Monday, January 31, 2005

Let Freedom Ring!

Iraqis walking to a polling station in Al Alamara.

Expatriots voting in Irvine, California.

Iraqis lining up to vote in Az Zubayr, in Southern Iraq.

An Iraqi woman displays her ink died finger indicating she has just voted.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Mixed Economic News

The US economy grew at a 3.1% annualized rate in Q4 2004, according to the Advance report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Advance reports are based on incomplete data, and will be refined when the Preliminary report is issued on February 25th. Economists were expecting GDP growth of 3.6%.

Personal consumption, equipment and software, and government spending were key drivers to fourth quarter growth. Growth was hampered by the trade deficit, as imports serve to offset GDP growth numbers. In addition, exports were down for the quarter vs. Q3.

The good news is that the economy expanded at a 4.4% rate in 2004. Over the past 16 years, only 2 years have witnessed higher GDP growth. In 1997 and 1999 the economy grew at a 4.5% clip. This is further proof that 2004 was indeed an outstanding year for economic growth.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Save The Elephants

Elephant Walk at Texas A&M is an annual tradition where humans take a last stroll across the A&M campus before they graduate. This tradition began in 1926. For more information, look here.

Apparently, somebody at PETA heard about Elephant Walk and became alarmed. So PETA "fired off a letter to A&M President, Dr. Robert Gates". PETA is concerned about the dangers of allowing "the public to come into contact with elephants"!

I've long known that PETA is an alarmist organization prone to over-reaction, but this story takes the cake.

Here is PETA's letter.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Letter to President Bush

I found this handwritten letter to George Bush on an Iraqi blog last month. The letter, dated November 1st of this year, is posted on the Road of a Nation blog>.

There's no question that Iraq is not going as smoothly as the administration had hoped, and Iraq is clearly a very dangerous place for our soldiers. But the freedom and prosperity of 25 million people lay in the peace, as do prospects for a peaceful US ally in the heart of the Middle East. Let's hope that more and more Iraqis like Sarmad begin to take the lead within that nation's political discourse.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Inauguration Day Quotes

The neo-liberal dividers were out in full force yesterday hoping to take the shine off of George Bush's inauguration day. It is times like this when we develop a true understanding of the nature and characture of the neo-liberals in this country. Most rational, decent people understand that there is a time and a place for protest, and there are times when protests are inappropriate. I'd suggest that an Inauguration Day Parade is an inappropriate time to protest. Bush won fair and square, so let him and his supporters celebrate in peace.

Unfortunately, neo-liberals cannot even contain their spite for one day. Here are a couple select quotes from the "opposition".

"There were more problems in our election than the one in Ukraine, and Ukraine's election was overturned" - Some uninformed punk.

"Personally, I don't feel much like celebrating. So I'm going to mark the occasion by pledging to do everything in my power to fight the extremist Republican's destructive agenda." - Nancy "Botox" Pelosi

"Democracy means working together for the good of our country; it also means keeping faith with your ideals, never retreating from core convictions even as you work to find common ground. We have strong differences, and we argue and fight with all our hearts and energy, and our system endures because we Americans expect nothing less." - John Kerry As an aside, where was this rational John Kerry hiding during the election?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Judge Rules Against School Board Because They Sided with Christians

U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper, a Bill Clinton appointee, ruled against the Cobb County School District, which had placed stickers on science books that stated evolution is a "theory, not a fact". What makes this ruling a complete farce is that the judge did not make his ruling based on whether or not evolution is a theory or a fact. Rather, Judge Cooper ruled against the school board simply because the school board sided with "religiously motivated individuals".

Clarence Cooper

I'll say it again, because this may be the greatest assault on the rights of Christians ever. Judge Clarence Cooper in Cobb County, Georgia, ruled against a school board because they took an action which was recommended by "religiously motivated" people. Furthermore, said Cobb, the evolution sticker sends "a message that the school board agrees with the beliefs of Christian fundamentalists and creationists". Oh, the horror! A school board agrees with Christians! I suppose that, if it were within his power, Cooper would recommend these school board members be fired for such abhorrent behavior.

Since when does our Constitutation say that, as part of the separation of church and state, that the state cannot agree with the church? If a teacher began teaching beastiality as a legitimate life choice, and Christian parents petitioned the school board for a change in curriculum, would the dimwit Cooper rule in favor of the teacher because the school board agreed with Christians?

It should come as no surprise that the case was brought against the school board by the American "Civil Liberties" Union. Apparently the hacks at the ACLU, as well as Judge Clarence Cooper, believe separation of church and state prevents any member of the state from enacting any policy recommended by the church. Taken to its logical conclusion, it seems these neo-liberals envision a state that is not only separated from the church, but a state that is diametrically opposed to the church.

Here's the full story from CNN.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"Thank You" from Indonesia

In the wake of the recent tsunami disaster, several of the world's military forces have been rushed into service to help bring aid to victims. Military manpower and equipment is needed to reach remote areas, to airlift supplies, etc. To date, the United States, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore have sent military personnel to Indonesia, where more than 100,000 people lost their lives and tens of thousands more citizens are homeless.

Apparently, the presence of military personnel is not necessarily welcomed in Indonesia. Said Indonesian Vice President Yusuf Kalla about the tenure of military relief personnel, "Three months are enough. In fact, the sooner the better."

Sorry our troops are such a menace, Yusuf. By the way, you're welcome.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Final New Jobs Report for 2004

The Labor Department reported 157,000 new jobs in December and adjusted November's new job figure upwards by 34,000.

During the presidential campaign a year ago, the Bush administration was widely criticized for predicting 2.6 million new jobs this year. Although critics were correct in their opinion that the administration was overly optimistic, the Bush team was not as far off as many predicted. In total, 2,231,000 new jobs were created in 2004, or 86% of the figure forecasted by the administration.

Rewind to this February, when John Kerry was issuing daily negative attacks on the president:
    "Now George Bush is saying he's going to create 2.6 million jobs this year alone — and his advisers are saying, 'What, you didn't actually believe that, did you?' Apparently George Bush is the only person left in the country who actually believes the far-fetched promises he's peddling."

Well John, it's too bad you were so bearish on America, and such a cowardly critic of President Bush during the campaign, otherwise maybe it would be your administration making the forecast for 2005.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Democrats Desperate to Undermine Bush

In a scene reminiscent of 2000, congressional Democrats are desperately trying to undermine the credibility of our recent presidential election and to smear the Republican party as perpetrators of dirty tricks and disenfranchisement.

Despite the fact that George Bush won Ohio by roughly 118,000 votes, Barbara Boxer (Democrat Senator from CA) and a handful of Congressmen have objected to the counting of Ohio's 20 electoral votes. As a result, the official certification of George Bush as the election winner will be delayed by a few hours.

John Kerry has not joined this fight. In addition, it is clear that this token objection will be over-ruled, and George Bush will be the certified winner later today. But the rabid neo-liberal faction of the Democratic party is not concerned with accomplishing anything, they are simply intent on undermining the legitimacy of George Bush.

All the while, the world is working to bring relief to Southeast Asia in the wake of the devastating tsunami, and men and women are risking their lives to ensure Iraqis are free to vote later this month. Further proof that the neo-liberal claims of compassion and human rights being at the top of their agenda is a lie. Undermining all things Republican is their primary focus.