What's the deal with this lunatic at Burger King? The first time I saw this plastic faced weirdo he was sitting silently in some guy's bed waiting for him to wake up so he could offer him a breakfast sandwich. The current commercial has him stalking around outside some other guy's window waiting to ambush him with a sandwich when he pulls back the curtains. I don't know about anyone else, but I get creeped out by plastic faced mascots when they lay in waiting with 700 calorie breakfast sandwiches.
Perhaps my unease is due to the time in '77 when Grimace and the Hamburglar beat me up for my lunch money and forced me to eat Egg McMuffins until I got a stomachache. That bastard Mayor Mcheese just laughed when I complained.
I know this, though. I'm not going near a Burger King as long as there is a chance this freak could jump me and force eggs and sausage on me. You've got to be careful about these things.
Lately I've been perplexed by some of the decisions being made in Washington. The Republican party controls the White House and both houses of Congress but you wouldn't know it from the choices being made. When George W. Bush took power in January 2001, the country was running a surplus that was projected to last at least ten years and was actually paying down the nearly 6 trillion dollar debt. Now, a scant four years later we are back to running deficits every year and the debt has increased to more than 7 trillion dollars. One of the prinicpals of conservativism is fiscal conservatism, or the belief that taxpayers should pay as little tax as possible. This administration seems to be ignorant of this.
Large sums of money are being spent on the war in Iraq, rebuilding Iraq, The War on Terror (listed separately because I don't believe they are the same thing), the missile defense system and now the President is talking about borrowing trillions of dollars for Social Security. Mind you, not to finance Social Security's projected shortfall, but to finance the private accounts that give users investment choices.
Where are the cries for fiscal responsibility from the Republican party? Being in charge is supposed to be about more than trying to rush all of your ideas through before you get voted out of power. Where are the conservatives that recognize the danger of allowing the United States to get too far in debt? Our economic soundness is based on our ability to borrow money from other countries. That seems like a precarious position.
If you ran your household like this, borrowing money every month and spending more money than you bring in every month, you would go bankrupt. Why aren't the fiscal conservatives of the Republican party howling?
According to firgures available at www.federalbudget.com, interest payments on the debt for fiscal year 2004 totaled 322 billion dollars. People complain about NASA's budget being a waste but it was only 19 billion dollars. Ask yourself how much lower your personal income taxes would be if that 322 billion dollars wasn't being wasted on servicing debt interest. Haven't we been told that lower taxes are a pillar of the Republican party?
Don't fret though, the Republican party isn't just sitting back and doing nothing. They've been busy making it harder to file for personal bankruptcy, want to extend special protection from lawsuits to the gun indsutry (S 397/ HR 800), made it harder to file class action lawsuits and resisting raising the minimum wage even though every living expense has increased since the last raise.
The Republican Party is on a spending spree that will sink us all into debt. It's well past time they started to practice what they preach.
Okay, so that picture isn't from here, but it could be if it rained hard enough. Honestly, driving on Meridian Rd. in Austintown has become a nightmare. As you approach these gaping holes you can actually see all the different layers of blacktop that make up the road. We should probably get someone from the Geology department at YSU to go out and explore some of these things. Maybe they could discover some long lost secrets of the Mahoning County transportation system. Even though I was rushing by at 50 mph I'm pretty sure I saw a buggy wheel and a horse shoe at the bottom of the canyon growing at the Meridian Rd. /I-680 intersection.
Being an optimist at heart I always try to find the bright side in any situation, so my thanks and appreciation go out to Mahoning County Engineer Dick Marsico and his road department for sharpening my evasive driving reflexes and generally making me a more alert driver. Thanks guys.
This is not good news for the ailing American automotive industry. Cheap imports of even dubious quality can cut domestic market share simply based on price. Bricklin plans to sell these cars for 30% less than similar models produced domestically.
This development is especially troublesome for the local economy in the Youngstown/ Warren region. GM Assembly Lordstown produces the Chevy Cobalt and any loss of market share would be damaging to our local economy, so this issue hits very close to home.
Normally I would welcome competition as it forces processes to streamline, lowers prices and improves quality. However, I find imports from a communist nation such as China to be unfair. The Chery company enjoys cheap wages because their are no labor unions, the company is actually owned by the provincial government and China has a well known reputation for being lax in areas such as worker safety and environmental laws. Hundreds of coal miners are killed annually in China because there is no government regulatory agency to monitor mine safety. Given that example, American and European automobile manufacturers are at a huge disadvantage because of the amount of money they spend to protect workers and the environment.
Competition from Japan, Germany or Great Britain is one thing. The playing field is level and the competition forces domestic auto makers to be more efficient. GM, Ford and Chrysler cannot compete with Chinese wages and a government owned company that can afford to take losses for as long as is necessary to establish market share.
The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction completed its investigation into how the United States intelligence community collects, quantifies and acts upon data related to weapons of mass destruction. The commission determined that intelligence agencies were "dead wrong" when they assesed the capabilities of Saddam Hussein's regime in the time leading up to the invasion of Iraq.
What surprises me most about this report is the President's response to it. I watched his reaction to the report's findings on CNN and other news channels and his spin was so complete and so pervasive that I could do nothing but watch with admiration. If you missed it, the gist of his response can be summed up by saying he was glad the commission presented such a "unvarnished look at our intelligence community". Everyone else, from Porter Goss, the new head of the CIA to George tenet, the former head of the CIA, agreed with the findings in the report and agreed that changes need to be made. The President said "The President and his national security team must have intelligence that is timely and intelligence that is accurate." We all know this. We did not need a presidential commision to tell us this. We have all seen what happens when the intelligence community does not have good information to give to the President and his team. Thousands of people die.
The President needs to accept responsibility for making the decision to invade Iraq based on faulty intelligence. No matter who gave him and his team the bad information, the buck, as Harry Truman said, stops at his desk. No matter the outcome of the war, no matter what good has come from it, we need to know that the man making those decisions can admit when he was wrong.
It's not good enough to sit back and say that it all worked out for the best in the end. How can we trust any decision he makes if he finds it acceptable to point to his advisors and say he was only acting on the information they gave him? He rewards his advisors, like George Tenet and L. Paul Bremer with the Medal of Freedom, when they pass bad information to him. How can we trust anything this president says or any decision he makes if he rewards failure and does not accept responsibility for errors? My parents taught me that the ends don't justify the means. Maybe George and Barbara never taught their son that lesson.