Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Haley Barbour NOT running for President

From the AP

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Republican Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday he will not run for president in 2008 because he is too busy with Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

I think the democrats dodge a bullet here.


Anonymous said...

Stories you won’t see on this blog or anu other gop blog.

Former federal disaster chief Michael Brown testified Friday he notified top White House and Homeland Security officials on the day Hurricane Katrina roared ashore that "we were realizing our worst nightmare" and New Orleans was seriously flooding.

He dismissed as "just baloney" and "a little disingenuous" claims by agency officials that they didn't know about the severity of the damage until the next day.
Brown suggested the administration's fixation with fighting terrorism may have been to blame, in part, for the slow government response.

Brown said he spoke by phone to a top White House official — he said he believed it was Joe Hagin, the deputy chief of staff — "on at least two occasions on that day to inform him of what was going on."
Hagin was with the president, who began the day at his ranch in Texas then traveled to Arizona and California for policy speeches. Brown was in Baton Rouge, La.

President Bush's marks on overall job approval and for handling the economy are mired near their lowest levels despite a spike in consumer confidence over the past month, an AP-Ipsos poll found.
Bush's job approval is now at 40 percent and his approval on handling the economy at 39 percent. Those numbers haven't budged over the last month even with the public's confidence in the economy growing and the president delivering an upbeat State of the Union address.
The poll found low approval of Congress with 47 percent wanting Democrats to take control. Republican control was favored by 37 percent.

Jack Abramoff had brief conversations with President Bush almost a dozen times and the president knew him well enough to make joking references to Abramoff's family, according to an e-mail the fallen lobbyist sent a magazine editor.
Bush "joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids," Abramoff recalled of his contacts with the president.
Yea, just like he didn’t know Kenny Boy Lay.

Bush's contacts with Abramoff — who has pleaded guilty in a fraud and bribery case and is cooperating with a public corruption investigation — have become an issue because the president has said he doesn't recall ever meeting the lobbyist.

Time magazine and the Washingtonian have reported the existence of about a half-dozen photos showing Abramoff and Bush together.

A former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney told a federal grand jury that his superiors authorized him to give secret information to reporters as part of the Bush administration's defense of intelligence used to justify invading Iraq, according to court papers.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in documents filed last month that he plans to introduce evidence that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, disclosed to reporters the contents of a classified National Intelligence Estimate in the summer of 2003.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan refused to comment. "Our policy is that we are not going to discuss this when it's an ongoing legal proceeding," he said. SURPRISE.

The boxes arrive every month at churches, senior citizen centers and other sites for distribution to nearly a half-million poor elderly people. Each is stocked with a mix of nutritious foods such as cereal, peanut butter, fruit, vegetables and pasta. Sometimes volunteers deliver them right to people's homes.
Now President Bush wants to eliminate the program, one of 141 federal initiatives that his proposed new budget would scrap or cut dramatically. He is proposing to shift people in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program over to food stamps.
Defenders of the nutrition-in-a-box program say many elderly people are reluctant to sign up for food stamps, and, in any event, the commodity program often provides a more generous package.
The program, which dates back to 1968, operates in 32 states and the District of Columbia.
The USDA's own statistics show that just 28 percent of seniors eligible for food stamps participate in the program.

Dan said...

Wow...Michael Brown. Fired/resigned from FEMA. No axe to grind there. I wonder when his book's coming out.

Dan said...

And Abramoff gave a good chunk of change to Stabenow and Levin too.

Keith Richards said...

Hey, Kevin S -

I was wondering where you disappeared to.

Why is it that you Democrats always want to pretend that Abramoff is a Republican scandel, when the number of Democrats involved, while smaller numerically, is pretty close to the percentage of Congress that Democrats hold.

By the way, I listened to the Hannity show today and he spent a lot of time discussing the Brown testimony. Nothing I've not heard yet on conservative radio. I have to agree with RepublicanMichigander - Brown is not a reliable witness since he was fired for not doing anything. Gee, he was in charge of the agency but he could not initiate any action on his own? He is just as bad as those worthless Democrats down in New Orleans and the Louisiana state government. The biggest mistake Bush made was not firing his worthless butt sooner.

Incidently, in every crisis that FEMA has ever responded to, it has taken at least 3 days for them to show up. This is official government policy. Katrina was no different. That is why FEMA tells local officials that they should be prepared to deal with emergencies for 3 days before help arrives. Of course, local officials can't help when they are all running away and hiding. What a bunch of worthless bums.

Nagen says that he could not use the buses to evacuate because he had no drivers. Last time I checked, it is OK to suspend a few rules in an emergency. I'm sure they could have found a few licensed drivers that could have handled a bus. I mean, what a wimpy excuse.

Oh yes, and we should not forget (although you Democrats would like to) that Bush tried to get the Governor of Louisiana to declare an emergency before the hurricane so that federal help could begin flowing immediately (before the storm even hit) She refused, because she was worried that she would be upstaged by the Bush administration. But after the levees broke and it was clear that there was a serious emergency, she was one of the first people out there blaming Bush for not getting there fast enough. Yeah, it is funny how the media forgets facts that don't agree with the liberal fantasy version of events.

Keith Richards said...

KevinS - This is for you.

Media Bias Hurting Economy?
Is it any wonder that a November poll by the American Research Group, a non-political polling organization, showed that 43% of Americans thought the economy was in a recession?

Meg Kreikemeier, writing in Tech Central Station this week, asks that very question.

Kreikemeier puts her money where her mouth is, analyzing the headlines used by the major media to cover President Clinton in the 1990s, as well as those used to report on President Bush and his handling of the economy in recent months.

