The Bed of Iniquity-American Politics as Usual

The present administration of the George Bush legacy has been embellished in many unsatisfactory practices and falsehood. The Bush presidency has been a carol of love songs shadowed in the conservative agenda-their greed has ultimately displaced the American working class in many disturbing trends that have now been the staple of our broken nation. How can America keep filtering billions of dollars to the Middle-Eastern War when our homeland desperately needs these funds to repair our tainted system?

The United States current state of affairs is in dire need of immediate repair, our health care system is in shambles, and our minimum wage is in need of innovative over-haul to adjust it to the new century American workers face.

Our nation has out-sourced too many American made factories and manufacturing jobs to the ever growing sector of China, India and Pakistan..,-so where does that leave the American middle-class? Simply put, nowhere to run from our government handshakes and favors that do not benefit the working class of our nation.

The pursuit of the American dream has fallen upon death ears, leaving many less prepared for the future and opulence of our multi-colored nation. The Bush present visit of many Afrikaans provinces is truly a cosmetic make-up for the present McCain quest for the nomination of the republican party-politics as usual. George Walker Bush knows how to play the political game well, his father was the ultimate player when it came to the manipulation of American politics.

At the present state-leaders of the African nation and most of the provinces will accept Bush invitation as an empty promise that was never fulfilled during his seven year term. Mediation has never been one of George Bush strong points, and his diplomatic flare has been none the less a failure to integrate policies that would have united several poor nations in a quest for peace and prosperity. Vietnam did the same thing to our nation-as the war in Iraq has, it has been unfortunate love affair that has been separated in a damaged divorce.

Many American middle class are reaching out to a government that will not engage our sanity in the needs and the problems that will start to heal a nation under continuous duress. The present economic standings for the less privilege has become ever clear-the American dream has become what it is for so many whom have fallen on hard times.

If you have noticed, the housing market and American dollar has decreased at a steady rate over the last seven years-the yen in China has more value than the American dollar. Our nation also has seen a decline in many products that were once shipped to many over-sea countries, and was once the staple of world trade. The United States government has also neglected to acknowledge the NAFTA trade inaccuracies and corruptible profits that gave way to China becoming the technological force to be reckoned with in a no fair trade act.

George Bush is not the only president that has sold out our nation to foreign trade-the only president that wanted to establish true fair trade, was none other than Jimmy Carter.

You could actually write a term paper on what he was trying to mandate under constitutional law-many of his efforts were shot down by a conservative congress that denied his ability to change laws that were not only outdated, but were obscure in the relation to the approaching twentieth century. Jimmy Carter term as the 39th President of the United States was short lived by a legacy of American and foreign policies that overshadowed all of the great and awe inspiring interactions he negated with many foreign countries.

One of the most prolific failures of Bill Clinton's presidency was his acknowledgement when the genocide was raping the people of Rwanda; the United States government turned a blind eye to the genocide that claimed more than one hundred thousand lives. His apology was a stale response when he visited the nation of Rwanda, too late, too little too soon. Bill Clinton failure to respond to the needs of the Afrikaans infected by the Aids virus-was none other than partisan politics as usual, during this period there were doctors that purposely infected thousands of Afrikaans with the Aids virus.

The United Nations wee warned by many BBC journalist and American journalist that there were doctors performing unethical experiments on many African people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and a few other provinces.

Now as we have come into the reality of the twentieth century-which presidential candidate has the appeal and courage to fight for the rights of the working class in America? Does Barack Obama have what it takes to sterilize the present failed policies and mandates that are strangling our country in debt and false promises? Our nation is ready for a change of pace from the abnormality of political divide, which separates our country in uncertainness and fear of tomorrow.

The fundamental structure of America is changing-our landscape is that in need of requiring a new and acquiescent song of peace and prosperity for all.

An Average American View-Damn Politics!

It seems as though each article I write about this election, always comes back to the simple fact. That fact is, America was founded on What The PEOPLE wanted to happen. Originally, the founding fathers were passionately concerned about the PEOPLE. Every decision was based on what was good for the people of America.

