Saturday, September 30, 2006
Whether Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) campaigns for the Office of US President in 2008 or is simply coronated by a "village" does not make me lose any sleep -- but don't misunderstand me, I plan to help wherever I can to prevent her from being sworn in at the 44th president of the USA. No, this is not a sexist outburst but rather a love of freedom and limited government sending out an alarm. I am completely in favor of a woman as president but I want a female president armed with a political worldview that matches mine -- a woman who would veto enough legislation to cut government in half before she leaves office!!! Do any readers out there know of any such candidate I could help??
More immediately -- November 7th/Election Day -- is only 6 weeks away meaning in 6 weeks New York State voters will send HRC back to the US Senate for another 6 years unless of course she resigns her seat to be sworn in as President in January 2009 -- I can't believe I just typed that phrase!!! :)
In the interim let me encourage you to watch HRC closely starting with the list below of the ten largest financial contributors to her 2006 US Senate re-election campaign. Please allow me to summarize this list a bit for you via this tally count:
Top 10 contributors to HRC by type of industry/entity:
Financial services company -- 7
Law -- 1
Media -- 1
Manufacturing -- 1
Granted, the Wall Street/stock market community is based in New York City so it is natural they would support HRC since they are interested in having a New York senator advocating for them in Washington DC. But it is fair to say that HRC's campaign lacks "VARIETY" in her financial base so perhaps she needs to complete some "DIVERSITY TRAINING" :0)
Please join me in working against HRC's village idiots who will walk door to door promoting her candidacy.
Top 10 Contributors to Hillary Clinton's 2006 Senate Race
This list of the top donors to Hillary ClintonÂs 2006 re-election campaign, compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and made available on the organizationÂs website, www.OpenSecrets.org , is based on the most recent Federal Election Commission data available.
10. Ernst & Young: $73,7751285 Avenue of the AmericasNew York, NY 10019212-773-3000
9. New York Life Insurance: $86,00051 Madison AvenueSuite 3200New York, NY 10010212-576-7000
8. International Profit Associates: $88,4001250 Barclay BlvdBuffalo Grove, IL 60089847-808-5590
7. Skadden, Arps et al: $90,030Four Times SquareNew York, NY 10036212-735-3000
6. Time Warner: $104,960One Time Warner CenterNew York, NY 10019212-484-8000
5. Morgan Stanley: $105,8101585 Broadway New York, NY 10036 212-761-4000
4. Corning, Inc.: $133,400One Riverfront PlazaCorning, NY 14831607-974-9000
3. Citigroup, Inc.: $141,000399 Park AvenueNew York, NY 10043800-285-3000
2. Metropolitan Life: $154,100One MetLife Plaza27-01 Queens Plaza N.Long Island City, NY 11101212-578-2211
1. Goldman Sachs: $168,29085 Broad StreetNew York, NY 10004212-902-1000
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Recently the Financial Times (September 11, 2006) published a ranking of the "Top 35 European Masters in Management (MIM) programs." I would note for my American readers that this article highlighted the fact that the MIM degree is "preferred to the MBA in the European business community."
Overall 14 countries in Europe account for these "Top 35" programs and furthermore only 4 countries account for 23 of the 35 programs (66%) -- this is an interesting concentration of academic excellence since the current European Union has 25 nations as members. The country-by-country tally is as follows:
1. France -- 11 programs
2. United Kingdom - 7
3. Belgium - 3
4. Netherlands - 2
Yes France is clearly viewed as the leader in business education programs since 11 of the Top 35 MIM programs are located there. Given the global perception that France is an over regulated economy dominated by labor strikes and on the verge of collapse one would think that with all of the great business managers apparently produced by these French universities the economic stagnation could be eliminated or is their economy more dynamic than we know?
This forces a number of related questions -- what constitutes quality in a business degree program, is France's economy on the brink of collapse or an ideal example of socialized capitalism, and perhaps more importantly where do the graduates of these MIM programs go upon graduation?