Kreikemeier used the Lexis-Nexis database to compare media stories evaluating economic recovery for both President Clinton in 1993 and 1994 and for President Bush in 2004 and 2005 - years when the economy began to show significant improvements for both presidents. Her research showed 320 articles on President Clinton and 260 on President Bush.

"A review of the magazines revealed that far more articles were written about President Clinton in the weekly news magazines, whereas the bulk of the articles written about President Bush were found in financial and trade magazines and in right-of-center publications like The National Review and The Weekly Standard," says Kreikemeier.

The largest discrepancies appeared in U.S. News and World Report and Time Magazine, where more favorable articles on Clinton appeared.

Says Kreikemeier: "At a time when unemployment was at 6.5%, and GDP was forecasted to be 3% in 1994, Time Magazine wrote, ?which would be no boom, but maybe something much better: a pace that could be sustained for a long time, keeping income and employment growing without igniting a new surge in inflation ... The circle (of spending, production and hiring) may not spin fast enough to produce a boom - but who wants one anyway? Moderate, steady growth is better.' "

She compares that article to a recent Time piece on economic recovery under President Bush titled "How Real is the Squeeze?"

"Jonathan Thornton finally found a job this spring after six months of unemployment. ?My wife and I almost parted ways after 13 years because of the financial strain,' he says. When he started work in April as a crane operator at a screw manufacturer in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, Thornton treated his wife Rita to a few little luxuries - a day at the salon, an evening out with the girls.

" ?My outlook has definitely brightened,' he says. But Thornton's optimism goes only so far. His paycheck has grown, but the family is still just getting by ... There's supposed to be an economic recovery underway. But the numbers paint a confusing picture."

Kreikemeier wants to know why "moderate, steady growth is better," particularly when the GDP growth and unemployment rate were better in 2004 than in 1993?

Good question - but don't expect Big Media to answer it.

They're too busy trying to undermine the economic success engineered by President Bush - and rewrite history in the process.

RKG said...

Ecomomic success? I assume you don't live in Michigan. I'm struggling to keep my doors open and will lose that battle unless I can find ways to shrink my business, which, of course means less money circulating in the local economy. The only success engineered by the spendthrift majority is an amazing ability to organize themselves to run up record deficits and pass pet projects galore to assure reelection or pay off the lobbyists who lined their pockets.

Keith Richards said...

rkg -

You don't sound like a business owner. Most business owners would say "I am looking for ways to cut costs", not "I'm looking for ways to shrink my business." Shrink your business would imply reducing sales.

Also, you make it sound like it is a bad thing. I've never yet met a businessman who was not looking for ways to cut costs, even during good times. Controlling and reducing costs is always a necessity for business owners. If GM and Ford had kept this in mind while negotiating UAW contracts over the last few decades, they would not have such a crisis now. They ran into trouble because they thought that they could just keep increasing their prices forever in order to pay for expensive labor, and this opened up the door for Japanese competition. You see, Toyota, Honda, and Nisson kept their labor costs under control.

Most people just don't understand the thin line between making and losing money. Increase the minimum wage? This ripples through all jobs. If you increase minimum wage $1, all of a sudden business owners that pay $1 over the minimum wage have to pay $1 more or lose their employees. So then companies that pay $2 over have to increase their wages, etc . . . . .

Where does the money come from to pay for these wage increases? A business either has to either increase prices or else reduce the number of hours worked by employees. Usually a business will lay off a few people and reduce the hours of others, then increase prices a small amount. This happens all across the board.

In the end, wage earners on the low end are worse off, because now there are fewer jobs with fewer hours and prices are even higher than they were before the wage increases. This is how Democrats want to help minimum wage earners - by taking them out of the job market and putting them on unemployment.

It is true that things are real bad in Michigan right now. If you want to REALLY see how bad things are here, take a trip around the U.S. Visit N.E. Indiana, Kentucky, Northern Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. Or go west and visit Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Hey, you know what? If you want to see what a booming economy looks like, you can visit nearly any other place in the U.S., outside of Michigan. Pretty amazing, isn't it? Somehow or another President Bush managed to create a recession in Michigan while creating a boom in all other states. We know this because according to Democrats, EVERYTHING that they don't like about the U.S. is his fault. Incredible how one man manages to do so much, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

I have been right here waiting for something interesting to be posted to comment on. It seems funny that with all the political news flying around the last couple of days, this is the best he can find to post, but I guess if your stuck with the gop I can certainly understand.

Wow, it’s sure funny how quickly GW and the faithful turned on ole brownie. He shouldn’t have been hired in the first place, and cronyism is not a job qualification. It seems funny that the man who hired this unqualified person should bear no responsibility, and brown is just one more scapegoat for gw’s incompetence. The buck does not stop anywhere near his desk. The bushies are like pit bulls, they will turn on friend or foe in a heartbeat.

You talk about bias, and you get your info from sean hateity. What a laugh.

Sorry, no matter how much the gop tries; the Abramoff mess is a republican scandal because no Democrat took money from him. There’s a difference in taking a campaign contribution from a pac and a bribe from Jackie boy. When is the president going to admit he knows him, or Kenny boy for that matter?

I don’t know where you got your info for your tirades about the Governor of Louisiana, but according to, she declared a state of emergency three days before the storm hit, and two days before Katrina hit she asked bush to declared a state of emergency, and he did, according to the White House, at Now, what facts did the media forget about?
As for the buses, a large percentage was not available, but frankly, I’m not sure about the actual facts, and I’m still researching that. But I know this; your version is most likely a lie.

