Wednesday, December 27, 2006

5 Blogs... No Waiting!

Thinking that I've finally reached Nirvana, I now am the proud owner of five - count 'em - five blogs.

Since I have this chronic need to type and link, five blogs should not be a big problem, though if they become radically popular, I may have to hire a virtual assistant or become one myself.

In the near term, blogging has kept me out of trouble and at my desk for more hours per day. It's also helped keep my interest levels at a fever pitch, since my topics range from the absurd to the sublime and the blogs - other than this one, which is pretty wide open - pertain to college basketball, national politics, finance and investing, and a site devoted to what's going on in my home town of Rochester, NY.

Links to my other blogs are all available on this page. Check them out. I hope you'll find them interesting, stimulating and useful.

College Bowls Update: 7-1 correct picks

Following a brief one day break for Christmas, the annual ritual of college bowl games is back in full swing. After starting off with a 2-0 bang, I was on the money the next three games as Troy pounded Rice, 41-17, South Florida held down East Carolina, 24-7, and San Jose State beat New Mexico, 20-12. On the night of the 23rd, however, I tasted my first defeat as Tulsa lost to Utah, 25-13. My record stood at 5-1 and when Hawaii, as expected, beat Arizona State, 41-24, I was 6-1 heading into the 'tweener week. I should have known about Tulsa, though. They let me down all season, losing every big game, and did so again.

Right after Christmas, the Central Michigan Chippewas delivered a timely gift in the form of a 31-14 win over Middle Tennessee State. This boosted my performance to an unreal 7-1 and started off the week with a bang. Central Michigan had been one of the best performing teams down the stretch in the regular season and they finished with a quality win to put their final record at 10-4.

By the way, favorites are 6-2 so far, and 7 of the 8 games have been UNDER the posted number. The only one that went over was the New Orleans Bowl, Troy over Rice, total 58.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Cougars bust Ducks 38-8; Fearless Rick now 2-0

Just to update the college bowl progress, as I so rightly predicted, the BYU Cougars blasted the Oregon Ducks in the Las Vegas Bowl (Vegas, Baby!), 38-8, ending any confusion over whether or not the Mountain West (now 2-0, both by blowout scores) was short-changed by the bowl nominating committees and the BCS.

Brigham Young in particular has been under-appreciated by the pollsters and the press. With their resounding victory over the hapless Ducks, the Cougars finish the 2006 campaign on a 10-game win streak - one of the longest in the nation - and should be a Top 15 pick in the 2007 preseason, even though they will lose QB John Beck to graduation.

Beck capped off his senior year with 2 more touchdown passes, giving him 32 for the year, and will probably go in the first round of the NFL draft this spring.

The Cougars will move up in the final rankings. Their two losses, both in September and on the road, were by 3 points to Arizona and by 7 in overtime to Boston College. Their win in the Las Vegas Bowl ups their record to 11-2. The quality of this team only reinforces the argument in favor of a playoff system for NCAA Division 1 football.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

eBay Says No Go in China

Updating our Stock of the Day profile of eBay, in yet another sign that the company is woefully mismanaged, the worldwide auction service firm has announced plans to shut down its Chinese subsifiary, EachNet, and partner instead with China-based TOM Online to keep a presence in the world's most populous nation.

After an original 2003 investment of $30 million, eBay bought EachNet for a purported $120 million in 2004. Management squandered money and resources over the past 2+ years before finally deciding to pull the plug. Whether the unit had or would ever achieve profitability is doubtful.

For more detail on eBay's Chinese experience, see this article on

Credit cards: Handle with Care

My lifetime experience with credit cards has been less than satisfactory. Much of the time I used credit cards for unnecessary purchases and later found myself with unwanted payments. Actually, having and using credit cards has negatively affected my credit rating because of a few missteps on my part and some rather dubious practices by the card-issuing companies which I disputed - to my detriment.

My sister, however, 6 years my junior, has fared much better, using credit cards with great discipline, carrying a small balance, using the cards for needed purchases and paying them off within the grace period at no interest. Thus has she achieved a stellar credit record over the years.