No where did this Financial Times article discuss this very high concentration of high quality business education programs in France - juxtaposed against the ongoing perception that economic reform is neeed -- but clearly this high concentration justifies a separate, follow up article exploring this situation for interested readers.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
This past Saturday's American college football games saw the number one ranked Ohio State University Buckeyes retain their top ranking again by both the AP and USA Today Top 25 Rankings.
However my two favorite teams both lost again this past week by the following scores:
- Iowa State University Cyclones lost to the University of Texas Longhorns by a score of 14 to 37 bringing the Clones' record to 2 and 2. www.cyclones.com
- Butler University Bulldogs lost to the Jacksonville Dolphins by a score of 7 to 31 bringing the Dogs' record to 1 win and 3 losses. http://butlersports.cstv.com/
Due to my earlier comments regarding Iowa State University's (ISU) non-conference football opponents -- such as Toledo and UNLV -- I was thinking about better schedule choices ISU could make for future football seasons.
We need to ask the question -- what is worse for an NCAA Division 1A football team like ISU?
1.) Risking being defeated soundly by major 1A teams like Ohio State University or the University of Michigan, or
2.) LOSING to an NCAA Division 1AA team such as Toledo.
As I formulate my answer I am reminded of the legendary football coach for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide -- Paul "Bear" Bryant. As the story goes Coach Bryant played a major role in desegregating college football by asking the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans to play his team in 1970. The key point here is that USC's team included some African-American players while Alabama's players were as white as Michael Moore's stomach after a long winter :)
The end result of this historic football game served a great purpose because it forced the Alabama alumni/football boosters to see first hand that their all white team was NOT superior to a "mixed team" which USC was at the time.
My point here is that I want my ISU Cyclones to play major college football teams even though it increases our risks of a losing season and no chance of playing in a bowl game. ISU needs to play teams like Ohio State University - not because of any race issues but because I think some of my fellow alums need a wake up call much like the Alabama fans did in 1970 -- there are better teams out there and we need to step up to the next level to compete OR admit our mediocrity by dropping to NCAA Division 1AA.
Monday, September 25, 2006
The September 25th Washington Post , www.washingtonpost.com, published an article, "Zambian Hopeful Takes a Swing at China", which focused on Michael Sata's campaign for president of Zambia versus current President Levy Mwanawasa.
The "Background: Zambia" graphic in the article caught my attention which noted that Zambia is slightly larger than Texas and that copper production dominates the economy. Mr. Sata's campaign is focused on the growing influence of China in Africa which needs Zambian copper to fuel the Chinese economy so we Americans can buy more widgets to fuel our own growing economy which is now dominated by mini-storage units it appears :-)
Aside from the geo-politics this article focused on the one factoid that caught my attention is that the life expectancy for men is 38 years and for women it is 37 years primarily due to poverty and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. This touched me personally since I turn 41 years old later this year which means I would be an old man in Zambia today -- pretty scary since it took my first 40 years years to get life figured out!!!
Instead of serving as a forum for the propaganda speeches of podium-loving dictators like President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela perhaps the United Nations should devote a day to discussing the human condition/quality of life in current day Zambia don't you think?
Even better let's finish cleaning up New York City by moving the United Nations headquarters to the capital of Zambia -- Lusaka -- so the U.N. bureaucrats can be first hand knowledge of the developing world.
Now that is reform,
Imagine if you were driving a Ford automobile but needed a new gas tank. So you gave Ford all the specifics on your vehicle -- model, year, etc. -- so you could get the right gas tank so you had the power supply needed to get you where you need to go but for some unknown reason Ford sent you two (2) incorrect gas tanks which did not fit your car. Not only would it be frustrating but depending on your job it could harm you economically.
This near-analogy is the two weeks and counting struggle I have held with Dell Computer since I requested a new "power cord, AC adapter for my Dell Latitude D505 lap top..........." complete with the product numbers/family group, etc. as noted on my current power cord -- I wanted to be exact so I got the right part of course!! After sending me the wrong adapter twice (!!!!) Dell still has not met my consumer needs despite my numerous telephone calls and email correspondence with them. No one I have talked with has given me any confidence that a solution will be found. As a globalist/free trader I am most concerned that the customer service representatives I have talked with are clearly Indian -- the poster child for "corporate outsourcing of jobs" -- this pains me because I support outsourcing as good economics but perhaps Dell should consider outsourcing to Rural America where I grew up -- www.idacountycourier.com -- a little competition for the Dell workers in India might be exactly what they need!!!!