Anonymous said...

I’m sure there’s quite a few middle class workers will disagree with you that the economy is recovering. I don’t recall GM or Ford closing plants, laying off people and cutting retirees health care during the Clinton recovery. It seems to me, things like that cause, or are the symptoms of a recession, but I only took one economics course in college, unlike you.

It would also seem to me that there is a lot more to write about bush, other than the economy, such as the war he lied us into, the republican scandals and his bungling of foreign policy, to name just a few.

Who the hell is the Meg Kreikemeier and what the hell is “ Tech Central Station,” and if it proves the 30-year gop strategy of killing the messenger why is there at least no link to it?

Keith Richards said...

The problem with you, KevinS, is that you spend too much time hanging around your lib friends. You all sit around and feed on each other, rather than going out and learning about how the real world works.

Like all libs, you are not interested in looking at the response to Katrina to see what we can learn from it, you are just interested in blame, blame, blame. Since you seem to have forgotten, President Bush accepted FULL responsibility for the slow response around the time Brown was fired. You libs need to get over this blame game. It is time to see what we can learn from this tragedy. Sitting around whining about how it might have been done better won't change anything. Just get over it.

As for the "big 3" auto companies, they are suffering from two different problems. Their BIG problem is that they can't sell cars. No matter what else they do, if they can't get the public to buy their cars, they are going to be in financial trouble. I've done everything I can to help them, as I have personally purchased nothing but GM and Ford products over the years. But they need to make products that appeal to the broad spectrum of Americans, and this they are failing to do.

To their credit, the quality on the last few cars I've purchased is nothing less than amazing. My wife and I both own 3 year old Chevy's, and between the two of us we have driven over 100,000 miles total on them. Other than routine stuff, the only thing we've had to do is the front brakes on my wife's car (At 50,000+ miles. In over 100,000 miles of combined driving. The gas mileage is good too; I drive a full sized Impala and I rarely ever get less than about 30mpg in it, and I've gotten as high as 35mpg in it. Now that GM knows how to build a high quality car that gets good gas mileage, maybe they just need to learn how to make them more appealing to buyers.

Incidentally, every time I have checked, Ford and GM products have been priced below the competition. A typical new Toyota sells for several thousand dollars more than a typical "Big 3" product. Having lower prices does not seem to help, so they are just going to have to work on their mediocre designs.

As for their financial problems, they made their bed and now they need to lie in it. They made a lot of promises over the years and now they are paying the penalty. Specifically, they promised future retirees a lot of things but did not set enough money aside, so now they are in deep trouble as all these promises come due. They should not expect to be bailed out by the feds, especially not while they are paying a lot more in pay and benefits than what average Americans get. It is just not fair to expect a person earning $10 or $15 per hour and paying for a big chuck of their own health care to subsidize people that get (or once got) more than twice as much.

By the way, I'm surprised that you have any college under your belt. I would never have guessed.

Personally, I have a degree in business with a minor in computer science. I have nearly 6 years of college total, including about 30 credits of history, several semesters of economics, 4 semesters of accounting, 4 semesters of math, several semesters of finance and management classes, several public speaking classes, several writing classes, plus philosophy, geography, logic, physics, astronomy, and chemistry.

I took all those extra classes because I wanted to have a well rounded and diversified education. Incidentally, I paid for every penny of every class I ever took by working as a janitor, in several restaurants, and in a hot, dirty, warehouse loading and unloading trucks in temperatures of up to 110 degrees. I never took so much as a penny from relatives, friends, the university, or the government. When I moved out on my own all I had to my name was a $500 piece of junk for a car (which I owed money on) and two sets of clothing. I spent years working in jobs at or near the minimum wage. Most of the time I was in college I never owned more than 2 sets of clothing, because I did not have money to buy more. I know a lot about eating cheaply too - pasta, beans, oatmeal, and day old bread. For years I rarely ever ate meat, not because of any beliefs, but because I could not afford it.

Rent was always a problem. I spent my college years living in various 2 bedroom apartments with up to 4 room mates at a time. That's right, up to 5 people in a two bedroom apartment. But it was never hard finding room mates because there were lots of people in the same boat that I was, desperate to save as much money as possible.

In spite of financial hardship I still managed to pay for a class or two every semester. I went to
school year round too, often while working as many as 60 hours per week while taking classes.
Needless to say, it took me a long time to get through college. Over 8 years, all told. When I graduated I did so entirely on my own with no help, and totally debt free.

I had a big desire to travel, so I took a trip whenever I could, sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a week in August. When you lack funds you just have to learn how to do without them. If the determination is there, you can do a lot with or without money. I traveled by taking friends with me to split the cost of gas. While on the road we slept in the car at rest stops or stayed in campgrounds. Usually we would stop and visit friends or relatives whenever possible so that we could wash clothes and shower. Bread and cheese makes good travel food, I can sayb from considerable personal experience. This may sound pretty hick, but over the course of several years I managed to travel around most of the eastern portion of the U.S. The west had to wait until I had more time and money. Curiously, thinking back on those low budget trips all I remember was the fun that I had.

In all the years that I struggled financially I never thought of myself as poor. Even on the hardest of days I got up and thanked the Lord that I live in the U.S., and thanked Him for all the opportunities that we have here in the U.S.

By the way, I grew up in a VERY blue collar neighborhood, too. I never met anyone that would admit to voting Republican until I was in my 20's. Everyone in my family voted Democrat, and we could always count on seeing lots of Democrat signs and bumper stickers during election. If there were any Republicans in my neighborhood, they never told anyone else.