In watching many historical recreations and reading books about the history of our country, I have found that even though there was bad attitudes and selfish behavior in the days of our ancestors, there was true patriotism and true belief in this great country. I think this attitude is still a part of this country. I think there are many great human beings that love this country and have tremendous pride.

What I also believe is, through a progressive lack of leadership and our quest for the life of the rich and famous, we have negated our responsibility as Americans. We have sat back and allowed the government to direct our lives and to abuse our trust. They have made us look like agressive, evil people. It doesn't matter that the average person walking down the street may help everyone, be a totally wonderful human being or anything else positive. Our GOVERNMENT has created the bad reputation that America has. They have made us look like we are always trying to be the agressor or the ones in power.

The question here is, Are we going to continue to STAND BY and look like clowns or are we going to stand up and say what we think. Instead of being sheep through yet another election, I choose to speak up.

Enough with the damn politics people!

America is on the verge of crisis. We are hated, the dollar is worth almost nothing, the foreign oil companies are nailing us to the proverbial cross and countries are laughing at us across the globe for the Iraq war. Health care is out of reach for a majority of Americans, people are losing their jobs, their homes and their lives.

Last, but most assuredly not least are the over 4000 now soldiers that have left families. Families that our beloved Government doesn't even begin to compensate for their loss. The many more thousands who are permanently disabled either physically or mentally that depend on the horrors of the VA to provide health care.

Those are the things everyone should be talking about. While John McCain is running around Iraq saying whatever pops in his senile brain, Clinton is steadily bashing Obama. Now Obama has been forced to respond in kind. All the while people are still facing issues. Minute by minute, hour by hour. No matter what the tv is talking about, they still have to deal with how to feed their children supper or care for their spouse who can't work and is disabled.

All the arguing and talking trash by the people who we TRUST to lead us, just causes more stress. People are struggling in this country to remain confident in our government. That is like giving the government a free ticket to use and abuse us. The more we TRUST, the more they USE…….

It is time America. If you are supporting McCain, that is your right in this country. Food for thought: Are you really so unconcerned with what is GOOD for America, that you are willing to sacrifice more lives to try and be right? Can we afford to continue to be in debt?

He is just more of George Bush. Cocky, arrogant, and mislead. He doesn't have a clue about what to do about any issues other than the war. He is betting the farm on the war. MORE OF THE SAME. His constant reference to anything WAR is where the truth lies. Ask him about the real issues and see what he says? Does he even have any intention of doing anything about health care, the mortgage crisis or anything else. I haven't heard him even mention any of that.

If you are a Clinton supporter, again good for exercising your rights. Food for thought: When is Hillary going to focus on anything, while all the press and ill wishers are going to do is dredge up the past. She won't be allowed to focus on anything else. Bill will be a constant reminder of the past and his mistakes will overshadow anything she may be able to do. Not to mention that Hillary is a see-sawer. She goes back and forth. Do we want backbone or crowd pleasing? The only backbone she has shown was talking trash in order to divert the focus on the issues. How can we depend on that kind of Presidency?

If you are an Obama supporter my Food for thought is: Once every so often someone comes along that makes you sit up and listen better than usual. While I am still listening, I see hope like never before in my lifetime with the exception of Ronald Reagan. Yes I have been Republican for many years.

The question is not whether you are Republican or Democrat. The question is, What do you want for America? Do you want war, foreclosures, $5.00 gas, no jobs? Do you want to continue to sit at home and watch the clowns in Washington play with OUR LIVES? I don't.

Every time I hear the figures for the retirement plans of the President and the other members of the government, I want to scream. They go up there and no matter how bad of a job they do, they leave in high cotton. What?

Barack Obama is a mixed race American, who has spent time being around the people whose lives are the hardest. He has seen the struggles that they live with. He is honest. He is a PROUD AMERICAN. He is trying to unite America and give their voice back to the PEOPLE. A voice that the founding fathers gave them. Our voice is disappearing America folks. We are slowly creating laws and patterns that will eventually take away the very freedoms the founding fathers fought so patriotically for.

