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Green-Day November 14, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Local, National, Politics.
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Is this the beginning of something meaningful, or just an oasis of change?

Read this article to find out what I’m talking about…

The recent election was a strong performance for the Green party on a State and Local level.  The Green candidate for Governor, Rich Whitney, garnered significant support in his bid this November, and local candidates Futrelle and Yfantis were able to grab over 20% of the votes in their respective county board races.

I find this to be very interesting.  I’m not sure if this is a long term trend or just a temporary displeasure with the two major parties.  Personally, I think the Green party is very promising.  I just don’t know if enough other people feel the same way.

Another interesting topic in the article was instant runoff voting.  I’m not sure I get the whole gist of it from the article, but it sounds like an interesting option.  I think primaries are a joke anyway.

Hopefully the Green party continues to make improved showings, because until the two major parties start losing votes, they’ll never change.

Oh, by the way, here was my favorite quote from the article:

The Republican leadership is being “held accountable for some of its failed policies in Iraq,” while Democrats are not proving an alternative to corporate sponsorship of politics, he said.  (quoting Futrelle)

That is a dead money quote.  It couldn’t be more accurate in my opinion.

What do you think of the Green party?  They’re staying power?


Post-Election Thoughts… November 9, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Local, National, Politics.
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I’m a little late with this one, but oh well. Overall, I’m not really shocked by election night.

Basically the people I expected won. The only “surprises” were Frerichs winning in the 52nd and Beckett and Wysocki POUNDING Farney and the rest of the competition in County Board District 9.

On the state level, the Greens had an excellent showing. I’m not sure if that is because of their positions or the disappointment in the 2 major parties. My guess is the later.

I’m disappointed that no Greens could grab a spot on the County Board. The few Green party folks I’ve met are extremely nice, and would infuse a new, different, and fresh perspective to the County Board.

Nationally, the war in Iraq is obviously taking its toll on the Republican party. I didn’t think it was going to hurt republicans that bad, but I think it clearly did.  As this story indicates, Dems now control the house and senate.
Please feel free to post your thoughts.

Negative Campaign Ads October 31, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Local, National, Politics.
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Read this article from the AP.
Here are my favorite bits:

So far this campaign, the political parties have exposed voters to nearly $160 million in ads attacking congressional candidates. How much spent painting a positive image? About $17 million.

The message ingrained in such a disparity in numbers: Don’t vote for a candidate; vote against the opponent.

At this point, Republicans have spent $87.5 million to oppose candidates and Democrats have spent $72.6 million. But the edge on negativity, according to independent analyses of the ads, goes to the GOP.

“Negative ads only work in two situations — when you are incredibly desperate or when you’re incredibly close to the end,” said Ray Seidelman, a professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College who has studied political advertising and voter turnout.

I’m sure most of you can relate to this story.  Every person I’ve talked to about the 52nd Ads is ill over all the negative talk.  I guess I can’t figure out why campaign managers/staffers don’t get it.  I mean, 99% of people hate the negative ads, so why run them?  Cause your candidate stinks?  You’ve got nothing else to talk about?  Or do they really work?

I’ve got my opinions, for local and national races, what about you?

Read this… October 4, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.
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….Newsweek article. I actually found it to be a rather middle-of-the-road piece about the battle for the House this November.

I’m sure some of you are wondering how Newsweek (most would say it’s part of the liberal media) could publish such a piece, but it really is a good read.  I would suggest reading it if you’re interested in the House races specifically or just political workings in general.

Here are some of my favorite quotes/snippets from the article:

As has been the case since Bill Clinton left town, the Republicans have the organizational and financial advantage.

Only in the Democratic Party would campaign officials need to sign a written peace treaty, which Dean and Emanuel did last week.

He has carefully studied the GOP’s expensive, cutting-edge voter “outreach” program. Using huge databases, it connects like-minded people by using market research to develop profiles of their interests and concerns. The aim is to re-create an over-the-back-fence digital/personal endorsement.

“People are really beginning to understand that the House is really competitive and Democrats have a real chance to win,” says Ickes.