Fortunately my current power cord is working but what if it did not work -- my small business would be essentially out of business since be online allows me to provide consulting services no matter where I am located. If Dell does not want to be in this parts business then PLEASE give us some options -- I would love to drive over to my nearby Best Buy to simply purchase a Dell adapter but that is not possible.
If readers have had similar experiences or have advice for me I am ready and willing to hear from you.
Online for now but very nervous,
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Since I live in a stereotypic American, suburban, bedroom community the number of non-chain restaurants is rather limited so it is with joy that I report that my neighbor Dave and I had a very tasty lunch today at a locally-owned establishment called -- "Jan's Brown Bag Deli" -- which you can contact at 952.431.DELI -- yes sad they don't have a website :)
I had Jan's "U-Boat" sandwich which was a collection of German meats served on pumpernickel bread. It was so tasty I was ready to invade a country if needed to eat one more (insert laughter here)!! The staff was very friendly and the decor felt like a New York City deli. Although they forgot to bring our glasses of water to the table since they were pretty business I would still rate them with a "3.5" on my 5 point scale since this is the kind of neighborhood restaurant every community should have in business.
Now some FOOD for thought --
The front page of my local newspaper today reported on a new poll of Minnesota voters regarding what their "top issues" are for this November's elections. For the 2006 election Minnesota has the governor's re-election race against our current Attorney General, an open Attorney General's office campaign, and an open US Senate seat up for grabs so overall this is an exciting year for politics in Minnesota. The poll results included:
TOP ISSUES FOR MINNESOTA VOTERS - 2006:
Education -- 23%
Health Care -- 23%
Economy - 15%
Iraq war - 12%
Illegal Immigration - 7%
Gas prices -- 5%
Terrorism - 5%
Gay marriage - 4%
Source: University of Minnesota poll of 1,023 voters
First let me state my obvious biased world view -- I am very concerned, almost depressed that "Taxes" did not register as one of these top eight public policy concerns for my fellow Minnesotans. But beyond that let me impress readers with my math skills! :)
Now if Minnesota suffered an attack by a group of gay terrorists who crossed the Mexico/USA border illegally -- yes of course Minnesota is a long way from Mexico and borders Canada of course but the US Congress is funding the creation of a fence across the Mexican border to keep illegal aliens out since apparently our border with Canada is not a threat to our security and of course because Canadians don't look like "Mexicans" (racism at its finest?) -- the current (primarily) Republican leadership in the US Congress and the Minnesota Legislature would be returned to office in a landslide!!
Why? Just do the math. If you simply up these three "Top Issues" based on this Minnesota Poll:
Illegal immigration -- 7%
Terrorism -- 5%
Gay marriage -- 4%
TOTAL -- 16%
Which would make this new, aggregate "top issue" the new #3 concern for Minnesotans after Education (23%) and Health Care (23%).
If you can't tell yet I am highlighting the mis-guided overemphasis placed on these three issues by too many of our current political leaders who have spent too much time and tax dollars championing the need for --
- a Mexican-USA border fence/wall
- constitutional amendments to "defend the santity of marriage" by preventing homosexuals from marrying despite the high divorce rate among public officials
- airport security checks that consider tweezers to be offensive weapons
I am ready to vote my wallet.
Enjoy your meal,
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
As personal friends and regular Space Beagle readers know I love the game of American football AND limited government/personal responsibility so a very tiny news article caught my attention since these two issues were intertwined in the article.
First the good news --- a National Football League team announced this week that for the first time since the team was founded in 1967 "every available seat is owned by a season-ticket holder". In other words, this team's entire regular season home schedule is sold out!!
So who is this team and where do they play these home games?
None other than the New Orleans Saints who play in the Superdome!!
This is amazing timing since the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina flattening New Orleans was held recently. This is the same New Orleans where federal tax slaves like myself have apparently not spent enough via FEMA recovery funds or charity contributions (yes, I did make a few contributions to help the cause so I am no heartless bastard here).