If you opt out of the responsibility of trying to start the change in this election, you can't complain later. The ISSUES need ACTION. The POLITICS need to be stopped. The obvious truth in this election is that you can get a clear vision of WHO is truly interested in America, by listening to what they are talking about.

Is it going to be the year of change or 4 more years of the same quagmire we have been in forever. Your choice, Your vote. Don't vote with your head and tradition. Vote with your mind and your heart.

How Technology Changed Politics

Twitter, Face book, My space, Google, Yahoo, and thousands of other social networking sites have forever changed Politics not only in America but also around the world. It was the summer of 2008 and we were in the height of the Presidential campaign. Then candidate Obama was in a fierce battle against the seasoned political veteran John McCain. Barack Obama being a fairly new face in American politics had just defeated the highly popular and presumed democratic candidate in Hilary Clinton. Obama launched a campaign like no one had ever seen before, a campaign that embraced new media and attracted demographics that traditionally had rarely been interested in voting or let alone politics all together. The young vote was penetrated for the first time in a long time. The "show me now generation" or so it is called is the generation that has made new media a way of life.

New media over the past ten years has changed the way we communicate for ever. First of all it's cheaper, and secondly it's extremely more convenient to access versus trying to find a newspaper stand, heading down to the local library, or sending a message via snail mail. In a five minute time span I am able to communicate with over fortey percent of my high school graduation class, check over five local news paper headlines from around the country, and im able get the latest call to action from my local political headquarters. From news blogs, to Facebook I am always connected to everyone all the time. During the campaign at times it almost didn't seem to be a fair fight between the two candidates. One's approach was traditional-grassroots, by knocking on doors and executing thousands of low ball robo-calls. The other candidates approach was also grassroots; it was new age grassroots campaign. By sending daily messages via twitter, facebook, and email updating followers on the status of the campaign and calling all to action, Barack Obama became the "Hip" candidate a candidate that young people could identify with.

Never before has a media outlet allowed for a politician to have instant access to the masses twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, also allowing for market segmentation (targeting a specific demographic). Followers signed on to Facebook and Twitter and added Barack Obama as a friend thus allowing them to follow the future presidents every move at the same time receiving updates on his political agenda. In the past, unless you were a part of the local chapter for your political party you would only have television and newspapers to receive your information. New media has allowed for millions to instantly become a part of the political system.

For better or for worse politics will forever be changed. Newspapers, news letters, and traditional magazines have begun to suffer significantly due to emergence of new media. This generation has really adopted the new media blitz and for a politician to get his or her message out they will have to adapt to the new marketing methods in order to be affective and efficient, and who knows….. if done right he/she may become the next President of the United States.

How To Be Successful with a Political Campaign: Google vs. Social Media

The new generation of politicians understood that classical methods of campaigning are overrated. Today, it is necessary not only to be present in front of your voters but also to have a substantial online presence for people to read about you online.

Any political advisor will tell you that online campaigns are mandatory for success. However, there is a massive debate between them about the best way for online politics: you should build a website? Or focus mainly on social media, which seems like bringing rapid results?

We would go for a combination of both, as you can drive people from social media to your website and the other way around. Some voters would search your name on Google, while others will want to see you in their Facebook feeds. It is why a website with a good presence on social media can be the right combination for online success.

How much money to spend on the website?

Building a website for a is not a burden for the campaign budget. Practically, it can be made for free, and you should only pay some money for an excellent hosting package. As you will probably have thousands of viewers from the first day when your website is online, you should look for more than a shared hosting package for your site. Moreover, you don’t want to feel the embarrassment of an offline website, so find a company that can guarantee 99.9% uptime.

A solution and a few hundred dollars spent for hiring a freelancer to build your website should be enough to guarantee you a substantial online presence for the whole duration of the campaign.