Obviously, how one uses credit and credit cards will in a large way determine one's credit rating, which carries great influence in today's highly-leveraged environment.

Credit ratings and records are used in everything from purchasing a vehicle, home, or establishing individual store revolving credit to employment and security screening. It's gotten to the point where three companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union control our destinies to an unwanted degree.

If you are interested in furthering your understanding of credit cards check out Credit Card News.

For information on proper use of credit cards, credit repair and more, see Credit Card Advice.

Bowl Season off to Flying Start

With the first college football bowl game of the season completed last night, Fearless Rick's record for predictions stands at 1-0 as TCU hammered Northern Illinois, 37-7, limiting the nation's leading rusher, Garrett Wolfe, to 28 yards rushing.

As stated in my preview the Horned Frogs were probably wondering why they were relegated to the low-level Poinsettia Bowl and they proved that they deserved better.

TCU's senior QB Jeff Ballard cemented his credentials as a bona fide NFL prospect with an outstanding performance in his final game. Ballard rushed for three scores, threw for another and amassed 253 passing yards.

Next up on the college football carousel is the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, on Thursday, Dec. 21, pitting BYU against Oregon. Brigham Young is favored by a field goal or more and I don't think it will even be that close.

I'll continue to update here as bowl season progresses.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thom Hartmann is THE MAN!

With Al Franken spending this week entertaining the troops with the USO in Iraq, my favorite local radio station, NewsTalk 950 (WROC, 950-AM) has been carrying the show with Thom Hartmann as the guest host. After just two days, I'm hoping the rumor that Franken will be leaving AirAmerica Radio is true.

The Freepers over at Free Republic (no, I'm not linking to those losers) are jumping up and down with glee over the purported news, but they're so ignorant of the truth that they can't even imagine what a great replacement Hartmann would make or even that Franken isn't even the best host on AirAmerica.

Hartmann's show is carried on 80+ stations already, and if Franken does bow out, he'd likely add another 50 to 100 more, as his show runs in the same time slot as Al's on many stations. On 950, they carry Franken at noon to 3:00 pm, a slot that's getting pretty competitive for the progressives as Ed Schultz recently moved from 3:00 pm to noon as well.

Hartmann is probably the best-read and most literate host on radio today. Any man that can quote Aristotle as easily as most hosts replay topical political quips, is far, far ahead in my book.

If we don't get Hartmann on a regular basis - like we don't get Randi Rhodes in her regular slot, or the great Mike Malloy (too honest), I'll be a regular visitor to his web site, complete with live and archived download links to his radio show, loads of online writings and other information by and about this Project Censored-award-winning and New York Times best-selling author.

His latest book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- And What We Can Do About It also makes a great Christmas present (hint, hint).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lazy slackers make living difficult

What's more dangerous than a lazy slacker?

A lazy slacker who is also a manipulative, deceitful drunk, that's what. Not mentioning any names (Ron Mavity) these people should be barred from entering into business agreements of any kind.

What do I mean by "deceitful manipulative lazy slacker?" This would be a person who would spend time and effort sabotaging something rather than spending the time and effort to actually get the job done. It's the worst sort, a person whose entire life is spent avoiding doing anything labeled "work." It disgusts me.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Doc Warner: Man of Mystery

I am one of maybe three people in Rochester who dutifully tunes into NewsTalk 950's (WROC, 950 AM) On The Line Radio Saturday mornings at 9:00 am.

The past two weeks, however, I haven't been able to hear its host, Kenneth 'Doc' Warner, warble on monotonously for the better part of the hour. Last week, the show re-aired the production from October 15, and this week, the host who "works overtime so you don't have to" has been preempted by a show pimping longevity pills. At least it's better radio...

But that's just the beginning.

Warner, who, as far as anyone can tell, is not a "doctor" of anything. He also doesn't return emails - at least not mine. I've tried to connect with him, offering suggestions on how to improve the broadcast (like, kill the Three Stooges music, stop interrupting your interviewees...) but the good doctor apparently can't read, thinks his show is perfect as is, or is harboring a deep-seated resentment dating back to the mid-80s, when he almost became my partner in the wildly successful venture known in these parts as Downtown Magazine.