Granted, perhaps a little entertainment like NFL football games is some helpful therapy for the hurricane victims but please don't tell me we have not done enough -- if something completely non-essential for human survival like football tickets (which are not "food, clothing, and shelter") can sell out for this season, just one year after the hurricane then clearly the economy is on the road to recovery, perhaps fueled by FEMA's ATM cards being used to purchase Saints' tickets??!! I am curious if this happened and am happy to be corrected/enlightened if anyone has local insights. All political commentary aside we really should be encouraged by this great news coming from the New Orleans Saints. I would love to see Anderson Cooper or Soledad O'Brien of CNN reporting live from a home Saints game this year --
It is an interesting quirk in our calendars that American football's season overlaps with the hurrican season isn't it ? :-)
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
During my recent canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, www.ely.org, in Northern Minnesota I kept a journal of what we did each day. Granted it might sound a bit repetitious but if you sit in traffic for your daily commute our trip was definitely more relaxing :)
We drove from the Twin Cities to Ely, Minnesota after an entertaining breakfast at Mickey's Diner in downtown St. Paul. Upon arrival in Ely we stopped by the open air studio at WELY AM and FM radio and the Chapman Book Store which is dominated by the smell of incense and the owner's cats while shopping downtown. For dinner we visited an Ely landmark - Sir G's Pizza and Italian Food - complete with spumoni ice cream for dessert. In fact our foreign policy should include shipping spumoni to Iraq because people would stop killing each other just to enjoy this treat.
After staying overnight at the outfitter's bunk house we had breakfast in their dining hall complete with bacon that was "...as crisp as a West Point salute" (my words). Our group they drove over to Lake One to begin our canoe trip. We spent the day working our way through Lakes One, Two, and Three until we stopped for a late lunch at an island campsite on Lake Three near the entrance to Lake Four.
Since the campsite was ideal we decided to camp overnight (which turned into our base camp for the week). The pit toilet at our camp site was labeled "Number 14" so the forest rangers could keep track of inventory apparently. The campsite was very quiet except the gray jays (birds) and squirrels trying to rob our food.
The rest of the day was filled with setting up camp, getting water, cooking, and reading books.
Unlike any past canoe trips I cooked about 90% of our meals this year for some reason plus I washed the dishes almost every meal -- clearly my trip companions benefited from my presence!!! No one got sick so my cooking was safe it appears.
Today we hiked around our island -- which turned out not to be an island anymore since the lake's water level was about 3 to 5 feet lower than in past years so some swampy land appeared on the far north end connecting us to the mainland but this area was not walkable. We spent time gathering a lot of firewood since it was scarce and because we decided to base camp of course. During the afternoon we went swimming/bathing in the lake which reminded me of George on "Seinfeld" since the water was a bit cold for the boys but hygiene in essential!!
Today we left our Lake Three base camp for a day trip of paddling to Horseshoe Lake and around most of Lake Four. We noticed vast quantities of water lilies on the lakes which is a very encouraging sign since that means the lake is healthy.
When we returned to camp we went swimming and worked on re-building my father's rock piles that he built as "traffic signs" to direct fellow canoeists around the shallow water/rocks near our camp site. Despite our rock formations it was amazing how many people ran aground on shallow rocks by not following our suggested path.
We base camped at Lake Three of course so we read books, collected more firewood, and I took a long nap made necessary by my father's nightly snoring which ensured I could not sleep throughout the night. Throughout the day we saw rather heavy canoe traffic on our lake but later in the day I noticed complete and total silence on the lake with no boat traffic, no flies, no birds, etc. just silence which was ideal.
We made another day trip to Horseshoe Lake but this time we took the portage to the next lake (an un-named smaller lake) to hike on the Pow Wow Trail which cuts across the portage trail. We met a solo hiker from Chicago who was hiking the entire trail and later in the day we talked with a French-Canadian gentleman from Texas who was exploring the area before his friends arrived the following week for their trip -- what a motivated person!!