I also have lots of relatives that had little or no income while I was growing up. That was before welfare became common in the '70's, so my relatives all worked for a living. Most of the time I was growing up my family did not have much, but nobody else in the neighborhood did either. Amazingly enough, we all lived pretty happy lives in spite of the fact that we owned practically nothing. I was in 7th grade when my family bought our first reliable TV. Before that we rarely watched TV because it was always broken. Mostly, we played outside or when the weather was bad, we stayed inside and played Monopoly, chess, and read books.

I know what it is like to grow up with only ragged clothes to wear and not having any lunch to eat at school. Several times while growing up teachers took me to a room where they gave me a bag full of new clothes, provided by a private charity.

So you liberals can sit in your comfortable, air conditioned homes, drinking your fancy European coffees, driving your expensive Toyota cars, and lecture to me all you want about what poverty is like and what we need to do to fix it.

But I've lived it, as have many of my friends and relatives. I KNOW what it is like, and I KNOW what has to be done to get away from it. The kind of life that we live is the result of the choices that we make. If we choose to climb away from poverty level living, we can do it.

I did have one advantage when I was growing up. I was terrified of my parents, and they made it clear to my siblings and I that we had better stay out of trouble. This included getting caught drunk, smoking pot, or creating children. They never did tell us what to expect if any of this happened, but we were scared enough of them not to find out. I don't entirely approve of their methods, but their message was a real winner: If you want to get ahead in life you have to stay out of trouble and avoid taking on responsibilities until ready for them.

Another thing, too. My story is far from unique. In fact, there are tens of millions of Americans living today that have lived at the poverty level for some part of their lives but who made the choice to improve themselves. I know this is true because I've met lots of them, and most of them are Republicans.

You Democrats all think that getting out of poverty is about creating new government programs to give money away to "needy" people, but you are dead wrong. Government money keeps them alive but gives them no purpose for existance. Everyone needs a purpose in life, whether it is taking care of kids, working a job, or trying to get an education.

The way to help people get away from poverty is to build a dynamic economy that creates lots of jobs, and to encourage every young person to continue their education. And when they get to college, they need to strive to improve themselves.

We could make college free for all college students, but you what happens then? Kids go to school so that they don't have to grow up and face reality for a few years. They don't take it seriously, majoring in subjects with no job prospects, or partying and skipping classes. You know what happens when kids have to pay for a big chunk of their college? They grow up. One of the basic truths of capitalism is that people don't value anything that is free. If you want somebody to value something, make them work for it.

So, KevinS, keep on talking about how terrible Republicans are, for pushing people to work, to strive to achieve their best, to take pride in their accomplishments. Keep on beating down low income people by telling them over and over and over again that they have to be unhappy because they don't have a lot of money, and that they are victims being denied their just due. Republicans will keep coming along and telling these same people that they don't need a lot of money to be happy, but that they can accomplish almost anything if they are willing to work hard for it.

The real problem with so many of you liberal Democrats is that you get too much. You grow up living comfortable lives and then feel guilty about people that have less than you do.

You can stop feeling guilty. I can tell you from personal experience, the thing that most low income people want is to have as much money as you do so that they can take care of themselves. Their is incredible joy in having the ability to meet ones own needs.

If you really care about low income people, go out and do something to help them. I don't mean spending a day pouring soup in a bowl so you can go out and brag to your liberal friends that you have helped the needy.

No, you need to go out and REALLY help someone. Teach them how to balance a checkbook. Teach them how to cook economically. Get them to quick smoking. Get them to take some GED or college classes, and then help them with their homework. Help them find a job, and then keep on them to show up for work on time, every day. Watch their kids for them every now and then. Give them a ride to work every now and then, or help them fix their old car. Buy them a new set of tires. In other words, don't pay lip service to getting rid of poverty and don't expect the government to get out there and do it for you. Get out there and help other people and do it regularly.

And here is the REAL test for you: Can you get out there and help other people without going home and bragging to your liberal friends about it? The true test of a giver is to help other people without expecting anything in return, even praise from your liberal buddies. There is no honor in bragging.

When you go out to help people, start with those closest to you. Help your siblings, your parents, your cousins, your friends. If you don't know anyone that needs help, ask around. It usually does not take long to find them. I'm not going to say what I now do or have done in my life for the reason given in the last paragraph, but I do practice what I preach. Of this you can be assured.

If more of you liberals did what Republicans do, which is to get out there and REALLY help people everyday, poverty would be eliminated in the U.S. But you liberals don't want to do it yourselves, you want the government to do it for you. That is your real shame.

One more thing too. You liberals run around whining about how we need all kinds of new government programs to "help the poor". One of the biggest things the government can do to help the poor is to reduce taxes so that people can take care of themselves and still help the people near to them. I could help a lot of people around me if I had only 1/2 of all the money that the government steals from me each year, and I promise you that I would stretch it 10 times further than the government does. And it would be more effective for me to use the money because when I help someone, I do the entire package. "Give a person a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

RKG said...

Inspiring story. Good for you and contratulations on your success. I honestly don't know if I grew up a democrat or a republican - issues were discussed but partisanship wasn't substituted for analysis as it is today. My roots are certainly modest and set down at a time when the use of government power and money often was the only means by which certain societal ills could be addressed. Fundamentally, I do not have a problem with a party that would push people to work, to strive and to accomplish (i.e. live by honest American principals). It's just that when the republicans claim to be that party and then live contrary to those principals (i.e., spend money they don't have, vote for each others pet projects at public expense, take special interest money to assure reelection, and the like) they lose credibility. Frankly, if my representative has no credibility I don't care if they can say the other guy is worse, I don't want him as my representative. Plenty of people can talk the talk but I'm throwing out the rascals that can't walk it.

