Thursday, July 31, 2008

A question of Conscience

So, have you heard the latest? Bush has redefined what constitutes an abortion to include many contraceptives AND, here's the kicker, is introducing a bill that will provide protection to the people within the health care industry who DENY access to these because they have a "question of conscience". And any health facility that receives ANY federal funding will lose that funding if they don't comply. Is this sinking in?

It goes so far as to allow a receptionist the right to deny a patient an appointment for an abortion, contraceptives, etc. if her conscience stands in the way.

If a woman is raped and the attending emergency doctor doesn't agree with abortion, he can legally deny her the "day after" pill. The clinic cannot fire him. So, conservative minded individuals have suddenly become a protected class? Cannot hire or fire based on gender, religion, race, blah blah blah and now "question of conscience".

So, I ask you, if a pharmacist suspecting, or even knowing, a man is having an affair on his wife has a "question of Conscience", can she decide not to fill a prescription for Viagra? What if the tending doctor is a Jehova's witness, can he deny a blood transfusion to a patient because he has a question of conscience? Where does the question of conscience begin and end? So, will the law read that a question of conscience can ONLY apply in cases of abortion? Is that because that's the only "question of conscience" that counts? What if a lab technician has a question of conscience about the treatment of lab animals?

How can the law state when a question of conscience can be applied and when it cannot?

When I was in my teens, my period cramps were really really bad. I was in severe pain for several hours and nothing we tried worked. I was 16, I hadn't even been to a gynocologist yet. My mother was still taking me to a pediatrician. And that's where she took me to discuss my cramps. The doctor prescribed me the BC pill to stop the cramps. It worked. They stopped. According to this bill, if someone along the way wanted to interfere because they had a question of conscience, they could. Even though I was not getting the prescription to be used for contraception.

This is a quotation from the Wall Street Journal about this bill: 'If the draft regulation were to prompt some insurance companies to drop coverage for prescription birth control, "that would be fantastic," said Tom McClusky, a strategist with the conservative Family Research Council.'

I have never held so much contempt for a President as I do this one; everything about him makes me want to vomit. I don't understand how his wife can live with him and still feel good about her own life. It is my understanding that she devoted a great deal of effort to help him overcome his alcoholism and get his life together. For what purpose? So he could undo the clock on women's rights? This is how he shows her his respect? It's a fucking slap in the face.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More campaign observations

I was shocked when McCain criticized Obama for not visiting the troops while doing his global tour. The reason I was shocked was the method he opted for. McCain said:

"The most solemn duty of a commander in chief is to fulfill his responsibility to the men and women who serve this country in uniform."

I had to re-read that statement twice because I thought I missed something. My first question was, 'did the election happen, is Obama President?' Then, I thought 'wait, Obama isn't President YET, why such a strong reprimand?'

I understand what McCain was doing but he made a grave error in doing it. He NEVER should have referred to the title "Commander in Chief" as an implication of what his opponent should be doing. His criticism raised Obama to a whole new level. His criticisms indicated that even he could see Obama as President of the United States. And he's basically saying, "Obama is doing the President thing all wrong."

I agree with Ben Stein's point of view that McCain is running a lack-luster campaign. I think his criticisms of Obama's globe trotting only validated Obama as a real contender for the White House.

Of course, McCain does have a disadvantage. Obama is making history. That makes great news coverage so everyone wants to photo these events. America is very interested in this process; and I think even those who don't support Obama can't help being curious about what he's doing. I'm sure they seek out news about him even if their approach is cynical. And no one can deny that Obama looks really good out there.

Obama was very smart not to have visited the troops. If he had done so, I think McCain's camp could successfully have painted Obama as doing so just for the opportunity to advance his Political motives; I think the fallout would have been more damaging. I am actually enjoying the elegance and class that Obama is demonstrating in his campaign.

And a word to the wise for McCain. If indeed he is distancing himself from Bush in order to generate more support, he will lose that support if he comes across as equally arrogant and self-righteous as Bush. He needs to cool his jets and apply some creativity to his campaign.

