Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hate crime or hoax?

Someone has anonymously posted fliers around Southern Oregon University calling for the killing of homosexuals. School officials are "shocked". No one has claimed responsibility for the fliers. The creator(s) remain unknown.

In response to the publicity, SOU President Elisabeth Zinser has proposed a 10-point plan to combat hate-crimes. In doing so, Ms. Zinser is ignoring recent history - faking hate crimes. Michelle Malkin has been documenting this trend.

Before SOU goes on a homophobia witch-hunt, how about making sure the fliers aren't bogus.

Marketing thought of the day

If Doritos taste better now, did they taste worse before they were made 'Nacho Cheesier'?


How can such a cute kitty be such terror?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Homeless update

The Denver Commission to End Homelessness has set a lofty goal. They are going to end homelessness in Denver within 10 years through an approach that is popular with other cities. The focus of their plan is "Housing First". They believe that homelessness is caused by poverty. Therefore, if you give people a home, they will be able to solve their poverty.

A Rocky Mountain News editorial points out the problem with the program:
In Housing First, surprisingly, the homeless are not required to get treatment as a condition for housing, although the expectation is that they will once they are in a stable environment.

The housing first approach assumes that poverty leads to addiction. The Denver commision has it exactly backwards. The Rocky cites a well known Denver columnist's who investigated the homeless issue. He concluded that although problems like batterings, unemployment, and medical issues were listed as the official cause of homelessness there was a common element behind these problems - substance abuse.

This is why government is not the solution to these problems. Giving people a place to live rent free without requiring them to seek treatment for their substance abuse will do nothing to solve the homeless problem. It was not poverty that lead to homelessness and substance abuse. It was substance abuse that led to poverty and homelessness. Housing First only perpetuates the problem by enabling people to sustain their substance abuse inside government housing. We are going to end up with a government program that uses tax dollars to sustain poverty rather than solve it.

This is why I am for more private and faith based intervention programs like Step 13 in Denver. They don't take government money because the government will prevent them from requiring people to receive substance abuse treatment in their program.

Any program that hopes to be rehabilitate the homeless must first address substance abuse (or mental health) before it will be successful.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Lessons in fraud

Wendy's CEO Jack Schuessler published an article in the Wall Street Journal on lessons his company learned from the false claim of a fingertip being found in their chili. Mr. Schuessler pointed out the hoax led to a 50% drop in revenue in San Jose (where the claim was made). He also wrote about how it affected workers.

There was only one part of the article I found disingenuous.
It might have been expedient to pay off the accuser in an attempt to end the media onslaught--after all, that is the preferred form of capitulation in this trial-lawyer-driven age; but we never considered this option.

Mr Shuessler also compliments his customers who "appreciate the fact that we protected our brand and didn't simply try to "make it go away."

In reality, Wendy's did not have the option to buy their way out of it. Mr. Schuessler even explained why earlier in the article. "Within an hour [of the claim being made] the story was on TV news, and soon after, Wendy's was fodder for Jay Leno."

The news coverage was so massive that Wendy's had no choice but to fight it. If Wendy's had tried to pay off the woman making the accusation, the public would have taken that as an admission of guilt. The 50% drop in the San Jose area would have been nothing compared to the empty stores they would have had across the country.

Wendy's did do the right thing by not caving, but they really had no choice. The woman committing the fraud underestimated the uproar her claim would cause. The scope of the news coverage worked against her. This became clear when she dropped her planned lawsuit.

It was too late for her though; the damage was already done. Wendy's national reputation was hurt. At that point, the fight was not just to avoid a million dollar lawsuit. They were fighting for the life of their business. It wasn't about a million dollars. It was about the three billion dollars in revenue they earn each year.

Yes, Wendy's did the right thing in this case. I still wonder how many other lawsuits they settle instead of investigating.

Friday, May 20, 2005

DNC and rational thought

Last year, Republicans and most Democrats figured out that Howard Dean lost any sense of rational thought. He was considered the front runner to be the Democratic nominee for the presidential election when the wheels fell off his campaign and he let loose with the infamous “I have a scream”.