Let me know what you think…

This pisses me off…. September 26, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

read this and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

And this quote, from Sen. Arlen Specter,  makes me sick to my stomach:

My instinct is once the (November) election is over there will be a lot more hard thinking about what to do about Iraq and a lot more candid observations about it.

I have family in the service.  Family which served a tour of duty in the first Iraq war, and fortunately has not had to go this time.  I’d want to personally BLAST ANY congressman who puts a f%&*ing election before our troops.  There are all sorts of political types who want to paint those anti-war folks as anti-american.  Sure, some may fit that mold, but by and large all Americans wans our troops to come home SAFE.  Forget the anti-war folks, I have a bigger problem with a congressperson waiting until after an election to get serious about troop safety, withdrawal, etc.  The troops should never be used as a political tool.

What have U.S. politics come to?  Personally, if Specter’s comments are true (Sadly, I think they are), to the most disgraceful level I can recall.  I’m not calling out a specific party either, because they are ALL to blame.

I cringe every time I read a story like this one.  The problem is, I’ve been reading an awful lot of them lately.

I’m not advocating a quick withdrawal of military from Iraq.  That would be foolish.  And, honestly, I actually supported going into Iraq in the first place and voted to re-elect Bush in 2004.

My problem is the lack of initial planning which has hampered this war.  I think its clear that we had little to no strategy on setting up a government, and the rebuilding of the country.  I think we clearly underestimated the efforts needed and unfortunately our troops are paying the price now.

Rush is an IDIOT… September 21, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Local, National, Politics.

I listen to bits and pieces of Rush Limbaugh on a daily basis. I keep contemplating the need for a clinical evaluation, but I figure it’s just my open mindedness getting the better of me.

Tuesday I was listening to Rush and he made this absurd comment (I’m paraphrasing, but this is very close to original. I’d love for a Rush subsciber to give me the exact text!):

“Democrats can do all the voter registration drives they want. They can register thousands and thousands of voters, but their cumulative intelligence will be the same as the eraserhead of a pencil.”

Basically, he was saying Democrats are stupid (which he stated several times) and un-informed about politics. He then proceeded to talk about how Democrat voters were duped by a Republican mailing (which he deemed a joke and found quite humorous) that stated election day was on wednesday instead of tuesday. I guess that was his justification for Democrat voters being stupid. I understand his point about the mailing, but seriously, why stereotype every single Dem voter?

I hate to re-hash history, but this is the same guy who stated the following about Donovan McNabb (a black NFL quarterback) while an employee of ESPN:

“The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well”, Limbaugh said. “There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”

Yeah, nevermind the fact that McNabb is/was one of the top 10 QBs in the league with almost no supporting cast on offense. However, I guess stereotyping is just another day on the job for Rush. As such, I shouldn’t be surprised with his latest comments.  Let me put the shoe on the other foot for a moment; so that means Rush is a pain-killer/meds addict who is put on a pedestal by all republicans.  Also, every Republican who registers to vote is a toothless, imbred, hillbilly who loves to shop at wal-mart, and drink beer.

All I can say is, WOW, what an idiot. I apologize for picking on such a Republican icon, but comments like this are ludicrous. Rush does have some great points (especially about the media), and he usually backs them with source information. That’s what I listen for. It’s the times where he give his opinions that I change the channel.

PS:  My comments above are to illustrate a point, and are not intended to be read as truth; merely to illustrate my point. 

George Bush is the DEVIL!!! September 20, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

Honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard that Hugo Chavez (Venezuelan President) called George W. Bush the devil during a speech he gave at the U.N. today.  Click here to view the video.  Absolutely priceless.  I can’t stand this Chavez guy, but this was extremely funny.  Politics at its best.

All I could think of was the Adam Sandler movie, The Waterboy, where Kathy Bates (who plays Sandler’s Mom in the movie) keeps calling everything the devil.

Here is the perfect clip, just insert George Bush instead of Ben Franklin!

Go here to listen to more Waterboy clips.