Has anyone noticed that Obama has a way of campaigning that really has nothing to do with his opponent. It's almost as though he doesn't acknowledge his opponent exists.

Friday, July 25, 2008


There are many techniques that sales people use to close a sale. One of those techniques is to get the consumer to visualize themselves using the product or service that is being sold to them. For example, if you are purchasing a car, the salesman might ask you to picture yourself driving into work and everyone admiring your car. Or if you are buying a house, the agent might ask you to visualize Christmas morning in the living room. It's a very effective technique; so effective indeed, that Bush used it during his campaign.

It was subtle but being in sales and understanding all the different types of closes, I caught it immediately. I don't know if you recall this or not but after all of his debates and maybe even after his various interviews, he would look at the camera and swear the first few lines of the oath of office. What was he doing? He was getting America to begin visualizing him swearing into office. If they could visualize it in their heads, then they would vote for him. It was extremely ingenious of his campaign director to get him to do this.

Well, Barack Obama is doing something very similar. He is helping America visualize him as a world leader. And if they at least aren't convinced that he would be an excellent leader, he can at least convince them that he won't make an absolute fool of himself out there. He's very good at this. At some point in his campaign against Hillary Clinton, he stopped debating with her about his being the best one to be nominated and just moved on and began behaving as though the sale had already been closed. When you are looking at a car and the salesman asks you what color you want before you've decided you want to buy the car, that's assuming the sale is made. It can be effective, too. And that's what Obama did.

Obama is very very clever. I'm amazed at how smartly he is taking this away from his opponents. And that's what he's doing, he's taking it away. If lack of experience and Obama's ability to be a world figure is the issue, he's taking it by the horns and giving America the impression he can handle the job. He doesn't even have to be effective out there right now. All he has to do is get America to percieve he knows what he's doing. Which leads us to the last commonly stated marketing term, Perception is Reality. If the consumer perceives it to be true, then it doesn't matter if it isn't true because they are going to move forward as though it is true. Especially if there is a possibility that it could be true.

Yep. That Obama certainly knows what he's doing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Biting the Bullet

I did it. I bit the bullet and wrote a check to pay off my car today. There were 2 years of payments remaining. I have also paid off both my personal and business credit cards. I'm about 2 months away from being totally debt free. I'm a littel scared about parting with the cash. I'm not going to starve or live on the streets any time soon.

I have a taste for credit and I want to break myself of it.

Dave Ramsey would be very proud of me. :) So, I do believe the next step, once this is all done, is to begin using my debit card for all purchases. That means, if I ain't got the money, I can't make the purchase. More discipline.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why no Outrage?

There is an EXCELLENT article in today's edition of the Wall Street Journal titled "Why No Outrage?" The question is posed regarding the collapse of the financial sector and the Government's willingness to continue to help them stay afloat. I believe he puts it as "throwing money at those who need it the least".

The result of the mistakes made by these financial institutions is that our savings and investment opportunities are tanked and homes are foreclosing across America. So, why aren't Americans shouting out in protest.

I have a theory. I think it's because we think no on is listening. Well, no one that counts at least. During Bush's administration, the National Bank of America drafted a bill that would make it more difficult for the consumer to file for bankruptcy. Neither the white house nor congress made it any less difficult for the credit card industry to continue to push the consumer into more debt than they could bear.

I think Americans have felt that as long as this administration is in office our cries cannot be heard. I take that back. Our cries ARE heard but perhaps this administrations believes that the public is to be seen and not heard. And then any policies that the administration does put into place isn't going to help the consumer.

Does anyone recall that our President proposed that our Social Security be privatized? Can you imagine the mess this whole situation would have been if indeed our social security had been handed over to the financial "rocks" to manage for us?

So, here we discover that our savings, money market accounts and mutual funds are growing at glacier rates due to low interest rates. But is anyone noticing that the credit card industry continues to justify their sky rocketing credit rates at 18%, 24% and now my sister tells me they can go up to 35%. Why not? Does Congress or the Bush Administration care if Americans are drowning in debt. It would seem they are more concerned with being sure that the very wealthy in this country aren't too uncomfortable.