One thing we do know about the mysterious Mr. Warner is that he's a self-proclaimed "political operative" (read: paid shill) who was the driving force behind the election of Bill Johnson for mayor, a couple of times, as he used to remind us every week.

At the very least, I'd like to be able to heap blame on Warner for working so hard to promote people who have helped ruin the city, but he's MIA, ostensibly working overtime on something other than radio.

Thank goodness.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Flippity-flop: Timetable for Iraq

US troops substantially drawn down in 12-18 months (but it will still be a war zone) according to proven liar Gen. Casey

Aftermonths and months of telling the American public and concerned congressmenlike John Murtha that a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistakeand that it would give the "terrorists" or the "enemy" (whoever they are)an advantage to "wait us out" and put our troops in more danger, the administrationhas done just that by announcing that the Iraqi and US governments are workingon just such a plan.

Reuters is a little dodgy on the issue, here,citing that the Bush administration would set up "benchmarks" for the al-Malikigovernment in Iraq, which, if not met, would force the US to reassess theirstrategy in the country.

According to the Washington Post, General George Casey, Commander of Multi-national Forces in Iraq, believes:

Weare about 75 percent of the way through a three-step process in buildingthose forces. And it's going to take another 12 to 18 months or so untilI believe the Iraqi security forces are completely capable of taking overresponsibility for their own security. Still probably with some level ofsupport from us, but that will be asked for by the Iraqis.

But, that sounds strangely similar to what he said over a year ago.

Yep, I was right. Here'sCasey saying we could see "substantial withdrawals of troops in Spring of2006. But Casey said that on July 27, 2005. Since then, we've actually increasedtroop levels and the violence has increased. So, why should we believe himnow, and why are the Republicans not muzzling each other over this changein tone just before the mid-term elections?

Just for fun, here's Casey again in June of 2006, saying that troop levels would be reduced in September (didn't happen).

Elsewhere,White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday the administration would no longeruse the term "stay the course" to describe the administration's prosecutionof the war. This gem of wisdom came after George Bush (the president, rememberhim?) said. "...we never were Stay the course" to George Stephanopoulos duringan interview aired Sunday on ABC News.

I'll bet hard currency thatyou can do a Google search for "Bush Iraq stay the course" and you'll findat least half a dozen examples of him saying just that. I tried it. I win.We all lose with this nitwit in office.

And if all of this pre-electionwar blathering hasn't given you heartburn, maybe the fact that the UnitedStates has fallen into a tie for 53rd place with Tonga, Botswana and Croatiain the Press Freedom Index:

TheUnited States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after beingin 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations betweenthe media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the presidentused the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalistwho questioned his “war on terrorism.” The zeal of federal courts which,unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognize the media’s right not toreveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations haveno connection at all with terrorism.

Freelance journalist and bloggerJosh Wolf was imprisoned when he refused to hand over his video archives.Sudanese cameraman Sami al-Haj, who works for the pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera,has been held without trial since June 2002 at the US military base at Guantanamo,and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by US authoritiesin Iraq since April this year.

If I'm not back bloggingin a few days, look for me in Tonga, where I might be able to find employmentat Tefua-'a-Vaka-Lautala. Adios, Aloha and Sayonara for now.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Death of Network TV: "The Class" is unfunny and not gay.

Insipid. Futile. Moronic.

Those are probably the best words I can use to describe the CBS comedy (and I use the term with remorse) The Class.

The characters, half of whom are (I guess) gay, are not believable, the writing is dull, the plot lines thinner than Calista Flockhart. There's nothing good about this show except that it will soon be gone. It is amazing that network executives are so morally and intellectually dead that they would stoop to the depths to which this show plummets.

Then again, this is the network that brought Katie Couric to the nightly news.

