Thursday, March 31, 2005

Spies in the Dark

An AP article on a presidential panel on our nation's intelligence concluded that we're in the dark in a lot of areas. It concluded that the United States knows " disturbingly little" when it comes to nuclear and biological threats from adversaries.

The commission offered 74 recommendations aimed at changing the structure
and culture of the nation's 15 spy agencies. It called for more clarity in the
powers of the newly created national intelligence director, an overhaul of
national security efforts in the Justice Department and dozens of changes in
intelligence collection and analysis.

Let's think about this for a minute. Seventy-four recommendations. That's 7-4. Ol' BC was aware that the Carter administration dismantled our intelligence network, but never dreamed it has sunk to this level of ineptitude. Keep in mind that this was a bipartisan committee. It wasn't just Republican "hawks" or Democrats wanting to throw stones at Dubya.

"Across the board, the intelligence community knows disturbingly little
about the nuclear programs of many of the world's most dangerous actors," the
report said. "In some cases, it knows less now than it did five or ten years

Hello! Hello! It's time to get back to work. We can't be worrying about hurting someone's feelings. The time is now to get busy figuring out what's going on with some of the nuts in the world. There is a lot of damage to be undone for the U.S. to get its intelligence house back in order. It's an ugly business, but a necessary one.

Just an observation.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Galveston Opted Out of Social Security - And Won

County employees in Galveston, Texas opted out of Social Security some twenty-five years ago when they learned Social Security could be headed for trouble. They are glad they did.

Richard Gornto, president of First Financial Benefits Inc., which
administers and designed the Galveston plan, estimates his plan offers an
employee who works 37 years at an average of $25,596 a year a monthly benefit of
$1,250, versus $669 from Social Security. An employee who worked the same amount
of time, but earned $75,000, would get $3,663 a month, compared with $1,301 on
Social Security, he said.

There are some problems with the plan. People in Galveston can withdraw from the plan prior to retirement, thus reducing their monthly benefit. They can't do that with the government social security. However, this could be a plus as well as a minus.

There is one huge benefit, however, in addition to higher monthly benefits. That would be OWNERSHIP. The left despises that aspect of any plan but Ol' BC finds it most attractive.

The three Texas counties are among a small number of state and local
governments around the country that opted out of Social Security for government
employees or never joined up at all, like Massachusetts and Ohio.

Did you catch that first state? Massachusetts! Ol' BC can't help but wonder if their senators are going to support a plan for the rest of us like the one in their home state.

Just an observation.

Big Fat, Big Calories...Big Lawsuit?

MSNBC is reporting that Burger King is introducing a new breakfast sandwich that will outdo the famous Whopper in fat and calories.

Burger King’s "Enormous Omelet Sandwich" features a two-egg omelet topped with
two slices of American cheese, three strips of bacon and a sausage patty on a
hoagie-style bun. At 730 calories and 47 grams of fat, it is even heftier than
the company’s famed "Whopper," which weighs in at 700 calories and 42 grams of
fat. (Read article here .)

Ol' BC wonders if there will be an accompanying disclaimer such as:

Lard ass people and those with faulty tickers may wish to consider another selection.

Cereal makers Post, General Mills and Kellogg are already being sued regarding low sugar claims. This and prior suits against McDonalds and others makes one wonder if Burger King is getting in line or if Ol' BC's disclaimer example could become a reality.

Just a thought.

RPI Flaw Exposed

Ol' BC has been following March Madness with a great deal of interest given the lack of news recently. One can only stand so much of Terri Schiavo and Jacko. Now that the NCAA tournament is down to the final four, what will be said about the RPI rating index that said the Big Ten was the SIXTH ranked conference in the nation. With exactly half the final four, one might anticipate some tweaking of the calculations for future rankings and seedings. Granted the Big Ten didn't have one of its better years, but a ranking of sixth is a little harsh. Where is the highly regarded Big East? How about the Big Twelve? Pac Ten? Could these leagues have been slightly overrated? And keep in mind that Wisconsin was only a bounce or two away from making it three Big Ten Teams. By the way, Indiana even defeated Michigan State and Wisconsin in the conference season . Maybe Coach Davis' "fourth seed" in the Big Ten tournament did get slighted by the selection committee. (However, the Vanderbilt game in the NIT may have given the committee a pardon)

Just an observation.