After breakfast we paddled back to the Lake One entry point for our drive back to our outfitter's office -- Williams and Hall -- which is a quality outfitter if you need food and equipment for your own trip. Once we re-packed our gear we drove back into Ely to stay at the Super 8 Motel for the first of several hot showers since we did not have one for the last week of course. Following some shopping in downtown Ely we had dinner at the Ely Steak House which was an excellent meal coupled with excellent staff thus I award them with a "3.5 rating".
1.) My dad and I have been canoeing in the BWCA on and off since I was 12 years old with my dad having made 15 trips to the North Country. This year he made sure I spent time navigating our group so I could lead a future group -- a passing of the torch I guess which is both welcome and un-welcome at the same time since it represent a passing of time.
2.) The great outdoors still has some beautiful areas despite Al Gore's fear parade. I personally saw the most frogs this year that I have ever seen while canoeing which is always a sign of good water quality.
3.) Now this is not a racist or heartless statement by any means just realistic -- but had the residents of New Orleans made a similar trip to the BWCA annually like we did where they would have been forced to live in tents, collect their own water, gather fire wood, cook over a camp fire, and organize a camp site I believe the hurricane recovery effort would have been much better by now due to this "survival" experience.
4.) Character -- a trip like ours is semi-demanding, more demanding for others depending on their tolerance for a lack of modern conveniences. If anyone is looking for a corporate team building exercise look no further than a canoe trip in the BWCA!! Trust me when I tell you such a trip is better than the "setting up dominoes and watching them fall down" exercise I had to do with about 50 colleagues when I worked in corporate life -- I don't work there anymore and now I know why!!!
Leave your cave once in a while,
Monday, September 18, 2006
Today's posting is completely dominated by talk of sports and films -- no politics from me since I am not a one dimensional creature!!
Based on the blaring automobile horns I heard outside my window in Brussels this weekend there must have been a football (soccer) victory for some local fans but my sport is American college football so here is a review of my two favorite teams --
Iowa State University -- my alma mater Cyclones unfortunately lost to our cross-state rival, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes by a score of 27 to 17. Iowa is ranked #14 in the nation so that helps ease the pain since they clearly have a good team but I say "Huck the Fawks" anyway!! :-)
Butler University -- my adopted Bulldogs (the ultimate underdog team given their team name and because the Sagarin ratings named them dead last for this season's pre-season rankings) lost to the Robert Morris Colonials by a score of 35 to 14 so the Bulldogs drop to a 1 and 2 season record so far. Come on Dogs!!!
Given the power cord problems with my lap top (see my "Dell" posting here if interested -- I talked to them again today and after about an hour on the phone they reassured me again they are sending a new cord -- really poor service) last week I saw several films at night in Brussels instead of working late at the office so here is my grand review --
"The Sentinel" -- with Keifer Sutherland (great star of "24") . Classic brain candy action flick but would not make my short list of films to watch a second time. Story line is terrorists, the war on drugs, the KGB, and an assassination attempt on the President of the USA.
"Miami Vice" -- I was assuming too much thinking this film would actually be set in the 1980's but it was set in present day with a LOT of electronic gadgets and very fast boats. The war on drugs is the central theme.
"The Wind that Shakes the Barley" -- best quote from this film: "Ireland is a priest-infested backwater" . Story line is focused on Ireland's attempts to break from the British Empire in the 1916 to 1920 time frame. Overall I thought this was a very good film that reminded me how bad centralized empires really are and why city-states should be on the rise again.
"Friends with Money" -- starring Jennifer Aniston as a maid/former teacher who has rich friends hence the title. Overall this film had several one liners that really made me laugh but it wasn't that good of a film overall since it lacked some character development and the pace was off a bit but there was enough brain candy to make me smile
Enjoy some Whoppers,
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Having read a short article in the September 15, 2006 USA Today regarding the State of Alaska's Governor Murkowski's executive order to offer nurses (for -- prisons, retirement homes, and other state facilities) a 15% pay raise my immediate thought was this is a completely unnecessary government program. This executive order was allowed under a new state law which "allows the state to offer more money for jobs that are hard to fill."