Anniversary: Hurricane Katrina August 29, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina coming ashore in the Gulf region.  This isn’t the type of anniversary that you celebrate. This anniversary is the antithesis of what most of us associate an anniversary with; the celebration of something good or positive that happened in our lives. No, this anniversary does not connect on any of those levels.

When we remember Hurricane Katrina, we’ll think about the largest displacement of Americans since the dust bowl era. We’ll remember the EXTREMELY PATHETIC response from our federal government. Those memories will also remind us of the lack of preparedness on the local level, in Louisiana (New Orleans more specifically) and elsewhere.

I’m no Bush-hater, please understand that.  Honestly, I actually like the guy.  That said, anyone who thinks the federal response was even adequate….get a life.  This was quite honestly the most embarrasing time to be an American.  Other countries around the world saw the futility of our government during this disaster.  Anyone with a brain could tell you this was a joke of an effort.  FEMA being ran by a former member of the International Arabian Horse Association, was probably the biggest mistake.  The government waiting 4 days to get into the area, another HUGE mistake; along with countless other blunders along the way.  I’d be here for days covering all of them.
Simply put, this whole ordeal reeked of failure from the word go.

It’s real easy for most folks to point the finger at Bush and say “it’s all his fault”.  That’s too easy.  The local authorites, Nagin (mayor of New Orleans), Blanco (Gov. of Louisiana), they should also be seated at the “EXTREMELY PATHETIC” table right next to Bush and the rest of the federal guppies that couldn’t give their all for the people of the Gulf.  Not to mention all of the idiots who looted, didn’t heed proper warnings to evacuate, etc.
I mean seriously, what the HELL were all these people thinking?

The most powerful country in the world couldn’t take care of itself in the face of a hurricane.  A hurricane that we knew about DAYS in advance.  This isn’t like a tornado where you might only have 15 minutes to prepare.  This hurricane was known about well in advance and no one wanted to do anything about it.

Could you imagine the response if a hurricane hit Texas?  We would have seen nothing short of a full-scale invasion of resources to get Texas back on track.  You can guarantee that one.  Take a look at 9/11.  Obviously, not the same type of situation, and I wouldn’t directly compare the two situations.  However, the effort by all the entities involved with 9/11 has been completely polar opposite when compared to New Orleans and the Gulf area.   I won’t blame racial or social implications, but I can see why others would sing that tune.

I’m sure you’ll get bombarded with Katrina stuff today, but here are some links on Hurricane Katrina coverage:

Yahoo! Coverage

MSNBC Coverage

BBC Coverage

American Red Cross Donation Page 

In the end, we can all hope, pray, and wish the best for our fellow Americans in New Orleans and the entire Gulf Region.

Please post your comments, thoughts, ideas here. 

Social Security August 22, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

I’m not close to retirement, but I’m not stupid enough to think I’m going to be able to live off of social security when I actually hit retirement.

So, I’ve been trying my best to find the latest info on the current status of the social security program in the U.S. I found some interesting, yet scary statistics on the White House website.

Let me preface by saying that some Dems have questioned these statistics, but for my money, I’d rather be safe than sorry. If the estimates are 5 or 10 years premature, that doesn’t correct the problem; it just delays it. But, here’s a good factcheck.org article giving their opinion on some of Bush’s typical rallying points.

Here are some of the stats that I pulled from this webpage on the White House website:

  • For one-third of Americans over 65, Social Security benefits constitute 90% of their total income.
  • In 1950, there were 16 workers to support every one beneficiary of Social Security.
  • Today, there are only 3.3 workers supporting every Social Security beneficiary.

Here’s the BAD news:

  • Under the current system, today’s 30-year-old worker will face a 27% benefit cut when he or she reaches normal retirement age.
  • Just 13 years from now, in 2017, the government will begin to pay out more in Social Security benefits than it collects in payroll taxes – and shortfalls then will grow larger with each passing year.
  • By the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra $200 billion a year to keep the system afloat.
  • By 2033, the annual shortfall will be more than $300 billion a year.
  • By 2041, when workers in their mid-20s begin to retire, the system will be bankrupt – unless we act now to save it.

The GOOD news is:

  • Social Security is sound for today’s seniors and for those nearing retirement.