Early this week, Bush gave a speech. I was able to listen to it. In this speech, he kept reiterating that American's deposits up to $100K were insured and that they needn't worry about their money. According to this article about the fall of Indy Mac in the San Francisco Chronicle, "the continuing stampede on IndyMac suggests that Americans either don't understand deposit insurance or have lost faith in the banking system." I think they've lost faith in both the banking system and in this administrations ability to do the right thing.

We should thank our lucky stars that our President has limited terms in office. And I sincerely hope that we are simply patiently waiting for the current administration to leave. I also hope we are not being naive in anticipating that the new administration will listen to voice of it's people. I would very much like for America to find her voice again.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I was drunk when I wrote the last post.... I don't even remember writing it.

I had to go back to Dharma Cafe this afternoon to drop something off and I ended up staying for lunch. I really love that restaurant. It's like my little home away from home.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We closed the place down

It was such a friggin' great event.

YIPPIE KAIYA (or however you spell it.)

My event at Dharma Cafe was such a great event. We closed the place down. I think I drank an entire bottle of champaigne and my tab, well, it was significantly less than I was expecting. SO, that is a great thing.

Ok, so time to go to bed.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Yahoo!! Yippee! My website is finally complete. So, this phase of my company development is over and I can now focus on doing my business and growing.

Tomorrow is my big shindig. I'm hosting an appreciation of our friends, clients and associates at one of my favorite little restaurants. 40 people have RSVP'd so far. I still have tomorrow's mail and expect there to be a few more RSVP's. Last year I held it at La Griglia and I had 30 in attendance. I can't afford an open bar but I do plan on being generous with the hors d'oeuvres. Maybe next year I can do an open bar. On Verra.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This is TOO Cute.

I discovered this on the "Daily Nooz" blog. Enjoy!


I really can't help but wonder if the oil companies are intentionally bringing up the price of gasoline to get our attention during this election year.

Right now the Democrats are calling for us to dip into our reserves instead of expanding our offshore drilling. This call highlights a weakness in their party. They don't have an energy plan. That was one of Clinton's weaknesses as well. Their approach is similar to that of one who dips into their savings without planning out a budget. I don't think the emergency reserve is meant to be used to bring down the price of gasoline.

This is going to be a real challenge for Obama. Iraq and oil are tied together. If indeed he is going to pull us out he needs a very strong and solid energy plan. A PLAN. Not rhetoric about the environment and alternative fuel sources, etc. He needs a plan. I believe that what we are experiencing now in terms of oil prices is only just the beginning. Once we pull out of Iraq, there is no telling how consistent the importing of Oil to the U.S. will be. Without a strong western presence in the middle east, how will we protect our oil interests?

If the argument is that we shouldn't be over there protecting our oil interests then in what position does that put us here? If we can't drill here in the U.S. and we are forced to hit our reserves, what happens when we run out of reserves? Alternative fuel sources is a great idea but the transitioning into such is very slow and expensive. Engines have to be developed and the alternative fuel source has to be tested. What happens if we discover that the supply of ethenol can't meet our consumptive demands? Can we really grow enough "fuel" to match what we can pull out of the ground?

If we think that Gasoline is expensive now, an alternative fuel source isn't going to be cheaper.

America has some very difficult decisions to make this election year. Our focus is being shifted from the war in Iraq to our pocket books. Even I have been eating out less because cutting back on driving isn't something I can do right now. As a realtor, I live out of my car. I believe America will decide that we want our tanks filled at a reasonable price more than we want to be out of Iraq. So, in my opinion, Obama needs to be prepared for that and develop a plan for it.

Monday, July 14, 2008


There is an article in Todays edition of the Wall Street Journal about a case that Tiffany Jewelers had against eBay. Apparently, Tiffany's is suing eBay because eBay wasn't able to stop all counterfeit jewelry from being sold through their program.

eBay won the case. Their argument is that they do everything they can to stop the counterfeit merchandise from being sold. When they are notified, they take the buyer off the page. Tiffany thinks it isn't good enough. From what I gather, Tiffany's seems to think that eBay should be experts on all goods bearing Tiffany's brand and know from the get go if it is a knock off.