Anonymous said...

Keith Richards your story is beautiful and I applaud your hard work. What you have seemed to gleen from your life is that Democrats are taking away the American dream while Republicans are preserving it.

I think you need to begin to open your eyes before your children and theirs have no hope for attaining the education, heathcare and opportunity you have earned.

You need to stop watching Fox and listening to Rush and begin to understand our economy. Your ideals and party do not match up.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I was stunned when I read your tirade Keith, but it’s the typical gop response; if you can’t refute the facts with a logical argument, then go to the personal attack. Actually, I am very flattered that an educated, enlightened man like yourself took the time to attack an uneducated, uninformed man like me.

I would like to spend more time with my liberal friends that you suggest I already do, but I’m working three jobs in order to pay my mortgage. Of course, in this great economy none of those jobs offer health care.

You made a claim that the governor of Louisiana did not declare a state of emergency, but I proved your talking point was a lie. For a response you give me this lame crap. If you want to talk about the “blame game” isn’t that Brown’s role in all of this? Again, why is it that the man who hired him bares no responsibility – or blame - for hiring an unqualified crony? What you call the blame game, I call taking responsibility, and there has been a lack of that from the bushies, despite Bush saying otherwise in every SOTU speech. But here’s an even more idiotic statement from you, “Sitting around whining about how it might have been done better won't change anything.” What it will do is find out what went wrong so it will not happen again. By the way, that’s also called taking responsibility, and that carries much more weight than a lame apology.

I totally disagree with your stand about the Big Three automakers. They are competitive with any foreign manufacturer in price, appearance, quality, reliability and appeal. I have driven nothing but American cars, with the exception of the two years I spent living in a foreign country, and the quality has been unmatched. It’s funny that you should blame the workers for making too much money, just like betsey devos. True, American workers cannot compete with Chinese workers who make pennies on the dollar. Your hero, RR, called communists the evil empire, and now we’re buying all of our consumer goods from them and soon they plan to roll out a car to the market. Somehow, you don’t have a problem with that. I saw a recent WDIV-TV report on American factories moving over there, and the anchor asked about labor unions. The broker helping companies flee said there’s no need for them because they have the Communist Party behind them. No shit; how do we compete against that?

By the way, I'm surprised that you have any college under your belt. I would never have guessed because I have been writing circles around your lame attacks. Unfortunately, I only have two years of college. I’m not sure what the point of the tirade about how rough you had it is, but if you want I will feel sorry for you. Actually, I respect anyone who struggles to get an education. I want straight into the military after high school, and it was only the last two or three years of my career that I began talking college classes. I was, obviously, working a full-time job, carrying a full course load and raising a family, but I never had it as rough as you. The military paid for 75 percent of the tuition, and I paid the rest and the books. You never took a student loan? A loan is not a handout, and few people have the cash up front to pay for a course that can cost more than a $100 per credit hour plus books. That’s difficult for most middle and low-income people to manage. But, this president is making it even harder for middle-income kids to go to college by cutting student loans, and again, these are loans that must be paid back, not handouts. Why are you not up in arms if the way out of poverty is through education?

It used to be that the only sure path out of poverty and the only inoculation against poverty was a god education, but that has changed. Even highly educated engineers are seeing their jobs outsourced to places like India, and plenty of white-collar workers are getting the axe. You should read a book by Barbara Ehrenreich called “Bait and Switch.”

I’m not sure what the point of your rant on travel was. I have done my share of travel in a 20-year military career, and the travel was not for fun like yours was. I have lived in six different states and one foreign country and visited many more states and countries.

Like you, I have never considered myself poor, and I appreciate the opportunities this country has given me. So appreciative, in fact, that I wore a uniform to defend it.

Like you, I also grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood. My father retired from GM as a blue-collar worker and my mom worked as a cahier at a grocery store. There were six kids in my family, but we always had a TV, never wore rags and we always had enough to eat. All of my relatives also worked for a living, and almost all of them were blue-collar workers.

Although my home, the first and only home I have ever owned, is comfortable, I rarely use the air condition because of the cost. I don’t like coffee and I have never driven, much less owned, a Toyota.

Unlike you, I was never afraid of my parents, but I obeyed them and respected them. Another thing, too. My story is far from unique. I know this is true because I've met lots of them, and most of them are Democrats.

I agree with you when you say everyone needs a purpose in life, whether it’s taking care of kids, working a job or trying to get an education, but this administration’s policies only seem to care about the richest 5-10 percept of this country. For many people who want that job, it’s simply not there.

I don’t know where I ever said let everyone go to college for free, but I don’t see why college can only be for those who can afford it. I got news for you, kids do “ go to school so that they don't have to grow up and face reality for a few years.” Actually, that’s kind of the maturating process for many young people, and college is not just about classes, it's also about learning to be on their own and managing their money, time, workload and recreation without mom or dad constantly looking over their shoulder.

Sir, I am out there helping my fellow man. I resent some bozo like you who does not even know me suggesting otherwise. I have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Christmas in April and the Democratic Party just to name a few, and I do this while trying to make a living by working multiple jobs and raising a family. And you’re going to lecture me?

The problem with your rant about helping the poor by cutting taxes is that the only people whose taxes are being cut are the richest 1 percept in the U.S. I also don’t consider paying my taxes “money that the government steals from me.” I consider it one of the prices I pay for living in the greatest country in the world. It may not benefit me directly, but it helps pay for the military, the police, fire protection and to ensure a 90-year-old widow does not starve. I guess that’s why I resent it so much when corporations ship jobs or locate offshore to avoid paying taxes. They want to enjoy the bounty this country provides, but they refuse to pay their fair share.