If you want your spending to stop here, you will not need a webmaster to take care of your website during the campaign, as you can easily update yourself. However, you need a company with good customer service, as you will surely have some hosting queries about your website at some point.

If you are a politician that really wants to be in control of every aspect, including the website, you must learn the basics of WordPress and how to manage a site online.

It is not difficult to do, and you surely have a staff member in your campaign team that could teach you the basics of this CMS. A good website will give you Google visibility, but you will want to make sure you are targeting the right audience.

A website is an excellent method to maintain reputation management. During a political campaign, your adversaries might play dirty and invent allegations that are widely spread on social media. However, you can counter those allegations with articles from your website, where you have total control.

Your website can also be the place where you can publish your political manifesto, as well as your strategy and vision. It is the central marketing tool for your campaign, so make sure it is hosted with the right company and that your voters will have a pleasant navigation experience when visiting your website online.

 

Could Republicans Take Back Congress?

It's a classic scenario, Americans elect a new President in one election, and then kick a major chunk of his party's congressional delegation out two years later. Most see a President's first mid-term election as a chance to send him a message, to deflate his ego a bit (even if they don't personally think he's on an ego trip), as a referendum on his first two years in office. This is what President Obama faces next November when voters go to the polls. Will the people be in a mood to hand him a House and/or Senate controlled by the GOP? Will Mitch McConnell and John Boehner be the new leaders of the legislative branch?

Don't count on it.

While a major Democratic sweep like the ones of 2006 and 2008 is highly unlikely and Republicans will probably even make some gains in both houses, a take over of even one of the houses of congress is still unlikely. Why? Because Americans have long memories, ironically like the Republicans mascot, the elephant. People may well be dissatisfied with President Obama's performance so far and they may want to pack House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a crate and send them to Timbuktu, but that doesn't mean they'll have forgotten on whose watch our economy performed a nose dive that would have earned it perfect tens if it had been competing at the Olympics.

Barack Obama may be the sitting President, but the specter of George W. Bush still looms over his party. People are not likely to suddenly put all of the blame for our country's troubles on Obama and the Democrats. And while the Dems. controlled the congress during last years economic collapse, it is not lost on many voters that the GOP controlled it when deregulation, which many blame for Wall Street's recklessness, ran rampant. Neither party is seen in all that good of a light by most Americans, but the GOP still trails the donkeies. It's become pretty much a lesser of two evils situation.

The basic truth is this, the Republican party is still in the dog house as far as most Americans are concerned. A recent poll found that just 20% of Americans consider themselves Republicans. While that certainly doesn't mean the other 80% will vote Democrat, it is still not a good sign for a party hoping to come out of the political wilderness. Then there is the lack of a leader and a clear message. In 1994 the GOP had Newt Gingrich and the "Contract with America" to propel them into power. Fast forward to the present day and you see that there is no one clear leader of the party, neither McConnell nor Boehner have stepped up in the way Gingrich did. RNC chairman Michael Steele, former Alaska Governor and 2008 VP nominee Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 Presidential contender Mitt Romney and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor have all been very vocal in their opposition to Obama's plans, but none of them have been able to capture the position of conservative standard bearer that Gingrich held 15 years ago.

The most likely scenario is that Republicans make marginal gains but that the Democrats stay in control. They need to pick up at least eleven Senate seats to regain control of that chamber, and the chances of that are astronomical. As for the House, at this moment they need 41 seats to regain the majority, though this number is subject to change pending the results of ongoing special elections and the possibility of more vacancies in 2010, at any rate, a 41 seat pickup is a tall order even when your party is popular, and practically a miracle if you're in as bad a position as the GOP is now. Most see the best case scenario for the Republicans as a 5 seat Senate pickup and a 20 seat House pickup, better than the last two cycles, but not enough to put them back in power.

Sources:
Steele 'not really' concerned about declining GOP support
Delaware Leaps to #1 in Senate Rankings; Is 60-Seat Majority Doomed?