Apparently this made him ultimately qualified for his current position as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee where he continues to use the same rationality he had during his scream.

Dean doesn’t like Republicans. He has said he thinks they are evil. Of course evil people should be punished. Right now he has Republican House majority leader Tom Delay at the top of his list. Last week Howard Dean said, "I think Tom DeLay ought to go back to Houston, where he can serve his jail sentence.” The remark was made about an investigation by the House ethics committee.

Since Delay has not been charged with a crime, it seems Delay’s biggest offense must be that he is a Republican. When it comes to people who have committed terrorism against our country, Dean is much more thoughtful. During his run for President he was asked about Osama bin Laden. Dean said, "I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found. I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama . . . we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials."

So Dean is convinced that a man who has not been charged with a crime should be in jail while we must not prejudge a terrorist who laughs about killing our citizens. It’s a sad day when Democrats think the Republican House majority leader is more evil than Osama bin Laden.

Remember, Dean is now the leader of the Democratic Party. His statements reflect the official party line. When did Democrats lose their ability to reason?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Catholic Faith and social issues

The Catholic Church acts in two ways to try to further its social agenda. The first is through Catholic Charities where the church acts through private donations to assist people in need. The second is by advocating government programs.

During the past few decades, Catholic voters have generally supported the Democratic Party. This is mostly because the Church has taken a position of supporting socialist policies such as welfare programs. For some reason, the Church has taken the position that the importance of helping the poor through government programs trumps the moral issues it advocates – specifically its pro-life and pro-family positions. Catholics have a history of voting for candidates who promise to "help the disadvantaged" while those same candidates advocate abortions or gay marriage.

Even if helping the poor was the more important issue, history has revealed problems with relying on government to fix it.

Government assistance does not work

People who receive from the government only come to rely on the government, not God.
Churches that advocate more government welfare are undermining their own witness. Welfare recipients don’t thank the taxpayers for what they receive. They come to believe the payments they get are a right and that taxpayers are obligated to support them.

The government does not hold people accountable for changing their lives. Did you know it is illegal for an organization that receives federal money to require the people they help stay off drugs? That is why groups like Step 13 in Denver who work with homeless and street people will not accept government funds. Because they require their clients stay off drugs, they change lives.

Churches should be self-reliant

By relying on the government, the church abandons its responsibilities. Europe shows that charitable giving and involvement decreases as people come to rely on the government for assistance. Look at the great Tsunami last year. Europeans criticized the size of the U.S. government’s contribution. They didn’t acknowledge the hundreds of millions of dollars private citizens donated. These contributions dwarfed those of European countries. Europeans private contributions were nothing compared to the generosity of Americans. It is a natural tendency for Europeans not to give since they believe they are already giving through the tax collector.

Reliance on government only hurts the soul. People that receive aren’t grateful; they will change their behavior only reluctantly.

People that are forced to pay the taxes are not involved in the lives of the people they are supporting. They have no influence to improve the behavior of those getting the benefits.

The Catholic Church is large enough to have a great impact on the world. If it were to use its own resources instead of abandoning some of its mission to the government, it could change even more lives.

Bathing suits and Bentleys

Paris Hilton is going to star in a Carl's Jr. commercial. (Carl's Jr. is a fast-food chain in the west). She'll be in a bathing suit slopping soap suds on a Bentley trying to convince young men to go buy a new type of spicy burger.

Makes me want a Big Mac.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Xbox: The next generation

Microsoft revealed its next video game console today - Xbox 360.

While trying to appeal to video game enthusiasts, Microsoft also designed the product to become an entertainment hub. They hope we'll be hooking up our stereo and playing our music through it as well.

The new Xbox is scheduled to be released this holiday season, way ahead of the next Playstation. Expect a $300 to $400 price tag.