Why is it that bush wants to cut the estate tax, but his latest budget cuts the death benefit from Social Security? This way, people like Paris Hilton can inherit more millions of dollars so that a middle or low-income family can’t get the $255 or so SS death benefit to help give their husband or father a decent burial. Shameful.

That’s why I’m a proud liberal.

Keith Richards said...

You should not throw out so many topics in one post, KevinS. If you really want to discuss 30 different things it would be better to break them down into different posts over 30 different days. I would sincerely enjoy writing a detailed response to each question on your long laundry list. Unfortunately, there is not enough room to discuss them all in one post, nor enough time to do them all in one day. Spread them out and stay tuned.

You've no doubt noticed, I love making an occasional jab at my opposition. I do this to keep things spicy and interesting, but no personal insult is intended. Obviously, if I poke fun at you I expect for you to poke fun back at me. In fact, I would be disappointed if you didn't poke fun back at me. I get a lot of laughs at the insults that friends think up for me. It's all fair and part of the game. It's all in fun.

So it's OK if you want to insult me and I'm SURE that I deserve it. I also don't care if you want to insult conservatives or Republicans in general. We are all adults and if we can't take a few insults we should not be discussing politics. But do try to be creative with your jabs, as we want these posts to be entertaining as well as factual and informative.

Never forget when writing that we really don't even know each other. I have a lot more friends that are Democrat than Republican. We have lots of wonderful arguments with frequent creative insults, but when it is over we are still friends. We always try to keep a civil tone, and when things start to get bitter we break off. It is better to maintain the friendship and save the battle for another day. Once I got into a heated discussion with a friend on a hot day, and we ended the argument by throwing glasses of water (water only, thank you!) at each other. Ahhh, what fun.

After all, it is possible for blacks, whites, asians, native Americans, etc . . . to all be friends with one another. It is possible for Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc . . . to all be friends with one another (at least in the U.S.A.) It is even possible for men and women to be friends with one another. Why should Republicans and Democrats hate each other, just because we hate each others politics? So keep this in mind. Who knows, aside from our political differences, we might actually have many other things in common. We might have even had a friendly conversation while waiting at an airport, or bumped into one another at a local festival. Who knows?

F.Y.I, I was raised a Democrat in a tough Democrat family, in a tough Democrat neighborhood. Before 1980 I never voted anything but Democrat, but since 1980 I've voted mostly Republican. Incidentally, I don't vote solid ticket. Every now and then a Republican comes along who for one reason or another bothers my conscience. There are some people that I just refuse to vote for, the heck with party politics. And while I do enjoy poking fun at Democrats in general, I have voted for a few moderate Democrats over the years. It is issues and positions on issues that matter most, not party politics.

It might also surprise you to know that I often disagree with both Republicans and Democrats on specific issues. In my book a bad idea is bad, regardless of the person that pushes it. For example, I totally oppose the idea put forward in the current budget to sell off some national land. Supporting President Bush does not mean that I support all his ideas (just most of them).

I tend to vote Republican because for the most part, I agree with them more frequently than Democrats. There are certain issues which are very important to me and I always carefully examine all candidates to see where they stand. There have been elections where I refused to vote for anyone running for a particular office because I found all choices to be distasteful. I have very strong and well defined principles and I search for candidates with the same key values as my own.

When I was younger and more foolish I once worked at a place that was unionized. Believe it or not, I even signed up to be a union organizer during the election. I've seen a lot of rough stuff in my life too, stuff I would like to forget. I've known a lot of people over the years that have served hard time in prison, and I've known a lot of people that lived off welfare after the program became popular in the 70's. In fact, I've got a number of ex-felons and welfare addicts (former and current) in my own family. I'm not ashamed to admit that I am NOT a trust fund baby, nor do I have any famous blood running through my veins. I spent about 10 years of my own life working in some very dirty, nasty, and low paying jobs. I've known a lot of days where I've had to worry about where I was going to get money to buy food, and what was going to happen when I was unable to pay my share of rent on time. The only advantage I've EVER had in life were parents that told me to stay out of trouble, or else. (I never did find out what the 'or else' is)

I am not an armchair intellectual. All of the opinions I've formed over the years are the result of my personal experiences and things which I have seen with my own eyes. I have a personal understanding of what it is like to live under other peoples boots. And I know from personal experience how to get out.

My wife and I live a pretty good middle class lifestyle these days. We drive decent American cars, have a modest home on a nice piece of land, and get regular meals. But I've earned every penny that I've spent since I was 18 and my wife has earned every penny that she has spent since she got out of college. Neither one of us inherited any money. I've never even collected any unemployment even though I've been unemployed many times. I just don't feel that it is right to take money from the government if I can live without it. I always find a way to support myself, even if it means taking a dirty nasty job that I hate. If I don't earn enough money, I cut back on my lifestyle until it IS enough. I believe in personal responsibility and self-sufficiency and I live what I believe.