Sorry, if I put a damper on your day. However, don’t be pessimistic. We have the power to affect change on this issue. Be sure to quiz your candidates on what they intend to do about social security and don’t count on the government to be your only means of financial stability come retirement. It sounds crazy with the way life is, but start doing whatever you can now to help yourself later.

I apologize, but after those depressing stats; I had to give a little pep talk. I hate presenting such negative information, but people need to realize that this is a REAL problem in order for it to get corrected.

President Bush has talked about privatizing the social security system. He was all over this issue last year, but this year it has taken a back seat. Or so it seems (ignore partisan angles in the article, just pick out the facts). And, judging by the page on the White House website (the one I linked you to), there have been no newsworthy updates in the past year. Maybe he’s holding off until after these upcoming November elections to pick the issue up again; I’m really not sure. Kind of weird though, considering this was supposed to be a “top priority” during his time in office.

I’m not against privatization, and I would welcome the ability to have control over MY money. I just haven’t heard enough detailed information to sell me completely, and at this point, almost anything would be worth a try considering the state of the current system (see stats above).

The last few administrations have been talking about social security reform, and not doing anything about it. I’m glad they’ve at least talked about it, which has helped to raise awareness, but talk is cheap as far as this issue is concerned. And considering Bush is on his way out and has his plate full with Iraq, and whatever else, he’ll be lucky to accomplish anything on this in his remaining time in office.

Personally, my plans for retirement are as if social security never existed. I figure that’s the smartest thing at this point. However, I’ll still be really pissed if there isn’t SOME benefit for me by the time I get to retirement. Especially considering I’ll pay into the system for over 50 years of my life.

Sorry for the length, but this is an issue that I feel should be important to everyone.

Feel free to express your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and/or vent about the social security quandary that is or isn’t (depending on your viewpoint).

PS: Here’s a link to the Social Security Website, which has benefit calculators, etc to help you with your retirement planning.

Pat Robertson says what? August 4, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

This is my attempt at humor for a friday, please bear with me.

Well, it appears as if the heat finally got to Conservative Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson of the 700 Club.

The heat has got him so out of sorts that he now believes in global warming…..here’s the story.

For those of you keeping score at home, Pat used to believe that human-caused global warming, DID NOT EXIST. But the recent heat wave made him rethink his position.

And I quote:

“We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels,” Robertson said on his “700 Club” broadcast. “It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air.”


Robertson said that was “the most convincing evidence I’ve seen on global warming in a long time.”

So Pat, is it only considered global warming when it’s really, really, really, hot outside? Or, do you just not have a clue what you’re talking about?
I’m sorry if I’m picking on Pat Robertson, but I found this story somewhat amusing. I just didn’t know sweltering heat was the solution for non-believers to all of a sudden believe in global warming.

I bet the President is afraid to leave the A/C at the White House for fear of a revelation similar to Pat’s. I can hear him now “Condi, don’t let me leave the building. If you hear me start talking about global warming, and saving the earth’s atmosphere; rush me to the nearest air conditioned room.”

Well, like I said. A weak effort, but I’m easily amused…. 🙂

Offshore Drilling August 3, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.
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This was a hot topic on the web yesterday and today.

Personally, I like the US being less dependent on the middle east for oil. I like that, I really do.

I also cringe when I see the possibility of oil rigs being 50 miles from the coast. Not to mention the fact of the powerful hurricanes that pound these areas each season.

I can be okay with this opening of the seas to more drilling, but I worry about the ecological effects. Take the New Orleans area as an example. They were clearly not prepared when Katrina hit for a variety of reasons. One reason being they let their natural ecological defenses fade away, (read this article for the details) and they paid the price for it. Hopefully we are cautious and mindfull of the destruction that can be caused with respect to the environment, and with respect to those who live in coastal areas, when we undertake these new drilling opportunities.

NOTE: National Geographic has several great articles on the New Orleans area and the pitfalls that were abound before Katrina. A lot of them were wrote a year or so before Katrina, which is pretty scary. It’s almost like they knew it was coming.