Friday, March 25, 2005

How 'bout that Big Ten

Ol' BC has sat and listened all year to the talking heads bad mouthing the Big Ten conference this basketball season. Now that March Madness is in full swing, Ol' BC wonders if the windy basketball pundits are ready to eat a little crow. In case you haven't paid attention, there are three Big Ten teams in the "elite eight." I'm not saying they are outstanding teams, but they have been able to get it done to this point and the highly regarded ACC, Big East and Pac Ten aren't keeping pace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

One Social Security Comparison

Larry Kudlow had a good piece comparing a young worker's potential benefit under a private account scenario vs the status quo. Here's a bit of it:
Under current law, an 18 year old without a personal account would accumulate a
retirement benefit of $101,000, amounting to $843 per month. Under Ryan-Sununu,
with a personal account, that 18 year old would accumulate $939,000, or $5117
per month. In addition, the personal account can be inherited by family members.

One can point fingers at the assumptions, which appear to be somewhat conservative, used in the example. However the conclusion is readily apparent. The entire piece is worth reading.

For the record Ol' BC sees some form of private accounts as a great opportunity for the working poor and the lower middle class to move up the economic scale.

Just an observation.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rehnquist Returns Quietly

Has anyone noticed that Chief Justice Rehnquist returned to the bench? MSM coverage is lacking to say the least. The only account I've seen reports that he looks significantly better than at the swearing in of Dubya. Best Wishes.

Democrats a Party of Tolerance...Naaahhhh

Evilwhiteguy posted this and Ol' BC found it quite interesting. Seems that Playgirl editor-in-chief Michele Zipp was canned shortly after mentioning that she voted Republican in the 2004 election. What this has to do with her duties as an editor Ol' BC has yet to figure out. Nonetheless, Michele is among the unemployed. One would think that there is a semi-porn magazine out there somewhere, whose staff might be a little more tolerant of one's individuality, that could use someone with her experience.

Just a thought.

You've Got to be Kidding

This is unbelievable. I could understand if this was happening in the United States. It seems that common sense is on vacation in Austria as well as here. People donate their bodies to science all the time and this was once regarded as a heroic gesture. Now, in some parts, you may face charges if your scientific mission uses these corpses. This is sad:
Researchers at an Austrian university used human corpses to study how to develop
better crash-test dummies, and authorities are now investigating whether the
scientists should be charged with violating the dignity of the dead, a
prosecutor said Tuesday. Researchers at the Technical University of Graz used 21
bodies provided by The Medical University of Graz for tests performed between
1994 and 2003, said Alice Senarclens de Grancy, a spokeswoman for the Technical

Ol' BC is still planning the donation. I hope nobody faces criminal charges as a result, as some in our society like to follow the European leads, but that's a whole other issue.

Just a thought.

On Women Police Officers

When I get in need of a good dose of caustic humor, I turn to Ann Coulter's column. This one is especially interesting as she takes issue with feminists and women police officers in general. Not all of them mind you. It seems after Brian Nichols overpowered grandma in the courtroom and took her gun, Ann noticed this:
Atlanta court officials dispensed with any spending issues the next time Nichols
entered the courtroom when he was escorted by 17 guards and two police
helicopters. He looked like P. Diddy showing up for a casual dinner party.

The whole column is good and as usual Ann makes valid points.

Just an observation.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Another High School Shooting

This time in Minnesota. I wonder if the debate over video games will surface again. Have you ever noticed the discussions of these matters never seem to address personal responsibility? Is that because this generation never had to assume any? Parents don't spank kids. Schools can't discipline children. If they try they are likely to get sued by the parents. This is the result. Six killed at the school. Two, most likely the grandparents of the shooter shot earlier and later died. Fifteen wounded at the school. Of course this was in northern Minnesota on an Indian reservation, so it will be interesting to see how the MSM covers it.

Just an observation.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

On The Florida Pervert

The scumbag who kidnapped, raped and killed 9 year old Jessica Lunsford is in custody. This is a good example of what often happens when you release sex offenders back into a society that is not equipped to deal with them. RightWingRocker had this to say about Scott Peterson . (Note - it is profanity laced.) I think it can be applied to this Couey guy as well. I love to read RWR's rants and in this case it seems quite applicable to Couey. Ol' BC has no sympathy for those who abuse kids, let alone kill them. To read an article on the case click here . Hopefully the state of Florida will accept Couey's confession and execute him quickly( or let RWR at him).

Just a thought.

A Little Good News From Iraq

There are some indications that the number of insurgent attacks in Iraq and their effectiveness are on the decline. I read JurisPundit often and came across this interesting piece . It is worth taking a minute to read.