Sony has been losing the edge on innovation in console games. Xbox may gain some more ground and even turn a profit with this one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Kicking and Screaming – movie review

Will Ferrell stars in Kicking and Screaming as Phil Weston - a man dealing with his feelings of inadequacy after being raised by an overly competitive father (Robert Duvall). He becomes a soccer coach in a league where his father coaches another team. Phil tries to change a group of misfits into a championship team.

This is strictly a formulaic movie casting Will Ferrell reacting to people and events with his usual exaggerated style. Fans of Will Ferrell will enjoy this movie as his antics do rate some laughs. Robert Duvall gives a good performance in his role of an uncaring father who drives his son to distraction.

The show stealing performance comes from former Chicago Bears football coach Mike Ditka who plays an exaggerated version of himself. His ranting and blustering is the highlight of the movie.

The themes of the movie do become heavy handed at times in telling how bad an over-competitive parent can be. As with most movies these days, a pro-gay lesson is jammed into the movie to tell us that two lesbian parents are just as good (if not better) than traditional family.

This movie will provide laughs if you can get by the PC elements.

2 ½ stars.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Weird headlines

Missing Vietnam Servicemen to Be Buried
How do you bury someone who is missing?

Iraq Finally Fills Six Cabinet Vacancies
Apparently their Correll dishes arrived by mail order.

Airports Not Rushing for Private Screeners
Aiports is now rushing for the Cleveland Browns. Hopefully, Joseph Airports will get 1,000 yard season this year.

U.S. stocks look to extend winning streak
Stocks are now four games ahead of bonds in a strike-shortened season.

Submarine Crash Could Have Been Avoided
Gee, ya think?

And finally, have you ever wondered how you date a photograph? Apparently it is more complicated than you would think according to a Reuters story:
This undated photo released by the U.S. Department of Defense shows the casket bearing the body of US Navy Machinist's Mate Third Class Nathan Taylor being sent over the edge of the USN Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise as US Navy Sailors conduct a Burial at Sea ceremony on May 19, 2004.

I'm betting the photo was taken the day of the burial, but I'm just guessing there.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Narnia Trailer

The trailer for Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe premiered tonight. No link to it on the web yet.

This is going to be the movie to see at Christmas though.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven movie review

As a fan of previous Scott’s previous movies Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, I was expecting a graphic depiction of the battles in the Crusades. In this regard, Ridley Scott tops himself in the gore-fest Kingdom of Heaven.

The battle scenes are as good as any war movie and twice as bloody. The R rating is deserved. Honeybun got more and more squeamish throughout the movie. Do not take children to this one. Artistically, Ridley Scott (as he did in Gladiator) was able to convincingly bring a historical place to life. Even so, the movie was visually impressive, the scenery of the middle ages, the city of Jerusalem and especially when showing the vast Muslim and Christian armies arrayed on the field of battle.

The movie had two main problems. The main character Balian – played by Orlando Bloom - was just not believable. The movie does not explain how a blacksmith (the illegitimate son of a nobleman) who inherits his father’s lands happens to be an expert in agriculture, engineering, and tactical warfare. A contributing factor was that the dialogue was sometimes hard to follow and as a result it sometimes became confusing on who new characters were and what motivated them.

The other issue is the historical portrayal of the Crusades. Scott points out every failing of the Christian armies. In contrast, Muslims are portrayed as entirely honorable and the spread of Islam by the sword is only briefly mentioned but discredited as the comment comes from a corrupt priest.

If you like battle scenes, this movie is for you if you are patient in getting through sometimes slow dialogue. If you want to see an accurate portrayal of the issues surrounding the crusades, you won’t find it here.

2 ½ stars.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

This is why we need to win.

Major Mark Bieger comforts a wounded girl while taking her to a military hospital. The child didn't make it.Posted by Hello

The writer who took this picture has his own blog where he relates the story.

So-called martyr's think they are heroes for blowing up the own countrymen. This photo show not only why we need to stay and fight, but also why we will win. The only way we will lose is if the U.S. loses heart and pulls out. Then all the sacrifices will be in vain.

The terrorists' desperation in targeting children shows we are winning. Their own countrymen will not stand for this continued slaughter.