Outsourcing Information Technology

is a word that brings many different opinions to the table. Positive and negative feelings about outsourcing leave many organizations questioning whether or not it is a viable option to outsource information technology functions. The goal of this paper is to try and break down some of the risks and benefits to outsourcing and help any CEO or CIO come to a decision whether or not his organization will outsource information technology.

Risks

Before an organization decides to use an outsourcer for IT, management needs to consider the risks involved.

Loss of Control

The organization is invested in itself. Its employees have internal knowledge and a better understanding of the organization then does any outside company. According to Axelrod, “there are fundamental differences in motivation, goals, and attitude between internal staff and employees of outsourcers”. These differences may lead to poor IT service.

Viability of service providers

Axelrod mentions the risk of the service provider itself. Is it a viable company? Will the service provider be around in the next year? If the outsourcer fails, the organization will be left without “critical services and systems” (Axelrod).

Quality of Service

When an organization decides to outsource, one reason it does so is the organization may feel it cannot successfully perform the IT services it needs to at a satisfactory level. However, a risk of using outsourcing for IT is the quality of service the outsourcer brings to the organization. If an outsourcer is not carefully chosen, the level of service provided can be so poor as to be detrimental to the organization. The outsourcer can be fired by the organization, but where will this leave the organization’s IT services?

Lack of expertise

“Customers should beware of bait-and-switch tactics” (Axelrod). In other words, an outsourcer may state it has the knowledge to perform certain actions or utilize a certain programming language, but when the outsourcer begins work for an organization, the necessary knowledge the organization needed for its IT functions is just not there.

Morale

Morale is an important risk to consider. Outsourcing “raises employee concerns about job security” (Cashman, Rosenblatt, and Shelly). If the organization has its own IT department, the IT staff will want to work for a company they feel is committed to use the IT talent it has. If the organization decides to outsource its IT functions, the IT personnel may decide to leave and work for the service providers themselves. This isn’t just with IT staff, either. If other employees learn the organization is outsourcing IT, these employees may start to wonder what other functions will start to be outsourced.

Hidden Costs

Some costs are easily definable. What about intangibles? Outsourcing can bring about costs to the company that were unable to be planned for. The outsourcer may be in financial distress, but still providing services (Axelrod). How is this going to impact the costs of services if the outsourcer cannot pull itself out of a hole? Acquisitions and mergers can bring about changes in cost to IT services provided (Cashman, et al., 2003). According to Axelrod, hidden costs are either due to oversight, or unplanned, or hidden intentionally (2004). Both types of hidden costs need to be considered before deciding to outsource.

Benefits

Even though risks are involved with outsourcing, many benefits exist as well which lead organizations to outsource IT.

Lower costs

Cost is one of the major benefits which organizations consider before outsourcing. How much will it cost us to outsource our IT compared to paying our own employees and making sure we have all the necessary hardware and software to perform all the IT functionality we need? For many organizations, outsourcing saves the company cost – especially if it has no IT department to begin with.

Less time to implement

Using an outsourcer for IT eliminates time spent for a company to design, program, test, document, and maintain networks, hardware, and software (Cashman, et al., 2003). A quality outsourcer has already done the IT task multiple times for other companies, and should be an expert at all the IT tasks the outsourcing company needs.

Reliability and performance

If an outsourcer’s sole reason for business is IT, the outsourcer should have documentation proving what it has done, and metrics to show what it has done well. Any problems with IT tasks will be sorted out over time by the outsourcer. If the outsourcer provides a quality service, “it almost certainly has been rated and evaluated by independent reviewers” (Cashman, et al., 2003).

Systems support

Using an outsourcer for IT services, provides the organization with a greater breadth of IT services support. Most outsourcers provide support to many other organizations. When an organization has an issue with any IT function, they can call the outsourcer. The outsourcer will fix the issue, or be able to find the solution, leaving the organization to focus on its other business needs.

Extra Manpower

For smaller companies that do not have the manpower, outsourcing is an excellent means by which to get something done without the need to hire additional employees.