Now there are few occupations more noble than nursing so this is NOT an attack on the profession or any trade unions that exist in Alaska for nurses. The concern I would raise is the use of tax dollars to maintain the "social infrastructure" to keep the State of Alaska functioning. This use of tax dollars occurs in parallel to efforts to preserve more acres in Alaska by having the government purchase land, having people donate land in the wills, asking people to donate money to protect the environment, etc.
Question -- why not simply allow market forces to work in Alaska for a change? If businesses and government can't pay enough money to recruit the talent needed to keep parts of Alaska's infrastructure operating then let these areas return to their pre-human/natural state. For instance if only 2 or 3 major cities are sustainable due to market forces in Alaska then perhaps only those 2 or 3 cities should exist thus leaving millions of acres to become a huge nature preserve protected NOT by government action but instead by government INACTION by ending wasteful programs such as the wage law mentioned earlier.
My plan for Alaska is better than anything I have seen from the Sierra Club.
Eat more gorp,
First some tech/travel advice -- buy an extra power cord for your lap top computer if you travel a lot. Unfortunately I forgot the power cord for my Dell Latitude D505 lap top in Minnesota last week when I traveled to Brussels, Belgium. Upon arrival in Brussels on Monday I immediately contacted the Dell help line and was assured they would ship a power cord to my Brussels office by Wednesday via DHL. Despite my repeated follow up telephone calls and emails to Dell staff I never received my replacement cord nor was I told of the order status. One Dell staffer told me "sorry I can't help you that work group uses a different software than we do..........." and of course I could not buy a replacement cord at FNAC (the "Best Buy of France") since Dell apparently only makes such equipment available via them.
I recently read of Dell's accounting problems but after this poor customer service experience last week they clearly have operational problems. Given the commodization of computers further consolidation in the computer industry is becoming necessary so I hope Dell seeks opportunities to improve their global reach and customer service by merging with a superior provider.
The only communication I received I heard from Dell was the customer satisfaction survey via email which I have copied below for your consideration. Dell estimated it would take 5 to 7 minutes to complete which I did in the hope they will actually take action to fix their internal operations.This week I am starting over to order the back up power cord so wish me luck. If anyone has a suggestion as to where I can buy a power cord from other than Dell please let me know.
DELL COMPUTER CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY:
Dear Valued Customer,
Thank you for contacting Dell Customer Care on 09/11/2006 with a question or need from Dell. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you and are interested in your feedback concerning our performance.
Dell has asked TNS Prognostics, a customer satisfaction research company in the IT industry, to help us conduct a survey regarding your experience. To help ensure we are providing expert assistance, please provide your feedback in this brief survey. This survey should take approximately 5 - 7 minutes to complete.
To complete the survey, please click on the web address below. If that does not work, copy and paste the entire web address into the address field of your browser.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Via my blog I am able to function like a small town newspaper publisher/editor by deciding which guest opinion-editorials ("op-eds") get published so today I offer readers my first guest blogger's comments.
To be completely honest -- my racquetball buddy, Tom A., sent the following note to me as an "idea" I should blog on but when I read it I thought he was more articulate than I could be on the subject given his more comprehensive knowledge of American football having played in the National Football league. Tom's blog posting (see below, complete with my edits in italics - I did not get his permission but trust he will enjoy being "published" or I will be apologizing at the next racquetball dinner -- either way Tom benefits!! ) is focused on American college football but particularly the University of Minnesota Gophers' football program.
I hope you enjoy this new feature on Space Beagle Notes. Your submissions for publication or writing ideas are always welcome.
GUEST BLOGGER -- TOM A. of MINNESOTA -- SUBJECT: " FOOTBALL"
On Saturday (September 9, 2006) I watched Cal (University of California) beat the (Minnesota/MN) Gophers and #2 OSU (Ohio State University) beat #1 rated Texas.
What struck me is:
1) four Gopher starters are from Columbus, Ohio and
2) one of OSU's top players is from Wayzata (Minnesota).
Can the Gophers expect to be Big Ten (Conference) contenders when they can only attract OSU cast offs and lose the top native talent to OSU?