I feel no guilt. I've done my due and worked my way up. My lifestyle is very modest compared to many of the other people here in Livingston County but I am very proud of what I have done with my life. I started out with nothing and have gotten no help along the way. I've always worked hard to live an honest and honorable life. I've never cheated anyone or stolen anything. I've never made excuses for my failures or blamed anyone else for my mistakes. I always treat other people with respect even when I have to mentally hold my nose. People should always be treated with respect. Whenever possible I do whatever I can to help out other people. In my family I have a lot of opportunities, more than I can handle personally. Anytime I give something to someone in need, whether it is time or a material good, it always goes packaged with "tough love". I've learned a lot about how to get ahead in life and I work to teach people the self-respect, self-sufficiency, and personal responsibility needed to straighten out their lives. Giving people handouts does not help anyone crawl out of the ghetto. Teaching them how to be responsible does.

My pet peeves with people like Edward Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and all the rest of their crowd is that they constantly preach at me about what it is like to live in the bottom bracket of society. These trust fund babies that have never missed a meal in their lives, or worried about how they are going to pay rent. These rich kids that had their way paid through expensive private schools and universities by their rich relatives. These are the people running around trying to tell us how these problems need to be addressed. Yeah, it is true that there are a lot of rich Republicans, too, and they bug me just as much with their fake sympathy. Everyone expects there to be a lot of wealthy Republicans in politics. But why don't Democrats put their money where their mouth is and send some leaders to Washington that were not born with a silver spoon hanging down their chin?

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being rich. But I believe that people need to have some credibility before going around preaching to others. To me, rich people don't have much credibility when talking about poverty. If only we all lacked the credibility needed to understand poverty.

It is true that Ronald Reagan is a big hero of mine. But Ronald Reagan lived a hero's life. Unlike John Kerry and Al Gore, he did not have to invent a past in order to relate to common people. He was born into a middle class family and came of age during the depression. Ronald Reagan knew what it was like to live without, but he managed to get through college anyway. He worked in broadcasting until he made it big in Hollywood, and he never forgot his roots even after he got rich. Ronald Reagan knew that it took hard work, self-respect, and personal responsibility to be successful and he always tried to instill these values in others. Ronald Reagan loved poor people so much that he wanted to inspire and push them so that they too could experience success. He was not against welfare. He believed that it should be used as a temporary tool to help get out of the muck of poverty. Real cruelty is allowing people to live on welfare for life. And if you personally knew as many people on welfare that I've known over the years, you would believe that too.

Ronald Reagan was a Democrat for the first half of his life, and he was once a Union President. In the 1960's Ronald Reagan changed parties. He was always careful to point out that he did not leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left him. I can explain my transition in much the same way.

The pivotal year was 1980. I had supported Carter in 1976 over Gerald Ford, even while living in Michigan. I also supported Carter throughout much of his 4 years in office. At that time the unemployment rate in Michigan was running over 10 percent and rising rapidly, interest rates were up over 20% on most loans, and the inflation rate was hovering in the mid-teens.

Carter had botched the situation with Iran and our embassy personnel were being held hostage in our own embassy, by so called students, while the Iranian government stood by and refused to do anything. Carter sent in a rescue mission but it failed because our equipment broke down from lack of maintenance. Later investigation revealed that there were no spare parts available because of Carter's defense cutbacks.

It was very clear to me that our nation was in crisis and Jimmy Carter had no answers. I liked Jimmy Carter personally but I simply did not trust him to run the country anymore.

I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980. At the time I was, like many voters, uncertain what to make of him. But I was very impressed with his leadership in office and it was the inspiration I received from his leadership that helped me to find a home in the Republican party.

The keystone of Republican beliefs is personal responsibility, and this is one of the key differences between Democrats and Republicans in general. Unfortunately, our modern society puts less and less importance on personal responsibility. There are even high level Republican candidates that have abandoned the principle of personal responsibility, and I refuse to support these individuals political ambitions.

Personal responsibility is all about accepting credit for things done well and accepting criticism for things done poorly. Republicans believe that people should make a sincere effort to support themselves, and that comforts are a reward for hard work. In spite of all the gloom and doom that we see in the media, Republicans are not opposed to helping others out, either. A key difference is that Republicans view welfare as a temporary program that individuals should use for survival while overcoming setbacks in their life. Democrats are happy to allow families to live on welfare for life and for generation after generation. It is OK to help out but you can't overlook an individual's responsibility to take care of himself.

A good example of personal responsibility (and lack of) came in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. We see that in Republican dominated areas people took responsibility for getting themselves to safety, and Republican leaders helped out people who lacked the resources to leave. In Democrat controlled areas we saw a lot of people that sat around and waited for someone else to rescue them, even those that should have been able to get themselves to safety.

And the Democrat leaders? They abdicated their personal responsibility to help their less capable citizens. What we saw in New Orleans was nothing less than stunning. A large percentage of the police and fire workers abandoned the city. Local Democrat leaders did essentially nothing as the water rose, except to go on TV and complain that Republicans were not doing anything to rescue them. Yeah, the feds should have responded more quickly. But if I am standing on a railroad track and a training is heading for me at high speed, I take the personal responsibility to get myself out of the way of the train. I don't wait for an authority figure to come along and tell me to move. Personal responsibility applies to many aspects of our lives but it especially applies to the most critical of our needs - personal safety.

Everyone in New Orleans capable of moving under their own power should have gotten out as quickly as possible, especially when it became clear that the city was flooding. We should have seen a lot more New Orleans residents trying to help save their neighbors. And we should have seen a city government doing everything possible to help with the resources they had available. Whatever fault that the feds bear for their poor response, the fact still remains that the local elected leadership let their citizens down. First they let them down by not having a good emergency plan in place. Then they let them down by not training their personnel to implement that emergency plan. They also failed by not instilling in their emergency personnel the loyalty to stay and help out rather than fleeing to save their own butts. And if the City of New Orleans had put a good flood emergency plan in place, KNOWING that it might happen someday, much of the crisis would have been avoided.

