October 2008

The October 28th episode of House, M.D. on Fox may have broken new ground regarding lesbian relationships on prime time television.

In the opening frame of this episode the female doctor known as 13 wakes up after a one-night stand with another woman whom she doesn’t know.  Then  as she is getting ready for work  her lover has a medical emergency requiring hospitalization.  This puts 13 in an uncomfortable position as her lesbian lifetsyle has now been exposed and she is supposed to help solve the medical mystery of her latest lover to whom she made it clear she doesn’t want to see again.

During all of this House is making his usual number of crude references and seems facsinated about 13’s choices while giving short shrift to the dangers of this type of behavior.

Since this show is very popular the writers know that they can probably push the envelope and not lose viewers but ending the show with a lesbian kiss was just a little too much for the 8 p.m. hour when there are still plenty of children watching t.v.  House certainly isn’t a role model for anyone with his abuse of prescription drugs and  questionable ethics, but going into the bedroom issues which should remain private is stretching the plot line of the show.

I don’t know if this storyline will continue in future episodes but if the lesbian lifestyle is normalized on the show they will lose viewers who want a medical drama without the political correcteness thrown in.

The National Middle School Association (NMSA) is holding their 35th annual conference this weekend in Denver.  Along with sessions on leadership, classroom leadership and teaching strategy are such gems like these;

  • Understanding the Experiences and Needs of Gay,Lesbian,Bisexual, and Transgender(GLBT) Youth in Middle Level Schools
  • Strategies and Resources for Meeting the Needs of Gay,Lesbian,Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Middle Level Schools
  • Geographic Literacy for Global Citizens
  • Climate Change: Global Connections and Sustainable Solutions

Conservatives should pay careful attention to the curriculum their children receive at every level not just in high school which now resembles the political correctness so pervasive in our college’s and universities.

Global warming alarmists have gained another ally in Hollywood.  This time it’s actress Alicia Silverstone who si best known for her role in the 1995 movie “Clueless”  and has done little of note since that time.

In a phone interview with a reporter for the University of Wisconsin- Madsion’s Badger Herald she stated that she her backing for Barack Obama’s global warming policies started when she learned that “he was not taking money from lobbyists, which is ultimately corporate funding.”

“I was impressed when I heard him talking about how we give corporations free rides regarding their use of the environment,” Silverstone said. “Obama will make corporations pay for the harmful emissions that they put into the air and keep corporations responsible, ” she told the Badger Herald.

But that isn’t in the Obama plan.  What Obama proposes is enacting a cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to invest $150 billion over the next 10 years in renewable energy plus a host of other green proposals.

There is no doubt that Obama’s plan will cost corporations plenty but not in the way Silverstone imagines.

Memo to Hollywood: If you are going to get politicall involved please study your candidate’s platform so you don’t look like a total idiot.

For Silverstone though she just can’t help it.

For all that talk about the $700 billion bailout package and what it will ultimately cost taxpayers the Federal Reserve gave us a glimpse recently when they announced that the mortgage debt they took over in teh Bear Stearns rescue has been written down from $29.5 billion in June to $26.8 billion at the end of September.  That’s $2.7 billion in just three months or a  decrease of $900 million per month.  If that keeps up taxpayers would see nearly $11 billion in losses after a year.

The Fed is counting on the market stabilizing and for a return to normalcy in the credit markets but that is far from assured at this point.  Another problem is that taxpayers really don’t know what is in the Bear Stearns portfolio.  There could be some reasonably good debt that will regain its value but there is just as big a chance that much of the debt is of poor quality and that the writedowns will continue for the forseeable future.

It looks like we have truly mortgaged our future with the government rescue plans and our children and grandchildren will pay a very heavy price for this folly.

California has long been considered a progressive if not radical state for the number and types of ballot measures that voters face every election season.  This year is no different.  With most of the focus centering on Proposition 8 and gay marriage little attention has been paid to another measure that could have a wide economic effect on the state’s economy.

Proposition 2 which is an animal rights measure would give farm animals the right to spread their hooves and claws , rather than being confined to small cages that limit their movement as is the case with many chickens, pigs and cows.

But California doesn’t have a major veal or pork industry so the focus is on the henhouses in the state and their resident egg layers.

The battle lines are drawn with egg producers on one side claiming that this meausre would drive up production costs and therefore prices to consumers while as Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive of the Humane Society of of the United States (HSUS) feels that if they are going to killed for food that they deserve to be treated with decency and a semblence of life.

Maybe Mr. Pacelle insists that everything he eats be labeled as having been raised and treated more like a human being but my main concern is having a reliable and safe food supply.  I have eaten free range turkey compliments of a friend of mine and while it was vey tasty it wasn’t worth the substantial premium they paid to salve their conscience.

There is a lot at stake here.  California is the fifth largest producer- and number 1 consumer of eggs can’t afford anything that puts a dent in their economy.  Facing a massive budget deficit the last thing the state needs is a neasure that drives up costs to businesses and consumers as the economy softens.