Minimum Wage Increase July 28, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

Here’s one story.

And a quote:

Democrats have been pushing to increase the minimum wage, now at $5.15-per-hour, in three 70-cent increments to total $7.25 by January 1, 2009.

Personally, I’m all for it. Think about those getting paid $5.15 per hour, with gas $3 a gallon. I don’t make the minimun and gas is a HUGE strain on my budget.  Not to mention all the other everday items that are inflated in price.

I’m sure this will also be a huge expense for businesses to take on, but businesses should be able to recoup the difference in various methods (increase prices, decrease expenses, etc).

Also, if you know anything about running a business, you’re people ARE your business; so why not pay’em?

Those Funny Congressman… July 25, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

Check out this story

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good joke and I’m all for politicians being normal and not the stiff, rigormortis types we often get these days.

However, I have to say this is not humor:

A bemused Wexler looked into the camera and said, “I enjoy cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do.”

Or this:

A follow-up in the complete-the-sentence questioning led to this comment: “I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons … because it’s a fun thing to do. If you combine the two together, it’s probably even more fun.”

Evidently, Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida, thought it would be funny to do this skit on Stephen Colbert’s Comedy Central Show. Colbert asked Wexler to say a few things that would “really lose the election for you if you were contested.”

Wexler eventually said his teenage children thought this of his performance:

“They thought I was foolish.”

Well, I guess it’s a good thing he’s uncontested this fall. And seriously, it wasn’t even funny.

Abortion Revisited July 24, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

On Friday, the Senate was discussing a bill “that would make it a federal crime to take a teenager across state lines to end a pregnancy without a parent’s knowledge.”

Here’s the full article.

The bills are S. 403 and H.R. 748.

Ah, the abortion debate. One of the most, if not the most controversial issues that can be discussed. It doesn’t make a bit of difference where you discuss this issue, it’s always a touchy subject.

Now, in reference to this particular set of proposed bills, I think this is a no-brainer. Not a no-brainer for abortion sake, but for the simple fact of taking a child to another state without a parent’s permission. I’d like to relate that to kidnapping, and or illegitimate behavior and should be punishable or illegal. I guess where it could be tricky is when the teenager goes with a family member, but even then I think it’s not right for someone to be taking a kid anywhere without a parent’s knowledge.

As far as abortion itself, I’m honestly confused about where to stand. I’m definetely pro-life, because I don’t think we should use abortion as an alternative for birth control measures. However, I have such strong feelings for rape/incest victims who probably didn’t have any choice.

I’m also skeptical about some sort of hybrid program that would allow rape/incest cases to be aborted, because there are so many extraneous factors that would limit the enforcement and effectiveness. I mean, would you have to have a conviction of rape before you allowed the abortion, because the way the legal system progresses you’d never get a verdict in time. If you didn’t have a conviction as a standard, girls who wanted out could simply say “rape” and be off the hook.

Well, it’s a tricky subject, but one we should think about. We have congressional races being voted on this November and these future congressmen/women could be determining this issue for us sometime soon.

I’d like to see where our candidates for Senate/House races stand on this issue. I’d also like to see/read what YOU all think about these proposed bills, and IF WE CAN BE CIVIL AND INTELLIGENT abortion law in general.

Welfare Improvements? July 19, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.
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USA Today had an interesting article related to the welfare system and how it’s progressed since it’s overhaul 10 years ago.

Click here to read the article yourself, or follow along for my review.

First, let me say that I found this article extremely interesting. I think I found it so fascinating because we always hear the stereotypical remarks about the welfare system and this article debunked some of the common myths I’ve heard about. Let me say that I had the following stereotypes about the people on welfare prior to reading this article; not trying to work just collecting free money, mostly non-caucasian, and they usually had 3 or more children.

Here is the current ethnic breakdown of those currently on welfare: 38% black, 33% white, and 24% Hispanic.

Well, that removes one of my preconceived notions already. Whites are only 5% behind blacks and way ahead of the hispanic numbers.