I don't see how that is eBay's job. eBay doesn't guarantee the authenticity of the merchandise that is sold on their site. They simply put together a method for people to sell their goods online. It's like walking into someone's garage sale.

As it stands now, if a company wants to protect it's brand, they have to police the marketplace themselves and crack down on it. I remember when I worked for Calvin Klein, the clothing labels were kept in a vault. Several years ago, a story was done about something up in Seattle and there was a photo of a man with a cap. Apparently, he had painted his own UT logo on the cap. UT hunted the man down and told him it was not an official version of their logo and told him to discard it or be sued.

Tiffany wants to "change the law so that major manufacturers wouldn't have the burden of policing their own marks."

I'm afraid the courts are right. It really is up to the company to police it's own brand. How can the legal system police it? Who's going to pay them to do it? What would any company's argument be to support the idea that it isn't their burden? Whose burden is it if not the companies themselves?


I saw the moview "Hancock" Friday night. I LOVED IT!

Will Smith's irreverent approach to his super-hero abilities is absolutely hillarious. He is such a talented actor. Jason Bateman's innocent bleeding heart (no pun intended) face couldn't have been better cast. And the story line was very interesting.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE; and take your kids. It's very kid friendly.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I love my smoothies and other stuff

Lately, I've started using Soy milk instead of regular milk and I actually like it. I use the Silk brand. Since I've never been one to drink down a glass of milk, and I have traditionally just used milk for cereal and cooking, I don't notice the difference in taste.

So, now I'm into smoothies. I think I have one every day. Today was raspberry banana, yesterday strawberry and banana. I use low fat yogurt as base also.

I think there was a day or two when I didn't have one and I was afraid that my bananas would go bad on me, so I threw them in the freezer. Ummm, I think your supposed to peel them first. I tried to peel a frozen banana this evening and it didn't work. I just used a knife and peeled it like a potato.

Boy, do I love my daily smoothie. I bought mango and hope to try a mango one tomorrow. I have to be careful about getting too ambitious with the produce. It's just me and I have to be sure I can eat everything before it goes bad. Its just so tempting when one is walking among all that fruit and the smoothie ideas begin to flow.


I had an open house today for one of my listings in Spring. Last week we had a good turn out but this weekend, I had only one person walk through. The good thing about last weekend's open house is that a couple came in that needed a Realtor; and they liked me. So they asked me to help them find a house. I took the wife out on Saturday and we looked at 11 houses. We were going to take a second look at two houses this afternoon after my open house and then quite assuredly put in a contract on one of them. Something came up and they had to postpone.

I was sort of bummed out but it was important and it couldn't be helped.

I put red and gold balloons on my open house signs. Today, only one balloon popped. Last week I think 4 of them popped. When I got home, for some morbid amusement, I tied one to each of my cat's tail. Mimi was totally oblivious. She walked around as though nothing was wrong. Seamus was scared by it. So I had to take it off.


I had a date Friday night. I had gone out with this guy last year. We had been dating about a month or so but something wasn't quite right. Apparently, he was seeing someone else, too. Which is ok because we weren't exclusive. But things got serious between them and then it didn't work out. So now he's come back. I feel like I'm second choice here. I liked him when I first met him and would really look forward to seeing him. But I don't feel it here. We'll see.

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's here it's here, I'm rich!

My IRS "economic stimulus" check arrived.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Just stuff

On the 4th I spent the day with my friend John and his daughter Sara. We drove to The Woodlands where a close friend lives and joined her neighbors. There was a swimming pool, which made it a pleasant evening. The weather had cleared up nicely and it was sunny and warm. We got caught up in a lot of gridlock once the firework display was complete, that wasn't so fun. But overall it was nice.

So, last night I was bored and called John to see if he wanted to see a movie with me. Instead, he invited me to see this. Shakespeare wrote 8 plays depicting the bickering over the throne by a couple of families. They are long and, to many, very hard to follow.