Specialized Skills

Organizations want to focus on their primary business processes to maximize revenue. Many times, these organizations do not have the skills to setup their own IT systems. Hiring an outsourcer helps to bring to the company a specialized skill set. The outsourcer’s primary function is providing IT. Also, using outsourcing for IT services is excellent for those organizations that may only need a small, specialized information system, perhaps a new software package. An outsourcer brings the skills to provide this service, and prevents the need for the organization to hire new employees with this skill set; especially if the employees’ services were only needed on a short-term basis.

Factors to consider

Once an organization decides to outsource, one should consider the following factors before finalizing any agreement (e-Zest, 2007):

Insurance

Simply put, does the outsourcer have any form of liability insurance to protect against loss, or damages?

Third Party Suppliers

If choosing to outsource, is the outsourced company going to provide all tasks, including maintenance, or is the outsourcer going to use any other 3rd party? This information should be provided, and agreed upon beforehand.

Software licenses

If the organization has purchased any form of licenses for software, which the outsourcer will be working with, it is necessary the outsourcer is covered under the licenses as well.

Ownership of information

When information technology leads to the design and use of proprietary information, the details need to be agreed upon whether the outsourcer will own this information, or the company.

Contract start and length

When outsourcing is used, the organization needs to determine when the outsourcing is to begin, and how long is the organization going to outsource its IT functions. At some point, the organization may decide to do everything in-house.

System Access and Security

This is an important factor when deciding to outsource. Much of an organization’s data is sensitive, and must be secure. The organization will have in place who can see what and do what, but this needs to be extended to the outsourcer, also. If anyone working for the outsourcer can see whatever, whenever, this can lead to security breaches.

Asset Ownership

Along with determining who will own certain information, asset ownership needs to be determined as well. The resources used to build systems or software can be expensive. Does the outsourcer purchase these assets and own them after the organization does not need them, or does the organization pay and own the hardware and software resources?

Disaster Recovery

Every organization should have a disaster recovery plan. What about the outsourcer? If an organization chooses to outsource its IT functionality, and the outsourcer suffers from a disaster, what will happen to the organization’s information systems? The organization needs to have reassurance the outsourcer has in place some form of disaster recovery which will protect the organization’s IT functions as well as the outsourcer.

Application to strategic planning

When considering a strategic plan, and looking forward to the future based on an organization’s vision plan, outsourcing may need to be considered. Depending on the IT needs of the organization and where it wants to be in the future, the organization may realize it cannot perform all the IT functions itself. The organization needs to place in its strategic plan whether or not it plans on finding ways to implement the IT services themselves, or to outsource. The strategic plan needs to be laid out explicitly for shareholders and other executives to get approval for the plan, and outsourcing may be a consideration.

Conclusion

The outsourcing of IT services has many risks, but also has many benefits. Any organization needs to look at the pros and cons of outsourcing its IT services when looking forward to the future. A strategic plan is designed to help an organization meet its vision for the future, and when IT services are involved, the organization may not be able to effectively provide the services itself. Considering all the factors will help an organization put together an effective plan for the future.

References

Axelrod, C.W. (2004). Outsourcing information security. Norwood, MA: Artech House Publishers.

e-Zest Solutions . (2007). Software development outsourcing issues. Retrieved from http://www.e-zest.net/Outsourcing_Central/outsourcing_issues.htmlCashman, T.J., Rosenblatt, H.J., & Shelly, G.B (2003). Systems analysis and design (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION:
The Contributor has no connection to nor was paid by the brand or product described in this content.

Angelo Mozilo, the Housing Market Woes, Congressional Oversight Committee Hearings, and Me

I suppose you really can't blame Angelo Mozilo for the sharp down turn in the Housing Market, not that the founder and CEO of Countrywide Financial didn't make a pretty penny by selling off about $130 million worth of Countrywide stock before the stock began to tank. Oh, and don't forget to add to that the $23.8 million he will net from a pension and retirement plan. It's the kind of compensation that has the 69 year old Mozilo testifying before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Though Mozilo seem to have timed the sell off of his stock just perfectly, he told Congress today that no one could have predicted the housing industry's problems. Congress for the most part treat him with kid gloves.