Back in 1996 President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act:

The law, modeled on state pilot programs begun in 1994 with federal approval, was intended to prod welfare mothers and fathers into the workplace with a series of carrots and sticks. Work, and you got help with child care, job training, transportation. Refuse, and you risked sanctions and being cut off by time limits.

This debunks the first myth I had about the work aspect of the welfare program. President Bush has also required more stringent guidelines on the work aspect of welfare.

The article states that the welfare caseloads have declined by nearly 58% since the overhaul in 1996. A huge victory, but there have been other setbacks along the way:

  • Most of the women who left welfare remain in low-paying, unskilled jobs.
  • More than half of those still on welfare aren’t looking for work, honing their skills or going to school. (which led to Bush’s more stringent guidelines.)
  • More than half of those eligible for welfare payments don’t get them — a sign, critics say, that the new system discourages people who need help from applying.
  • While welfare was trimmed, other parts of the nation’s social safety net were expanding. The number of people receiving Medicaid and food stamps has soared by 50% since 2000. Medicaid is now the nation’s largest entitlement program, with 53 million recipients; 25 million people get food stamps.

Here is a great chart listing the state by state breakdowns since the overhaul.

Overall, a great article and a good read. They also had some stories about some of the welfare families and how they’ve fared over the years.

Any thoughts or opinions on the welfare system?

Stem Cell Research July 18, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.
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The Republican controlled Senate approved a bill that President Bush is promising to veto (which would be his first veto in office).

Here’s a summary of the bill:

Would lift President Bush’s executive order blocking federal funding for any stem cell research using embryonic stem cell lines developed after Aug. 9, 2001. To qualify for federal funding under the bill, newer embryos could be used in studies only if they:

  • Were created for the purposes of fertility treatment.
  • Were donated by in vitro fertilization clinics with written, informed consent of those being being treated.
  • Were “in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking such treatment” and would never be implanted in a woman.
  • Would otherwise be discarded, as determined by those seeking treatment.
  • Were not donated by patients induced to do so by financial or other incentives.

Source: “The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005,” H.R. 810.

Stem cell research boasts many possible benefits, but it also brings ethical and moral baggage also.

Do the possible benefits outweigh the moral and ethical issues involved? Should federal funding be used for this research? Or should this be relegated to private industry?

More Mideast Warfare… July 13, 2006

Posted by j-dub in National, Politics.

Israel is currently launching military attacks in the Gaza Strip and in Lebanon. This is a problem.

Why is this happening? Well, obviously the Holy Land has been a war ravaged area since the Crusades of medieval times. However, this particular spat is Israel retaliating about the following:

“Israel’s target was Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant Shiite faction which has a free hand in southern Lebanon and also holds seats in parliament. Hezbollah sparked the current conflict Wednesday with a cross-border raid that captured two of Israel’s soldiers. Two Israeli civilians and eight Israeli soldiers have also been killed, the military’s highest death toll in four years.”

(source: click here)

Of course, we the United States are defending Israel and their actions. The U.S. has vetoed a UN resolution that would have demanded Israel halt their military actions in the region. Basically, it sounds as if we vetoed because the resolution wasn’t fair to Israel.

“The draft, sponsored by Qatar, accused Israel of a “disproportionate use of force” that endangered Palestinian civilians, and demanded Israel withdraw its troops from Gaza.

The United States was alone in voting against the resolution. Ten of the 15 Security Council nations voted in favor, and four abstained.”

(source: click here)


President Bush even made the following statement in support of the Israelis:

“Israel has a right to defend herself,” Bush said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Every nation must defend herself against terrorist attacks and the killing of innocent life.”

(source: click here)

As you would expect, crude oil is up over $76/barrell, and the stock market is diving hard (167 point drop). (source: click here)

I’m really getting tired of the U.S. always going to bat for Israel. I know there is a lot of history to look at, but c’mon this is getting tiring.

Personally, this latest bit is enough to scare me. The Israelis are threatening all sorts of people (most notably the Syrians and Iranians) if they interfere. As volatile as the mideast is already, this is the last thing anyone needs.

How do you feel about this? How does it affect us locally? Or do you think this is another run of the mill mideast episode to not worry about? What are your thoughts?