Considering the current shape of the networks, The Class actually reaches a new low, and CBS should apologize to all of us.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Elections 2006: Over the Cliff and into the Abyss

Tom DeLay. Duke Cunningham. Mark Foley. Denny Hastert, John Boehner, Tom Reynolds, George Allen (the non-Jew Jew, racist Senator from Virginia). The Republican-led congress now has an approval rating of less than 20%.

That's right, four out of five people in America do not approve of the job this sleazy, clandestine, corrupt-to-the-core, hypocritical congress has done. Meanwhile, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and just about every other right wing lunatic broadcaster wants to do what?

They want to villify Nancy Pelosi, that's what, and apparently that's the best strategy these one-trick Republicans can come up with. They want to scare their listeners and viewers into thinking that Nancy Pelosi will destroy America, give in to terrorists, stomp on traditional values. Yes, fear the little lady from San Francisco who may become the next Speaker of the House. She's the bogey-woman of the week.

If you want to witness the destruction of America, look no further than the current crop of Republicans and vote them back into power again. The previous Majority Leader, the not-so-honorable Tom DeLay, is facing criminal charges. Mark Foley is a pervert, and Hastert, Boehner and Reynolds knew all about him, buried the truth and coerced Foley into running again in 2006. They needed the seat more than they felt the need to protect teenage pages - the targets of Foley's sick predatory constitution.

How about the foibles of our linguistically-challenged, dry drunk Liar-in-Chief president and his cohorts - Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice, primarily - who lead us into a war of choice based on cooked, unreliable intelligence and their bold-faced lies about WMDs, Iraq's connection to Al Queda and mushroom cloud scenarios? They're still lying, and Iraq is a complete wreck, a failure of monstrous proportions which will take a generation or more to correct, if ever.

And then there's the unanswered questions about 9/11. Instead of going into all the theories and myriad scenarios about what really happened that day, and the events leading up to it, one long, disturbing question: Why would anyone object to an investigation and/or testifying under oath? Cheney, Bush and Condi all did. Maybe because the truth would incriminate them? Just maybe? Let's hear the other reasons for not wanting to testify under oath other than an intention to LIE.

These Republicans have proven not to be the paragons of morality and keepers of liberty they purported to be. They lied to Congress and the American people, stole from the nation's bounty, and perverted the laws that made and keep us all free. And then they tried to cover it up... with more lies.

Now, if you support these people, you're either an idiot or you just can't stand the idea that you might have been wrong in trusting them. For most people, the latter is probably the case. For some, it's tough to admit defeat, or admit that their views and understanding of the world is incorrect, but now, today, and for the next three weeks, these people have to search their souls and come into the light. We've all been led astray by the Republicans in power, and it's time to cut them loose.

On November 7, Americans will go to the polls in the most important election in most of our lifetimes. It's time to get it straight: Democrats by and large are not give-away-liberals, or evil or somehow soft. They love America. Most of them have good ideas, plans, intentions and visions for the future of our nation, but any Republican who gets elected this time around is another threat to our nation, our liberty, our way of life, because their only want is the power of the majority and more graft and riches for themselves, their friends, families and cronies.

The only way to fix the problems we have - most of them created by the Republicans - is to end the Republican stranglehold on Congress and replace it with a Democratic majority that will hold hearings and investigations, make the administration accountable to the American people, overturn the bad laws enacted over the last 6 years and restore America to its rightful place as the leading nation of the free world.

Most thinking people have already made up their minds. They're voting straight Democrat in any congressional race. Hordes of undecided or independent voters are voting for Democrats. And we need the Repubicans of conscience and morality and intelligence to come to their senses and do the same. Why? Read on.

The polls suggest that there's going to be a Democrat landslide in the coming elections, so what's my worry? It looks like the Dems will win majorities in both the House and the Senate. So, why am I panicked?

Because, just like in 2000, 2002 and 2004, the Republicans are going to manipulate the elections. If they can't purge enough Democrats from the voting rolls, they have the ability to rig the machines which count the votes. Nearly 80 million Americans will be casting their choices on machines which have been proven, over and over again, to be hackable before, during and after elections, supply no paper trail, and thus cannot produce a verifiable recount.

