Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Seether kind of day

When things in my life get crazy, I turn to music. This election season the band you'll hear most often coming from my room is Seether -- I liked them before but lately the lyrics have some meaning to me. "Fake it" is one of my top five favorites, as well as recently discovering their version of "Careless Whisper" -- They have some of their videos on their website -- Songs like "Breakdown" another top five favorite of mine...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you read product reviews?

The amount of information the Internet brings us is pretty amazing, I'm one of those that takes the time to research products and large item purchases before I buy. Sometimes the consumer reviews on products makes me decide a product is for me, sometimes it makes me have second thoughts. Sometimes it helps me talk one of my daughters out of buying a product they've seen advertising on...Either way, from apidexin reviews to zicam reviews, it can pay off to take just a few moments to research before you buy...

Time's top viral campaign videos...

If you have some time, you might want to take a look at the Best viral campaign ads of 2010. I viewed all 29, didn't think all of them were that great, but I did agree a few were noteworthy:

Chuck Grassley

Dale Peterson, I wish he would have won too

Carly Fiorina's Demon Sheep of course made the list

John Hickenlooper's video is one I saw before and loved same with Mike Weinstein

Alan Grayson...has guts :-)

White Rabbits and other things

I can't help it but whenever I see any type of information or website related to weight loss pills I think of White Rabbit by then Jefferson Airplane. It's one of those automatic associations that those of a younger generation probably don't make. When I found the below YouTube of the song, the creator did a really nice job. So, a musical flash back moment...

Op-ed piece by Sherrod Brown

TEN years ago this fall the Senate sold out American manufacturing. By a vote of 83 to 15, it established so-called permanent normal trade relations with China, paving the way for that country to join the World Trade Organization. As a result, Chinese imports to the United States fell under the same low tariffs and high quotas as those from countries like Canada and Britain.

Today, though, our trade relations with China are anything but normal. The 2000 agreement’s proponents insisted it would enable a billion Chinese consumers to buy American products. Instead, our bilateral trade deficit has increased 170 percent, largely because China has undermined free-market competition through illegal subsidies and currency manipulation.

Unless the administration takes punitive steps in response to China’s unfair trade practices, the American economy — and the American worker — will continue to suffer.

The old agreement on trade with China was never really about promoting American manufacturing. Rather, it was a cynical ploy on the part of many multinational companies. They lobbied Congress to approve it, promising a boost to American exports; then, once it passed, they closed domestic plants, moved production overseas and sold their products back to American consumers.

As for those billion Chinese consumers? We now know that what the companies were really so excited about was a billion inexpensive Chinese workers.

True, our exports to China have increased. But reporting only exports is like reporting just one team’s score in baseball: the Cubs scoring five runs sounds good, until you hear that the Reds tallied 12.

Indeed, our exports pale in comparison to the torrent of artificially cheap Chinese imports. Economists, including free-traders, estimate that price manipulation keeps Chinese products 40 percent cheaper than comparable American-made goods.

Inexpensive products might sound nice, but we lose 13,000 net jobs for every $1 billion increase in our trade deficit. Our $226 billion deficit with China has meant shuttered factories, lost jobs and devastated communities across America.

And it’s no longer just Chinese bicycles and electronics that are flooding our markets. China will soon make half the world’s wind turbines and solar panels, most of which it plans to export to America. And, as usual, China’s clean-energy industry relies on large government subsidies, in direct violation of international trade laws.

In response, the Obama administration recently accepted a petition, filed by the United Steelworkers under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, to investigate China’s state support for clean-energy exports. If the White House finds that the support violates international trade rules, Section 301 allows it to respond with a range of aggressive measures, including tariffs.

This strategy has worked before: in the 1980s and ’90s, the United States used its 301 authority to combat Japanese and Korean subsidies and trade barriers. Though critics warned of bitter trade wars, the get-tough approach actually led to more balanced trade relationships, and even encouraged foreign investors, like Asian auto companies, to build plants in America.

In trying to get China to play fair, though, Washington has instead relied on rhetoric and moral suasion. It hasn’t worked. Only rigorous enforcement of trade rules by the Obama administration can reverse the harm caused by the permanent normal trade relations agreement.

Congress has a role to play, too: when the Senate reconvenes next month, it should vote, as the House did in September, to expand the president’s authority to impose tariffs on China or any other country that unfairly manipulates its currency.

Many politicians claim they support products “made in America.” But the phrase is more than an empty slogan; it means standing up for American manufacturers. Only by learning the lessons of “normal” trade with China — and acknowledging buyer’s remorse — can we reach a truly balanced bilateral relationship that works for America.

Senator Sherrod Brown

Report on Tea Party released

With all of the discussion this election cycle about the Tea Party, some of you may be interested in reading the report that was released today -- it can be downloaded and read at

A selection of some of the information contained in the report from the section on "Tea Parties - Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Militia Impulse":
Tea Party leaders have bristled at any mention of the racism, Christian nationalism and white supremacy that is a part of their movement. In several notable instances, people of color have been prominently put forward as speakers or entertainers at Tea Party rallies, as if to say: look, this is a racially diverse movement that wants to add more color to its ranks. Prominent among these few individuals has been Lloyd Marcus, previously mentioned in this report as a paid consultant of Tea Party Express.