So this theater had the idea of taking all 8 plays and condensing them into 25 minute plays; and then handing each one to a different director to execute. Each director was given 7 actors and $150 budget. I was quite impressed with the outcome.

There was one actor among them that I thought was really talented. I wonder if we will see more of him in other venues. His name is Eddie Chevez. There was just something about him.

Nothing more to report.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Promises, Promises

I recieved a letter some time ago from the IRS that said I would have my "economic stimulus" payment of $575 by July 5. Well, here we are, July 5 and no check! Surprise, surprise. So, maybe tomorrow. But I have to say, I'm pleased to know it's on the higher end of the spectrum.

I always like getting money in the mail.

Friday, July 04, 2008

How things might be connected.

I read a report this morning in the Wall Street Journal about Obama. His party line has been that he would be withdrawing troops within a 16 month time frame. Apparently, he's been dropping that part and has been sort of giving himself an "out".

Now his line is "I've always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain security". That could mean any length of time. That would allow a new line such as "36 months" in order to "provide optimimum safety and security while maintaining security".

Then, later in the article, "When asked why he has omitted the phrase [withdrawal in 16 months] recently, Sen. Obama said he has been 'focused on the economy because people are paying $30 to $40 for a gallon of gas.'"

Interesting that our gas prices are climbing so high during an election year. To a certain degree oil companies and the middle men are to blame but mostly, it's the cost originates from the primary source of the petrol. The Middle East, perhaps? I wonder, [uh oh, the conspiracy theorist in me is showing] if the oil companies are giving the U.S. a little taste of what it could potentially be like if our presence is weak in the Middle East.

So, what exactly is Obama discovering that has caused him to cool his 16 month pledge? Is it that he understands that the Middle East holds our economy over a barrel (no pun intended) should they decide to really put the screws to us on the price of oil? If that is true, is he discovering we need a strong military presence in Iraq? If Arab countries were not resolute enough to prevent Al Quaeda operitives from seizing a good chunk of the Oil Supply in the Middle East, how would that affect the U.S.?

Truthfully, as much as I want to see us out of Iraq, I have a sneaking suspicion we can't leave as easily as we could have left Vietnam. Vietnam had no economic connection with the U.S. We didn't import or export much to Vietnam and they really had very little clout among the Asian community. I take that back, we were exporting a lot of weaponry to Vietnam; however, we were shipping to ourselves, for the most part. Real or not, the U.S. worried about China getting involved. It was all part of the Red Scare.

Iraq, however, is a different story. One could say they are Arabs first and Iraqi's second. Unlike Asian cultures where they are very xenophobic towards their neighbors, the Arab culture bands together. China would have come to the aid of Vietnam only if it proved to be an economic benefit to do so. But as far as China is concerned, Vietnam is more towards the bottom of the food chain. Korea is somewhat in the same situation.

There are so many challenges facing alternative fuel sources. I'm not referring just to the distribution and the altering of engines to accept the new fuel. There are many many products we use on a daily basis that come from petrol. When petrol is refined there are bi-products that are used to create more products. Our reliance on petrol goes beyond our automobiles. But that is where we feel it the most.

I'm very very curious. Why is Obama cooling his 16 month pledge? Is there a connection between High Oil Prices and the War in Iraq?

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I'm so addicted to this video that I discovered on Timmy's Blog. I can't help it, I love watching it. It's been up for just a little over a week and already it has close to 4 million views.

I've counted the places in the video I've been to... my number is 10. Watch it for fun then watch it and count the number of places you've been to.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


My stationery has been printed and it's beeee uuuuu teeee fuuuuul. I love it love it love it.

I went with three color print (pricey) and there is bleeding (very pricey). But, in the end, I think it will be worth it.

It just looks so damned classy. I'm trying to find excuses to mail stuff to people so I can use it. I got note cards and note card envelopes too.

I can brag about it but I didn't design it. These guys did.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

For DoggyBloggy

DB made a comment on my post that he would get sea sick if he were on the boat. The seas were a little bit rough while we were out there. Here is a good example of how much the boat rocked. Look at the windows in the background and you can see the sea rise and fall. Its better if you watch it in high quality.