two seasons. When you're down, everyone kicks you. When you're up, everyone is your friend.

And so it is with Hoge. Vince will outlast Hoge in the spotlight as a player, compared to just another harping voice.

To read more, go to:


Obama makes no progress with Clinton backers

One reason the polls for the presidency remain so close between Obama and McCain is supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The supporters remain unconvinced by Obama's candidacy on the issue of experience. And it doesn't help that the Obama camp has labeled such people as PUMAs and other things out of a high sense of arrogance.

A prominent Clinton supporter and fundraiser came out in support of McCain last week. I don't see anything that Obama has said or will say to change his failure to win over more Clinton supporters.

To read more, go to:


Monday, September 22, 2008

Metro Police Department needs to be investigated

My mentor, the Rev. Enoch Fuzz of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, tells the story of a young man who recently stepped up during a church service and made a statement.

He said he was going to quit running from the law and turn himself in. So he handed his personal belongings to his tearful mother in the congregation. And Rev. Fuzz ultimately took him to police headquarters to give himself up.

A week or so later, Rev. Fuzz received a subpoena to appear at the young man's court hearing. Why? Fuzz was told that the police found drugs on the young man.

Drugs? Why would someone who is giving himself up still have drugs on his body? It doesn't make sense. And the suspicion is that Metro Police planted the drugs on the young man.

Fuzz says this matter is not an isolated case. He has talked to Chief Serpas in the past and recently met with the Davidson County attorney general. Yet nothing has changed.

I've had no trouble with Metro Police. But I know Rev. Fuzz. And he doesn't make stuff up. Coupled with attorney Elliott Ozment's column about police racial profiling -- most recently in arresting a Hispanic man for simply sitting in a laundromat waiting to go to work -- Metro Nashville has some serious problems in the conduct of at least some of its police officers.

Awareness is the first step. And Fuzz's and Ozment's statements point to a real problem with Metro Police. Someone in authority should investigate through the composition of an independent board of citizens. And that board should become a permanent fixture to receive complaints from the public.

No one doubts the difficult job all police officers have to handle. Chief Serpas has had a good record of reducing crime with effective policing strategies. He is a student of sociology. And stacked against Sheriff Daron Hall, Serpas is Sherlock Holmes compared to the Keystone Kops.

But a city without justice for all is an affront to America and the sacrifice of our founding fathers. Sure these two outrages are just against people of color. But such wrongs ultimately work up the ladder toward scandal.

Nashville already has a bad reputation when it comes to its treatment of human beings, because of Sheriff Hall. Someone in authority must finally step forward and find out the truth and correct the wrongs before they become the standard and not the exception.

WSMV shows state's immorality to most vulnerable

Congratulatons to WSMV Channel 4 investigative reporter Nancy Amons for her piece this evening on the TennCare cuts of home nursing for 1,000 human beings.

Amons focused on a woman with heart problems and a broken back that won't heal. So she can barely take two steps on her own. And her nurse came in on her own time to check on her and help her.

This woman cannot work. She is disabled. She has worked, ironically training health care professionals like the ones caring for her now.

We who make up a society that professes to be under God has allowed our state leaders to turn their back on this woman and so many other souls like her. Gov. Phil Bredesen doesn't even have the courage to appear on camera to answer for this immorality. Instead, we get a TennCare spokesperson who has the audacity to say that these cuts are going to provide more care to people in need.

My goodness. Do these people believe God is stupid? Do they believe God does not see?

The alternative for the woman featured in Amons' fine report is to go to a nursing home, where she will surely die soon. If she stays home, she must go 72 hours without nursing care.

Bredesen pushed and passed legislation to provide for home health care. But it doess not take effect until next year. The state has a record rainy day fund. Yet Bredesen won't tap it. Instead, he see worth not in human beings but in a foreign company opening a plant in Chattanooga. For Hitler's people car, Bredesen opened the state pocketbooks for $577 million in corporate welfare.

The governor continues to show his immorality. The question remains if we are going to remain silent and allow this outrage to continue.

Contact your lawmakers and tell them such immorality is unacceptable. The TennCare Legislative Oversight Committee meets at the end of this month. Make sure your lawmaker knows how you feel by that date so something can be done to save the most vulnerable among us.

Criticism of NYTIMES' coverage way off base

The McCain campaign today took out after The New York Times for its coverage of their candidate, crying that the Old Gray Lady is not a legit news source.

The campaign is dead wrong.

The Times is the nation's newspaper of record for a reason -- it provides quality and quantity in its coverage of any issue or candidate. It has even diversified the ideology of its editorial page columnists, something that most newspapers won't do on their staffs.

If more negative stories have been produced about Sen. John McCain, there is a reason. He has more of a record to examine than his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama. So the campaign should take the coverage as a compliment and confirmation of the point it has been trying to make to voters.

Certainly, the campaign still is steaming over the Op-Ed page decision denying McCain space to respond to Obama's column about his trip to Europe earlier this year.

Obama wrote about what he was going to say to the global audience. McCain simply reiterated his past positions, which did not advance the presidential race discussion. Denying McCain space for his column was the right decision. And I base that on my four years as an editorial page editor faced with the same kind of decisions.

But here is the McCain campaign's beef for you to make your own decision on:


Bad moon may be rising again at The Tennessean

If you want to know what is going on at The Tennessean and Gannett Co. Inc., the place to go is www.gannettblog.blogspot.com

The blog is efficiently and entertaininly run by Jim Hopkins, a former USA Today editor and Gannett employee for two decades. The blog has broken news on Gannett and Tennessean layoffs.