Both sides have poured a lot of money into this campaign with the Humane Society dropping about $4 million thus far and the pro-egg Californians for Safe Food raising $6.7 million .  All this over hens and eggs.

Besides veterinary groups that have split on the issue Hollywood couldn’t resist getting in on the action.  Oprah Winfrey the Obama kingmaker recently devoted an episode of her show to the subject, complete with  mock-ups of animals in cages.  We all know what an expert Oprah is on animal rights.

There is a good chance that the measure will pass but with a soft economy and the threat of increased food prices it isn’t guaranteed even in California.

On my drive into D.C. every morning I pass through the bucolic town of Chevy Chase , Md.  Several months ago the town or more properly village decided to install speed cameras on both sides of Connecticut Ave. which is the main thoroughfare that passes through the village leading into D.C.  This was my first up close look at what effect speed cameras have on driving habits and my conclusion is that the whole idea needs to be rethought.

My reasoning is this.  Connecticut Ave.  is a very heavily traveled road, so much so that during the morning and evening rush hours traffic rarely moves above 30 mph which is the speed limit for the road.  Thus the first effect is that traffic that is already moving at a snail’s pace comes to an almost complete stop as it approaches the camera’s  The three inbound lanes each have a camera and two of the three outbound lanes have one so you can imagine what this looks like.  While I don’t know of any reported accidents as a result of these particular cameras I have read reports of drivers slamming on the brakes at the last minute when they realize that there is a camera and causing accidents at other locations.

Another problem I have with these cameras is that drivers caught speeding can and have been ticketed only a block or two away by a police officer since they were still technically speeding.  I am not going to condone speeding but this smells like a definite revenue trap for the unsuspecting.  It’s not double jeopardy since one violation was from the camera at a spot different than where the officer ticketed the motorist.

There is no doubt that speed cameras are here to stay by virtue of the amount of money they generate for local jurisdictions and that trumps any supposed safety issue.  I propose that if it’s really about safety then operate the cameras when traffic is the heaviest and the risk is higher for accidents and turn them off in off-peak hours.   After all is it really a safety issue if someone is driving ten miles over the speed limit at midnight when there is little or no traffic?   Maybe it’s a dumb proposal but I would be far more convinced that the cameras serve a purpose other than that of a revenue generator if they were adjusted based on traffic volume.

If you think I’m off my rocker read this story on the arrangements Montgomery County, Md has with the private company operating the cameras.

At a debate sponsored by BGR Holding, Inc.  Republican strategist Ed Rogers faced off against fellow BGR associate and Democratic strategist Michael Meehan to discuss their views on the election.

Rogers started off by saying that as far as the elction goes “It’s not good for McCain but it’s not over” a statement that he repeated often during the hour long session today in Washington, D.C.  In looking at the difficulties that McCain faces Rogers said that he is facing three big hurdles.  The first is that only twice since 1850 has a two-term president (excluding FDR) been succeeded by a member of his own party.  Second, he is saddled with an unpopular president whose approval ratings are at 17% lower than Richard Nixon’s when he resigned.  Third and maybe most important of all is the fact that campaign with the most money has the advantage.  Considering that Obama has just announced raking in $150 million in September and is buying ads everywhere he will have maximum exposure during the last 2 weeks of the campaign while McCain struggles to match him.

The one reason that Rogers thinks that McCain is still in the race is that Obama has not been able to get above 50% in the polls and said that a front runner loses by staying below 50% and allowing his opponent to hang around.  Add in the fact that the last Democratic presidential candidate to get 50% was Jimmy Carter and you can see why he is still somewhat optimistic.

For Meehan’s part he was confident but cautiously optimistic.  After having worked on the Kerry campaign he know how quickly predictions of victory can turn sour and stopped short of calling for an Obama victory.

On the other hand he did point out that the Democrats are in great shape.  They have added over 300,000 voters to the rolls in North Carolina and another 687,000 Democrats in Florida giving them the possibility in a close race of winning both states.  Meehan added that traditionally 85& of newly registered voters do vote and those numbers alone in Florida could be enough to tilt the state to Obama.

Meehan mentioned that after being on the short-end of taxes for 25 years , McCain gave that issue back to the Democrats with his healthcare proposal that would tax benefits and for which Obama has been hammering him on in a countless number of ads.  Now the Democrats can play offense for a change on this issue and it is working.

While Meehan mentioned that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright scares the living daylights out of him he is grateful that McCain didn’t use this against Obama as in polling earlier in the year he discovered that this was a key issue with voters.

And yet despite all the stumbles in the debates, in defections from some conservatives in the media and outright policy fumbles McCain is still within striking distance.  This has led to a strange declaration by Obama on the campaign trail telling supporters that he could still lose while the polls show he is gaining momentum at precisely the right time.

The truth of the matter is that no one really knows how the election will turn out.  Polls are based on sample of about 1,000 people and there is no lie detector hooked up to them when they answer questions.  So while the outlook for the GOP seems bleak there is still a glimmer of hope that voters will wake up and smell the coffee and vote for a divided government in November.

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