Regardless of what Mozilo had to say today, the fact that the equity in my own Orlando based home has dropped by $150,000 has little to do with Mozilo, after all, we live in a free market economy and I am a big boy. I am also bright enough to crunch numbers, or at least my Engineering degree says I am, and whatever decisions I have made with regards to my home have been my own.

Five years ago I bought my property for $79 a square foot. It was a marvelous buy, mostly because the houses around it were going for $100 a square foot. At the time I remember telling my wife that the house would probably appreciate about $60,000 in the next five years. I wasn't far off, it has appreciated $75,000. What I did not foresee was the wild ride the Housing Market would take along the way. It was a ride that had the house up by about $225,000 a little over a year ago.

Today, I have my mortgage guy coming by to drop off some loan papers on my latest refinance, since I was able to lock in at a 5.25% rate on the one day that the rates dipped that low in January. At the time we had talked about keeping my $40,000 credit line open, and he said it would be no problem, after all, the last time he had looked at an appraisal my house was up $225K. Well, because of the drop in the market the new appraisal came in $150K low, and we were left to scramble to put together a smaller line of credit.

Throughout all of this I did not think of Mozilo once. I did not blame anyone for the wild ride the market went on, or for the fact that I could have sold my house at the peak of the frenzy. The one thing I did do was consider myself lucky that I had made a wise investment five years ago, and that I had kept my debt to a minimum in the five years that followed.

If after the hearing the public wants to label Angelo Mozilo the new Kenneth Lay that is their business. Perhaps it would make them feel better for errors in judgment on their part. Either way, I am sure Mr. Mozilo will not care. He will be too busy enjoying the monies received for the stocked that he cashed in. After all, isn't that the America dream everyone is entitled to the same dream?

How American Politics Contradicts Itself

There is one aspect of American politics that grates on my very last nerve: the complete and utter lack of common sense. I know, I know. I realize there would be a lot of members of Congress at their local soup kitchens (not there for a photo op) if common sense were a . That doesn’t mean that we as Americans have to ignore our common sense and gut instinct. It does not mean we have to abandon our principles and keep our mouths shut when we are grievously concerned about the actions our elected members are taking. It does not mean we have to keep quiet to our peers and community when we see something is very off.

I have several topics I wish to address regarding the complete contradictions present in current American political debate. For now, I will start with the death penalty.

According to the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice statistics website, there were 3,228 inmates on death row at the end of 2006. According to the same website, in 1971 there were 642 assigned to death row and in 1973 there were 134. Unbelievably, only 53 death row prisoners were executed in 2006 – or one percent of the death row inmate population.

Crimes punishable by death are generally various forms of murder. But not just any murder. Not justifiable homicide, of which there were 192 committed in 2005 (by non-law enforcement individuals). We are talking about BAD murder. For example, raping and killing children, murder involving torture and murder during a kidnapping (all from the Bureau of Justice list of capital offenses). I happen to agree that these offenses should be punishable by death. So would most people.

Here’s where things go awry. The American public is all about saving children, making sure they have school lunch programs, health care, etc. But we get squeamish when someone is sent to death row for raping and mutilating children. There is a case before the Supreme Court that is looking at the methods employed in execution of death row inmates – as cruel and unusual punishment. My question is: WHY?

Why are we concerned with whether or not these scum bags that rape and mutilate people, especially children, suffer when they are put to death as punishment for their crimes? Isn’t that the point of capital punishment? These evil morsels of the human population are given last rites if requested, a last meal per request, and a very humane passing. Did these criminals offer this to their victims? Did they offer them the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones before being defiled, mutilated, etc? NO. So, why should we extend to them these “rights”? When did we decide as a society that these people deserved rights that they did not grant to their victims???