Just an observation.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Criminals may move to California

While listening to television earlier, I heard something that made me stop in my tracks. It seems California has more people killed as a result of police chases than any state in the United States. This is not shocking when you consider the sheer number of people in that state. BUT, as a result, there has been a bill introduced in the California legislature to prohibit police from pursuing the bad guy if he flees in a motor vehicle. OL' BC hasn't seen the actual bill, but this is really hard to fathom. What is the probability of a successful prosecution if an officer cannot immediately apprehend the perpetrator? What is the likelihood of a conviction if an officer is fortunate enough to get a license plate number and then loses sight of the vehicle and it is found minutes or hours later? I realize things are a little different in California, but this is on the cusp of total insanity. I can envision a mass rush of criminals to the left coast, but that could be a good thing for the rest of us.

Just a thought.

Friday, March 11, 2005

IU Athletics

Indiana University Athletic Director Rick Greenspan's number is: (812) 855-1966

Feel free to call and leave a message detailing your feelings on the state of IU basketball. Don't forget to add your two cents on the future of Mike Davis...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

One Example of Social Security Solvency

Larry Kudlow's Money Politic$ site has a link to Peter Ferrara's column in the Washington Times discussing one of Ol' BC's pet topics - Social Security reform. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) and Sen. John Sununu(R-N.H.) have proposed a bill which demonstrates the benefit of private Social Security accounts. I doubt seriously if this particular one can fly but it is a start. If you take the time to read the article and follow the debate which will include a million different opinions of the actuarial estimates as time goes on, remember the BIG concept which opponents fail to mention. OWNERSHIP. With all the benefits to the system and its solvency, the biggest benefit is to the common working man and his acquisition of wealth. This scares some people. Personally, I wish I was young enough to benefit from it. I could become an activist on this one!

Just a thought.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Iraq TV Getting Backbone

Tom Bowler at Libertarian Leanings had an interesting post. It seems Iraqi television interviewed another terrorist and asked some very difficult questions. It seems this particular one doesn't pray, doesn't go to mosque, drinks and kills for money. The interviewer calls him out. You can read it by clicking here .

It seems like democracy is coming.

Just an observation.

Monday, March 07, 2005

More on Social Security

While reading Wizbang I came across an amazing post. Some Democrats are actually beginning to acknowledge that there is a Social Security issue with which we're going to have to deal.

Some the those quoted will surprise you folks who have been following the dialogue. Well, maybe not those quoted, but what they had to say. Check it out . It's pretty good stuff. Ol' BC is a little surprised at a parts of it, however, the context of the comments quoted aren't known at this point.

Nonetheless, Ol' BC still believes in the opportunity for the working poor and lower middle class to acquire wealth that is provided by private social security accounts. There is a tremendous amount of room here for debate and compromise and still give these people significant liquid assets over time. Those who oppose talk about Enron and companies who crashed due to fraud or blatant mismanagement. Ol' BC doesn't support single issue stocks for these accounts. The diversified funds and other alternatives available are too numerous to mention. Accounts can be mandated to include government insured CD's, government issued instruments, etc. to provide the desired level of safety. These are the types of things that need debated and agreed upon.

BUT, these particular people recognizing that this is, in fact, an issue that needs dealt with is encouraging. Stay tuned for more.

Just an observation.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Peroxide, Bacitracin or Maggots?

This could be the question shortly concerning how to treat a dirty or infected wound. It has been determined that the little blowfly larvae are almost miraculous in treating these type of wounds. Can you imagine the sobering effect if the doctor mused, "antibotic ointment or maggots?" What? Yes, maggots.

An ABC news article states:
In living people, maggots clean wounds by eating dead and infected tissue. In
addition, they disinfect the wounds and stimulate the growth of healthy tissue,
said Dr. Ronald Sherman, an assistant professor of medicine and pathology at the
University of California, Irvine. "There is no single other product on the
market that can do all those actions simultaneously."

These little maggots seem to be particularly useful in difficult leg and foot wounds. In a world of rapidly evolving modern medicine and pharmaceuticals, who among us common folk would have looked to maggots? I wonder how many amputations may have been unnecessary.

Just a thought.

You can read the entire article here and draw your own conclusion.

A Mike Davis Conspiracy???