Hopkins' insight is fueled by Gannett employees, who feed him news about their newsrooms and falling morale. A lot of ex-Gannett employees also give him tips. Even though I am a former Gannett-oid, I don't participate in the blog. I don't agree with everything said about the company and its leaders, particularly Craig Moon, publisher of USA Today.

Moon used to be at The Tennessean when I was there. And I found him as publisher to be a man of integrity and the right stuff to turn around the newspaper and the industry as a whole. He had a lot to do with the success of Williamson A.M. He gave me the opportunity to do political writing.

Unfortunately with the downtown newsroom, Moon did not receive the respect of the top editor. And now the newspaper is suffering terribly despite the heroics of the rank-and-file employees.

Moon is publisher of USA Today, and its profitability has not suffered as much as the rest of Gannett properties. Circulation remains strong. I believe those facts to be testament to Moon's good leadership.

Locally, Hopkins' blog reports that something bad as far as employees is going to happen this week at The Tennessean, possibly tomorrow. Here are the comments:

Anonymous said...
Something is definitely up in Nashville. There are a lot of managers walking around with sullen faces.

9/22/2008 1:20 PM

Anonymous said...
Re: Nashville. Of course the managers there have sullen faces: The ones in the newsroom work for Mark Silverman, Gannett corporate's attack chihuahua.

I pray that Hopkins' sources are wrong for my friends and colleagues at The Tennessean. But cutbacks in Gannett have only been about 3 percent of the workforce, compared to two, 10 percent cutbacks at McClatchy newspapers.

Go to Hopkins' blog or stay here at this blog for further updates.

Timing is everyting to finding gas in Cool Springs

Gas? It's available. For needy motorists, it's just a matter of timing.

In the Cool Springs area, the gas trucks arrive between 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. So try and time your gas trips to that schedule.

Some motorists simply park their vehicles next to a bump, turn off their engines and catch a quick nap or do some paperwork.

Motorists at the BP/MAPCO where I fueled up in five minutes were very chatty and friendly. Their scouting report was that there is plenty of gas in Kentucky. There also is plenty of gas in Murfreesboro. The problem is just in the immediate Nashville area.

One motorist compared the panic to the swarming of supermarkets for milk and bread with each threat of snow. She had a big SUV and actually admired my 15-year-old midsized car -- unwashed. That's the first time anyone has admired anything about me in Brentwood. But she is part of the problem with the ongoing shortage. She had a half a tank of gas when she pulled in, and she was still filling up after I had left.

Overall, I give high points to the patience of drivers in the Cool Springs area and how they're working out a system on their own to line up into the roadways. Stay clear-headed everyone. It does not look like this situation is going to get better any time soon.

When it comes to wealth, Tennessee's senators go to the top of the list for Congress' top 50 richest

Tennessee's two U.S. senators made the top 25 list of the richest members of Congress.

Bob Corker is No. 15 in wealth and Lamar Alexander is No. 23.

There is nothing wrong with wealth as long as it is used for the common good as much as the personal good. And Democrats take up most of the slots for the richest lawmakers in the top 25.

For the list of the top 50 richest lawmakers, go to the following web address. Can you guess the richest lawmaker? Wrong. It's Sen. John Kerry.


Lehman Brothers paying big bonuses amid crisis

As further evidence of the insanity of bailing out Wall Street, struggling Lehman Brothers will pay $2.5 billion in bonuses to its employees.

For what? Why doesn't Lehman just use the money to cover its own bad loans? Why are taxpayers being asked to do it for the Wall Street giant?

Read the following outrageous story and then get on the phone and call your congressperson's office and demand that the $700 billion bailout plan not be passed.


McCain makes appeal for all immigrants today

In an impassioned speech this morning before an Irish-American group in Scranton, PA., Sen. John McCain spoke of his plans to push immigration reform that would put people illegally in this country on the path to citizenship along with the creation of a temporary worker program.

His just-completed speech was the most passionate appeal by either presidential candidate to address the nation's immigration policy mess. For undecided voters like myself, his remarks made a deep impression.

McCain spoke of 50,000 Irish human beings in this nation illegally but working and contributing. He spoke of their desire to emerge from the shadows to become citizens. He promised to meet their needs.

The Republican spoke of how unpopular he was in his party for pushing immigration reform with the great Sen. Ted Kennedy.

"We put a coalition together, and I had to take votes that were not popular," McCain told the enthusiastic crowd. "Sen. Kennedy had to take votes that were not popular. Sen. Obama took a hike.

"Sen. Obama supported an amendment that would have supported a sunset in the temporary worker program. The union bosses told him to do it. I have a record of standing up to my party and my president. You have to stand up for what is right for your country. Sen. Obama does not have a record."

McCain also put border security on his list of things to do on immigration. But he presented it to the crowd as not just a point of keeping people out but stopping the flow of illegal drugs. His speech to the group was a first for a Republican presidential candidate.

The GOP nominee made a strong statement that this nation is stronger for the "infusion of fresh blood" that has come into this country, including its Hispanic citizenry. His stand was so much different from the haters in his party like Reps. Tom Tancredo and Marsha Blackburn.

"That is what our nation is all about," he said. "That is the America we will have if I am president."