Consider the words of Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, who have been delving into the Ohio election results for nearly two years:

In the two years since the fraudulent defeat of John Kerry, we've unearthed an unholy arsenal by which that election was stolen. They include: outright intimidation, wrongful elimination of registered voters, theft, selective deployment of (often faulty) voting machines, absentee ballots without Kerry's name on them, absentee ballots pre-punched for Bush, absentee ballots never mailed, touch screens that lit up for Bush when Kerry was chosen, lines for black voters five hours long while white voters a mile away voted in fifteen minutes, tens of thousands of provisional ballots pitched summarily in the trash, alleged ex-felons illegally told they could not vote, Hispanic precincts with no Spanish-speaking poll workers, deliberate misinformation on official web sites…and that's not even the tip of an iceberg whose bottom we may never see.

Thanks to a federal lawsuit, we have finally been able to look at some of the actual ballots from Ohio 2004. Just for starters, researchers Stuart Wright and Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips have found a precinct in Delaware County where 359 consecutive voters allegedly cast ballots for Bush. Dr. Ron Baiman found another precinct in Clermont County where a random inspection found 36 straight replacement ballots, a phenomenon that can be accomplished only by divine intervention or outright fraud.

The Republicans very well may return after these elections to majorities in both houses, and if that's the case, the results will almost surely be the work of nefarious theives and crooks. So, beware, and vote for a Democrat, any Democrat.

For those of you who don't believe that the machines can, have been and will be hacked, despite the overwhelming mountains of evidence, I part company with you here, because there is no good reason to engage in dialogue with anybody who is either misinformed or simply uninformed and chooses ignorance over truth.

Try educating yourself on the issue by following some of these links:

Black Box Voting - a great resource for understanding how elections are hacked by use of electronic voting machines. Bev Harris wrote the book on how elections are stolen and the intent of the public debased.

The Brad Blog - Nobody has done more to expose the underhanded tactics and hacking methods than Brad Freidman. If you read nothing else, Brad's archives are invaluable. There's so much information there, it will take months just to read Brad's posts, plus he links to thousands of related articles.

Velvet Revolution - an amalgam of voter's rights groups, citizen advocacy groups and ordinary people who support free and fair elections with thousands of stories about vote suppression and election machine hacking.

If anyone can spend the time to read these articles and still not believe that there are election problems which need to be investigated and repaired, then you are probably just lying to yourself and thus, on your own. Good luck to you. I and other patriots will be working to preserve our democracy, even for you, in your slumbering ignorance.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Gnashing of Teeth and Tearing of Flesh

The ongoing saga of Representative Mark Foley (R-Florida) continues to spin out of the control of even the most determined Republican spin doctors. What began as the outing of a sexual predator targeting teen-aged House pages, has turned into a full-blown scandal which has the potential to take down the leadership of the party.

While the wheels of Congress ground to a halt last week, the turbine of power politics was just getting started. To update where matters stand today (Thursday, October 5), Foley resigned on Friday, September 29, shortly after ABC News' release of salacious emails sent by the congressman to pages. The emails were from 2005, and shortly thereafter, even more disturbing instant messages were made public.

Sometime over the following three days, Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, denied knowledge of more than just a few transcript pages of the original "naughty emails." Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Republican majority leader, has changed his story twice since Foley's emails surfaced last Friday, initially (Friday) telling the Washington Post that he had spoken to Hastert about the sleazy messages, then calling the paper back later in the day to say that he didn't recall such a meeting.

But on Tuesday, Boehner told a Cincinnati radio station that he had indeed spoken to the Speaker and that Hastert told him the matter had been handled.

Tom Reynolds (R-NY) has admitted he knew about Foley and his behavior and reported such to Hastert, and on Monday night appeared at a press conference surrounded by children - at which no questions were allowed.

It was a rather creepy scene, of which there's video aplenty available all over the web. Some of the reporters asked that the children (all of whom supposedly kids of Reynolds' supporters) be removed from the room so they could grill Reynolds about the Foley correspondence. Reynolds declined to allow the children to leave.