Nevertheless, Confederate battle flags, signs that read “America is a Christian nation,” and racist caricatures of President Obama have been an undeniable presence at Tea Party events in both local communities and in Washington, D.C. The venom (and spittle) directed at African-American Congressmen during the health care debate carried an unmistakably racist message. It is not the contention of this report that all Tea Partiers are consciously racist. The evidence presented, however, speaks for itself.

Health care reform legislation had been a flashpoint for Tea Party protests, beginning with a concerted effort to shout down Congressional Democrats at their “town hall” meetings during August 2009. The following November, at a Tea Party protest aimed at health care legislation, ten people were arrested for unlawful entry when they tried to force their way into the offices of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. As the bill moved closer to passage in March 2010, strident voices called for violence. One 1990s-era militiaman from Alabama, Mike Vanderboegh, urged whoever was reading his blog to break the windows of Democrats. “Break them NOW...Break them with rocks...”[233] In the aftermath of this call, the office windows of several members of the House of Representatives were shattered with bricks.

Both polling data and observable evidence point to the fact that Tea Party attendees and their supporters are mostly white. Significantly, these white Tea Partiers show noticeably different attitudes than those of white people generally, particularly in regards to racially charged issues. Tea Partiers are more likely than white people generally to believe that “too much” has been made of the problems facing black people: 52% to 39%.[244]

A striking difference over positive attitudes towards black people showed up in a multi-state poll, conducted in March 2010, by the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality. Of those who strongly disapproved of the Tea Party, 55% agreed with the statement that black people were “VERY hard working.” Of those who strongly approved of the Tea Party, only 18% agreed with the statement that black people were “VERY hard working.” This 24-point difference pointed at Tea Party supporters as more likely to have negative feelings about the work ethic of black people. In fact, 68% of the Tea party “approvers” believed that if only they would try harder, then black people would be as well off as white people. That number fell by almost half, to 35%, when the “disapprovers” answered it.[245]

Further, almost three-quarters of Tea Party supporters (73%), told pollsters that government programs aimed at providing a social safety net for poor people actually encourages them to remain poor.[246] In fact, more than a bit of anecdotal evidence shows hostility and resentment towards the poor and the programs designed to help them. Hence, the signs such as one at an early St. Louis Tea Party that read: “Honk if I am paying your mortgage.” Not every Tea party supporter exhibited such feelings, certainly, but enough of it showed up in opinion polls to give credence to the description of Tea Parties as mean-spirited.

I recommend reading the entire report, "Who is an American? Tea Parties, Nativism, and the Birthers" is also an interesting chapter, one part:
The Revolutionary War-era costumes, the yellow “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flags from the same era, the earnest recitals of the pledge of allegiance, the over-stated veneration of the Constitution, and the defense of “American exceptionalism” in a world turned towards transnational economies and global institutions: all are signs of the over-arching nationalism that helps define the Tea Party movement.

It is a form of American nationalism, however, that does not include all Americans, and separates itself from those it regards as insufficiently “real Americans.” Consider in this regard, a recent Tea Party Nation Newsletter article entitled, “Real Americans Did Not Sue Arizona.” Or the hand-drawn sign at a Tea Party rally that was obviously earnestly felt. “I am a arrogant American, unlike our President, I am proud of my country, our freedom, our generosity, no apology from me.”

Cross posted from Glass City Jungle

Friday, October 15, 2010

Construction employment numbers

The Associate General Contractors of America (AGC) announced yesterday that construction employment is at a 14-year low.

Association officials noted, “The construction industry continues to suffer from declining investments in construction and broad uncertainty about the future of many federal infrastructure programs and tax rates.”

The unemployment rate for the construction industry stands at 17.2%, while the overall U.S. unemployment rate was 9.6%.

Many economists believe that looking at planned construction projects and the employment rate of construction jobs is a way to see where the economy is headed. This would mean, our recovery at this point is still slow.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How far to run away...

This election season has been a draining one for a variety of reasons, it makes it very tempting when I see websites about things like, Branson vacations to plan an escape after November 2nd is a thing of the past. I've gone as far as to check to see how many hours away Branson is from Toledo. Then contemplated on a 12 hour drive with no computer access, which really sounds even more tempting at this point in time.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

With the Iott "Nazi" issue a national media story...

Since the election for the ninth congressional district is one that I've focused quite a bit on my local political blog, for those of you looking for coverage on that story. I recommend some of the blog posts on Glass City Jungle and a piece for the Toledo Free Press that I contributed to.

Iott participated in Nazi re-enactments reports the Atlantic – UPDATED

Iott participation in military re-enactments raising questions

Cantor "would absolutely repudiate" Iott

Military re-enactments focus of Iott & Kaptur releases

And I recommend watching where it all started, on Bill Maher. The below link has video of the clip where Josuha Green, senior editor of the Atlantic shares the photos of Iott dressed in a German SS Wiking uniform.

Link to video.

Some of those on the Maher site slammed P. J. O'Rourke's performance on the show, I have to say the former Toledoan had some moments were he was funny. The Maher crew was also creative with their suggested campaign slogans for Iott. "Today Toledo -- tomorrow the world" was funny.

It's been interesting to watch, I personally don't believe Rich Iott is a Nazi, but I think his campaign could have handled what they knew was coming better and that if he wanted to be involved in re-enactments (which I'm fine with) he might have considered a different unit to pretend about. His comments complimenting the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking and Hitler's Germany as far as their power, easily became campaign fodder.