There were many questions that go unanswered. Why did the City of New Orleans not have several days of emergency supplies on hand, as instructed by FEMA? Why did they not station some police in the Superdome to keep order? In a city with thousands of police, they could not find a few dozen officers to help maintain control? Why did Nagen not use all the buses that were later ruined by floodwaters to evacuate people? There is no evidence that he even made an effort to do this. Why did he not have drivers available as part of his emergency plan?

To me New Orleans is a clear example of what happens when citizens and locally elected leaders refuse to take personal responsibility for their own safety. It is interesting that President Bush and went on national T.V. and accepted responsibility for what went wrong but I never heard any of the Louisiana or New Orleans Democrats admit that they too screwed up. I guess Democrats just don't make mistakes.

9/11 is another interesting case. For years, airline passengers were taught not to interfere with hijackers (i.e. to take personal responsibility for their own safety) The hijackers knew this and exploited this weakness to hijack the airliners. The 4th hijacking failed to reach its target when passengers realized that government could not protect them and took personal responsibility to stop the hijackers. Tragically, the hijackers were already in control of the airplane at that point. The passengers were unable to regain control, but they were able to stop the hijackers from reaching their target. This is the power of personal responsibility.

You can bet that there will not be any more hijackings like this in the future. People now know that they can't rely on government to protect them so they will be more aggressive in protecting themselves. That is what personal responsibility is all about.

There is an issue of personal responsibility involved with the GM/Ford crisis right now.

(Incidentally, I DID say that Ford and GM cars are just as good as the competition, if not better, AND lower priced besides. but I stand by my opinion that their designs lack creativity, an opinion shared by most auto analysts and auto industry reporters)

Consider the companies. For years they agreed to give workers fabulous benefits in retirement, and to allow them to retire after 30 years (potentially at age 48). But the auto companies failed to invest money while those workers were still building cars. THAT is a failure of personal responsibility on the part of auto company management. Unfortunately, accounting rules did not require companies to set aside money to pay for future costs of promises, or even reflect the future impact of those promises on financial statements. I wish we could hold the individuals criminally responsible for their actions but what they did was not a crime.

In my opinion, this crisis was completely predictable and avoidable. Clearly the management of Ford and GM made a lot of very bad decisions over the years and bear the lions share of the burden for the current crisis.

The UAW also bears some of the blame. Having once been involved with a union myself I understand perfectly their line of thinking. Basically, their job was to get as much for employees as possible and in this they did a great job. And I don't even blame them for this, since management was being very generous with its own compensation. The UAW went after all it could get, and the management at the "big 3" rolled over and played dead at the bargaining table when it should have been controlling costs. But good leadership at the UAW would have understood the long term consequences of their actions. Perhaps instead of negotiating to get so many goodies for union members, they should have put pressure on management to run the business in a more responsible manner.

If management had been less generous with its own compensation it would have been able to keep hourly compensation down to a more reasonable level. And if they had used the money they saved to improve their cars, rather than waiting for the government and foreign competition to force them to, we would not be worried about their survival today.

Yeah, management and union alike got fat during the rich years. But they forgot to maintain their competitive edge and now we are all paying for the consequences.

Incidentally, I have many friends and family members that work for or have retired from the Big 3, and their criticism of both management and the union is much more intense and colorful than mine. They understand more than anyone how they were sold out by leaders trying to milk the companies for as much cream as possible. It is not a good deal to have wonderful compensation for one or two generations if it means unemployment for the kids and grandkids.

As for who buys foreign cars, it is pretty interesting to see the stats. If you overlay a map of areas that vote heavily Democrat with a showing where most of the foreign cars are, you will see that the northeast and west coast "blue" areas buy the most foreign cars per capita. Far fewer foreign built cars are sold in rural and suburban areas of the south and mid-west, which are the Republican strongholds of the U.S. Southerners in particular are very loyal about buying American made goods. It is a smart move for the Japanese to build their plants in the south because now Southerners feel free to buy locally built Japanese brand cars.

Personally I will continue my policy of buying products made by local companies whenever possible; with cars specifically Ford and GM. When I can't buy products made in Michigan I will always try to buy products made in the U.S. over products made overseas. This is getting harder and harder all the time, though.

In my personal experience, I know a lot more Republicans that go out of their way to "Buy American" than Democrats. But this is an issue that crosses political boundaries and we should all encourage friends, relatives, and our leaders to buy American made goods. If more people would put their money where their mouth is and insist on buying American goods, American companies would be setting up new factories in the U.S. rather than overseas. But as long as people say "buy American" while picking up "Made in China" junk from Kmart to save a few dollars, companies will keep leaving the U.S. The power to change this is in the hands of consumers. If we want the U.S. to remain a manufacturing stronghold, we need to get consumers to vote with their dollars.

Incidently, there is nothing to stop rich Democrats from using their wealth to support their values. Can't buy a specific good made in America? Why don't some of these rich libs takes some of their wealth and show "greedy Republicans" how to make these goods on U.S. soil at a profit? Maybe they know they won't be able to make money either? Yeah, it is easy for rich Democrats to sit around and browbeat companies for relocating overseas. Lets see a few of them risk their own wealth to show the rest of us how it is done. Wouldn't that be taking some personal responsibility for the problem?

There is a program on the travel channel that visits U.S. companies all over America in order to feature their products. Some of the companies featured on this show prove that it is sometimes possible to get Americans to pay premium prices for locally made goods. And deciding to buy locally made American goods over cheap foreign junk is another example of taking personal responsibility for our own future.