There was a time in this country that appeals were non-existent and you were hung for stealing a horse. I am not stating that we should go back to that entirely, but in some form, yes, we should. If you are convicted of an aggravated sexual battery, or if you are convicted of raping or molesting a child, YOU should be on death row. There is no rehabilitation for these people. Why should we as a society condone the re-infiltration of these sick individuals to prey upon someone else? As for these anti-death penalty people, yes, there have been a few cases of innocent people on death row. However, in light of technological advances such as DNA, there is a much smaller chance of an innocent person being sent to death row. If anything, there are murderers sent free because of “reasonable doubt.” However, if the preponderence of guilt is such that a jury decides a person is responsible for taking a human life in a manner unbelievable to the majority of society, why waste taxpayer dollars?

When did the victim become invisible? Does what happened to them not matter? Is their manner of death irrelevant? What is wrong with us that we feel sympathy for a child murderer? What is wrong with us that we feel sympathy for a person who knowing and willingly snuffs out the life of another? I am not including self-defense. There is justifiable homicide. If someone breaks into your home with the intention of harming you or stealing what you have worked hard for, I don’t feel sympathy for them if they are shot.

Our society has decided that criminals have a special niche in life – they were abused, or lived a lousy childhood, or whatever. I say “BULL!” Who hasn’t had a messed up childhood? Does this condone bad behavior in any form? NO. It does not.

A rope and gallows are much more cost effective and justified than making sure these murderers don’t feel a thing. I am all in favor of pubic executiion. We as a country need to decide who deserves justice, the criminal or the victim. However cold it may seem, I will never care if a murderer of a child suffers in his last minutes of life. Quite frankly, I believe suffering is the least they could do for the crime they committed.

PhotoWorks Introduces Back-to-School Technology

PhotoWorks, Inc., a photo-publishing company that is internet-based announced last Monday their six new line of products that is ideal for students of all ages going back to school this September. These back-to-school products are unique in the sense that students can personalize these gears.

PhotoWorks offers personalized stickers that costs $4.95 per sheet, each sheet has about 20 stickers and can include single or multiple printed images. This is the perfect way for students to print their Summer pictures and place them on notebooks, books, bags, lockers, and binders so that they can carry their Summer pictures anywhere.

PhotoWorks also offers locker posters 11×14 in size for $9.95 each. Locker posters are perfect for minimizing clutter in a student's locker, instead of having a barrage of photos hanging; they can just have their favorite vacation pictures or pictures of their friends collaged in one poster. There is also a large 16×20 poster for $17.95 that would be perfect for any dorm rooms or for anyone who just want to have a blown-up copy of their favorite picture.

For $19.95, you can have a personalized Clipboard that can feature a family photo, your pet, a picture of the gang, or your best friend. The Clipboard is not only for students but would be perfect for teachers as well, particularly coaches who may want to get motivated by featuring a picture of their favorite sports team.

But the best and the coolest of the bunch is probably a personalized messenger bag. Messenger bags are probably the most common sights in schools and there's a good chance that there will be two students sporting the same brand or design, to avoid this, a personalized Messenger Bag is probably the best way to ensure that your bag is unique. For $119.95, PhotoWorks can feature any picture on the Messenger Bag. You can choose your theme from sceneries, to family picture, to your pets, gang, your own picture, you and your best friend, or a collage of all of these.

"Everyone remembers the excitement and anticipation of picking out new

school supplies every August and September," says Andy Wood, President and

CEO of PhotoWorks. He said that PhotoWorks' personalized school products build on that same excitement by giving students, steachers and coaches the opportunity to be creative and design their very own products.

To create your own customized school supplies, just go to Photoworks.com and then head over to their Photo Gifts web page.

SOURCE:

PhotoWorks, Inc.,

In Time for Back-to-School, PhotoWorks(R) Introduces New Product Line of School Essentials. PRNewswire.com. URL: (http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY;=/www/story/07-30-2007/0004635163&EDATE;)