Wonderful! Now we have Republicans using children as human shields - to keep them safe from the probing queries of the bullet-pointed press.

Then on Wednesday night, Laura Bush appeared at a rally - fund raiser for Reynolds in an obvious ploy to sweep the crud on him off his lapel and under any convenient rug. The First Lady wasn't previously scheduled for the event, so it's plain that she was rushed into action to aid the beleaguered chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign (NRCC) who is facing a stiff challenge this fall from challenger Jack Davis.

Surprise, surprise, Mr. Reynolds. An internal poll conducted for Davis shows Davis beating Reynolds 50%-42%.

Not to worry, John McCain is reportedly on the way to upstate NY to stump for Reynolds. One should assume that Mr. Clean McCain is going to have a very, very busy travel schedule this month. Trouble is, for McCain, he's going to be backing a lot of losers and questionable characters along the way and there will be photos and quotes and links and all kinds of implications tying McCain to all kinds of human garbage.

The Democrats couldn't have planned it any better. Thanks to Foley and the Republican attempts at cover-up (has it occurred to anybody besides me that these Republican leaders, from Bush on down, are probably the most inept, moronic bunglers ever to step foot on Capitol grounds?) the leading Republican candidate for president in 2008 is going to impale himself on the stump right here in '06. Bye-bye John. Stay a Senator. It's a safe job... for now.

OK, that should get us all caught up on the unfolding scandal here at just after 8:00 pm EDT. Now for the good stuff.

Reynolds has more problems than even Hastert and is looking more and more like he'll end up in a political body bag in November. Not only is he losing his own race, as chair of the RNCC he's likely to have too many fires erupting across the landscape to control. Reynolds will burn out in the heat of the campaign. Burn, baby, burn...

His problems will grow in depth and intensity as his own campaign turns uglier. Not only did Reynolds' recently-retired-in-disgrace chief of staff Kirk Fordham serve as Foley's CofS, but Reynolds also accepted a $100,000 contribution to the RNCC from Foley. That's now tainted money and the robust hue of putrid, foul, rank enterprise is all over Reynolds, just like his brethren, Abramoff, Scanlon, Cunningham, and DeLay.

Tom Reynolds is in it up to his eyeballs. Losing the election to Davis may actually be his best exit strategy.

Political junkies and activists take note: Anyone wishing for a complete and total Dem whitewash this fall should hope and pray that Lumpy (Hastert) fights for his political life as hard as his bloated body will allow. The longer this seedy saga strolls, the closer we all get to our date with destiny...

I'll be here daily, blogging the life out of the evil, corrupt and anti-democracy Republicans this fall. I make no bones about my political leanings. I was a Republican most of my life, though leaning away as I grew older, but since George W. Bush won in 2000, I've gotten religion, and it's known as love for democracy and faith in the rule of law.

The current regime is more corrupt than any I have ever seen in our country and I place the blame for our country's current malaise squarely on the heads and shoulders of the President and his Republican lackeys in the Congress. This entire crew has to be swept completely out of the body politic and kept out. They have trampled on the constitution with impunity and are the greatest threat to liberty in this country and around the world.

Just so you know where I stand, I hope my position is plain enough.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mediocrity ends sadly

Just a quick note to point out that, a website I had exposed as being somewhat worthless in a previous blog post -
The Sadness of Mediocrity - has indeed bitten the dry dust. The site, which had attracted a fair number of ebay sellers, but relatively few active buyers, seems to have ended its short and miserable existence on or about January 25, 2005 according to the last date on Google's cache. So, I have been in the dark for over a year. Boo-hoo.

I should point out that I had engaged in some rather boisterous site policy disputes with the site's customer service and marketing rep - a woman I knew only as Sheila - to no avail (she had a nasty habit of deleting my posts). Thus, this is the fate of those who generally disagree with me on PR and marketing matters: death of web site.

I'm not sorry to see them go. The site basically sucked.