Is it time for MN to join D2 (Division II football in the NCAA/National Collegiate Athletic Association) ?
Why does MN have the lowest number of four year graduates (39%) in the Big Ten?
Why can MN only graduate two student athletes in football, basketball, and hockey in the last five years?
How can MN expect taxpayers to chip in to build a "Great University" when the U (University of Minnesota) can't even be an average university?
Is it time to drop intercollegiate sports at the U of MN a la the University of Chicago?
EDITOR'S NOTE: With Minnesota being my adopted state I prefer that the University of Minnesota continue playing at the Division One level of the NCAA but on a purely selfish note that would enhance player recruitment for both teams due to geographic reasons I call on the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University, www.cyclones.com, football programs to play each other. There is no need for my Cyclones to play the University of Toledo as a home game -- go play in Toledo if you want to recruit Ohio football players.
Clearly one of the odd joys I have in life is to sit down with 3 or 4 newspapers when I travel to review the day's news and how the various media outlets report the stories. While working out at my Brussels gym today I read two different newspaper articles which both focused on bananas.
If you are short on time let me sum it up for you -- "private enterprise promotes peace and government programs can actually harm our quality of life"
For those of you reading on here is the background of the two stories:
- "Banana Reform" -- from the September 7 to 13, 2006 edition of European Voice which focused on the European Union's current program that pays overseas farmers with ties to Europe (that means former/current colonies/protectorates) to cultivate bananas. The new proposal is to spend 241 million per year on these same farmers but would allow the money to be spent to "fund a move away from banana cultivation."
- "In Philippines, peace bears fruit" -- from the September 12, 2006 International Herald Tribune (IHT) which focused on a banana plantation recently formed in the Philippines that is focused on hiring Islamic and Communist guerrillas in an effort to get them employed and to stop fighting the government.
An amazing coincidence these two stories! The European Union (EU) has spent years and millions of euros (tax money) subsidizing Latin American and African banana farmers for importing into the EU but for what higher purpose, a new form of welfare??? On the other hand this new plantation in the Philippines (owned by La Frutera which is a company controlled by United States-based foreign investors -- what is called "foreign direct investment" or FDI) has actually REDUCED VIOLENCE AND PRODUCED JOBS!!
Much to my personal joy the IHT article stated, "past experience suggests foreign aid programs and government infrastructure projects have been ineffective at creating sustainable development." People needs jobs not government programs so let the rest of the world's developing economies look to the Philippines for inspiration by supporting free trade and FDI as a better option for improving their citizens' lives. The most interesting part of the story for me was the fact that at first the guerrillas insisted on bringing their firearms to work but then compromised by having their spouses and children hold the guns while they worked. This then evolved into the women and children getting bored so they went home to work and go to school - what a positive development simply caused by creating some private sector jobs.
Trade not aid,
Sunday, September 10, 2006
At the end of this week I returned home to the Twin Cities of Minnesota from my week long canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota, www.ely.org, along with my father and Jeff, a friend from Iowa State University student government days. Okay, I admit it, I was a "public servant" for one year in college :)
My return home was coupled with a great weekend of college football so here is a quick review before I catch my flight to Brussels, Belgium tonight -- where there is NO college football of course:
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY -- after winning their first game against Toledo last week I was able to see ISU defeat the University of Nevada-Las Vegas by 16 to 10 score after a controversial call by the referees at the end of the game. From what I have seen ISU do against these two non-conference, non-power house teams I am not highly encouraged for a great football season. If the athletic department does raise ticket prices for the 2007 season as they have indicated they need to put a better product on the gridiron. Track my Cyclones at -- www.cyclones.com
BUTLER UNIVERSITY -- since the Sagarin Power Ratings (USA Today) for pre-season college football ratings listed the Butler Bulldogs as "dead last" for Division I college football seasons for this season I declared myself a fan, second to the ISU Cyclones of course. Butler won this weekend by defeating Hanover by a score of 30 to 20. Track Butler's season with me at -- http://butlersports.cstv.com/
Off to Europe this week but have several blog postings planned on a wide range of topics as is typical here at Space Beagle Notes.