Attention college basketball fans - As we are rapidly approaching March Madness, Ol' BC heard an interesting tidbit on Fox Sports radio today. But first, let me digress to last December. As you may or may not know, Indiana University's basketball coach, who is considered by many to be on the proverbial hot seat, has said on numerous occasions that he considers the Hoosiers loss at home to Charlotte, "a win." This is because of the half court shot dispute that ended the game. In seven tenths of a second, a Charlotte player caught the inbounds pass, turned, dribbled and shot. The shot went in and was ruled a good basket to defeat Coach Davis and the Hoosiers. It has been replayed over and over showing clearly the light at the backboard was on prior to the shot being taken.

AND NOW THIS. Earlier in the week the Hoosiers traveled to Wisconsin for a Big Ten game. The Badgers won on a rebound basket at the buzzer. Indiana is clearly on "the bubble" at best for an NCAA tournament bid. Although the game didn't have a clearly controversial call, it appeared to Ol' BC that the home team got the benefit of several close calls and no calls. NOW, Ol' BC hears today that one of the officials working the Indiana-Wisconsin game is in fact the ATHLETIC DIRECTOR at Northern Iowa University, which happens to be another "bubble" team. Ol' BC has not been able to confirm this, but the talking head who was interviewing Dale Brown seemed certain. Could this be another "I consider that game a win" for Coach Davis?

Just an observation.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Greenspan talks taxes - sales tax

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan brooched the possibility of a national consumption tax to replace or partially replace our outdated federal income tax system. Ol' BC has said for a long time that this would be an extraordinary idea. Why? How much taxes do drug dealers and other crooks pay on their illegal gains? Zip. Nil. Nada. All of this money would begin being taxed as it is spent. What a windfall for the government. This could be so sizable that the honest taxpayer may actually gain some relief.

But what about the poor ? Wouldn't it be unfair to them? Not if structured properly. The government could rebate sales tax money to those who make below the predetermined income level. They could even do it in advance so as not to have to bear the burden in the first year.

The idea would take planning and research, but it would have to be much better for economic growth than the present fiasco. An AP article had this to say.
Greenspan cautioned that there would be both political and administrative
difficulties in moving toward a new national tax system. Simplification is
needed, perhaps a hybrid between consumption taxes and income taxes, he told the
President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.
"In other words, don't try
for purity," Greenspan said in response to a question from a panelist.

Alan Greenspan has been one of the most respected of all Federal Reserve Chairmen. Congress would be wise to consider his proposals. Of course there will be naysayers. However, if studied in depth, it would be a wise choice to find a way to make this work.

Read the whole article here and start to follow this issue. Something needs to be done with the tax system.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Iraq al-Qaeda Connection

Oh, that antagonistic Osama. Throughout the entire presidential election season, we kept hearing that there was no connection between Iraq and the war on terror. Now, along comes a Washington Times article stating in fact that there is a connection.

Recent intelligence reports showed that bin Laden contacted Abu Musab Zarqawi,
al Qaeda's senior operative in Iraq, and urged Islamists there to shift from
attacking U.S. targets in that country to targets in the United States, said
officials familiar with the reports.

Just an observation.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Social Security Reform Going To Move Slowly

As President Bush is out on the trail talking about social security reform, some leaders seem to think the issue may take some time to resolve. That's a shame for the working folks, especially the young and the working poor. Those are the ones who will be the big beneficiaries of some form of private accounts. This article points out that the system's problems are being brought to light, but that there will politics played to the nth degree in Washington on this. Much is going to be debated in coming months on this issue and potential solutions.

My guess is that the Republicans are going to call for private accounts, which will help the poorer folks over time. This tends to contradict long held ideas that Republicans are the party for the rich. The Democrats more than likely will oppose any effort in this regard (and possibly anything Bush proposes) which also contradicts commonly held opinions that they are the party for the working people.

I don't understand why a party supposedly for the working people would oppose such a proposal which would allow anyone willing to work the opportunity to acquire wealth, UNLESS it's to keep the poor poor and dependent on a government stipend. By doing this they can continue to try to impress upon those people all that the government is doing for them. In reality, people need to understand what the government is doing to them.

Just a thought.

Another Middle East Democracy? Looks Promising.

In case you missed it, there was big stuff going on in Lebanon. Crowds of people in a peaceful protest, brought down the government. Perhaps news of the democracy in Iraq is spreading throughout the Middle East. The Baron has more on this. It seems like people in the Middle East may really prefer a democratic form of government. They went so far as to shout, "Out Syria." This can't be good news for the Bush bashers.

Just a thought.