Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warning - Potatoes May Be dangerous to Your Health

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health published last Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine a study showing that potatoes, especially French fries, are the most fat inducing food.

Spud will join the lexicon of four letter words.

The Harvard researchers followed the eating habits of over 120,000 health professionals for 12 years. Therein lies the first problem with the study. Health professionals are not representative of the general public. What health professionals are going to double down daily on French fries?

The study found that by daily eating an extra portion of French fries an individual would gain an extra 3-4 pounds over 4 years. Potato chips will only yield 1.7 extra pounds. That should make Frito-Lay happy unless you delight in Pringles.

Duh! That’s the second problem with the study. If I eat an excessive amount of any food or consume too much daily of any beverage, I will gain weight. How much in federal grants did the researchers receive for this study?

How many adults will eat extra French fries daily? Teenagers going to MacDonalds for their salty fries I understand, but adults?

Forget soft drinks and red meat. According to Harvard, it’s potatoes. What does Yale think?

Does this mean we can go back to loading up on sugar and salt? Whatever happened to calories, fats, and trans fats?

The United States Potato Board, based in Denver (Why not Idaho or Maine?), responded by stating the Harvard study perpetuates unfortunate myths and misconceptions about the potato.

This vegetable, cultivated by the Incas in Peru, is now a staple of ¼ of the world’s population. It’s ubiquitous in our diet, and traditions.

Imagine Thanksgiving Dinner without the mashed potatoes and gravy? The turkey and dessert will probably yield more calories. Thanksgiving – a veritable cornucopia of all the foods we shouldn’t eat.

That’s right. The Harvard study did not measure caloric intake or exercise regimes – another problem!

Meat and potatoes – They’re already taking red meat away from us. Now it will be meatless and unpotato as our daily diet.

No more baked potato and cream cheese. If the potato doesn’t kill you, the cream cheese will

Lay off the Hungarian goulash

Don’t drink cream of potato soup

Pass on the hash browns

Don’t partake of the shepherds pie

Forget the potato dumplings

Think of this – If we don’t eat, we will most assuredly lose weight

Remember the British and the Irish. England let the Irish consume only potatoes. Grain was reserved to the British. Then came the potato blight, and millions of Irish emigrated, especially to the United States or died from the famine.

Don’t drink a Bloody Mary, White Russian, Black Russian, potato martini, or Vodka

If we no longer have the potato to eat and muse over, then we do not have to resolve the great spelling debate. Is it potato or potatoe – the Vice President Quayle spelling?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tell Me Again Why California Needs to Raise taxes

To support the 1/3 of San Francisco’s municipal employees (9,478/27,000) who earn over $100,000 annually, not including healthcare and pensions. The average pay of municipal employees in San Francisco is $93,000. Almost 2,400 San Francisco retirees receive pensions of $75,000 or more.

To support the 30% (647 out of about 2,400) of fulltime Glendale public employees, who also earn over $100,000 annually, and the 45% of West Hollywood employees similarly compensated.

To help Glendale to continue to support a float in the Rose Parade.

To compensate the 16 California city manufacturers, of whom are in California, who earn over $300,000 annually. Bell is but the tip of the iceberg.

To cover the 13 Newport Beach lifeguards, who can recover at 50, who earn over $120,000 annually, with the top pay of $211,000. They only contribute 3.5% to their pensions.

To underwrite Heather Fong’s retirement as San Francisco Police Chief in 2009 at age 53. Her base salary was $187,875, but her retirement is $277,656 annually. She also cashed out her accumulated vacation time, sick leave, and comp time for $303,653.

To support the LAUSD part-time cafeteria workers who were granted full benefits 4 years ago. They now exceed $20 million annually while the LAUSD cafeteria budget is now $20 million in the hole. The workers pay no premiums for their health care’

To fund the newly approved prison guards contract, which lifts the 80 day cap on accrued vacatin days, let the guards cash in all the days at their final pay scale, and provide 12 paid days off over the next 2 years.

To let the legislators retain their automobile allowances.

To support the $3 million annual allowance (slush fund) each of the 5 Los Angeles County Supervisors receives.

To fund the propose rail from nowhere to nowhere. Alaska may have had the $400 million Bridge to Nowhere, but California has the $43-61 billion rail from nowhere to nowhere. The voters approved in 2008 a $9 billion bond to fund a high speed train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The initial 45 mile stage will be laid in the Central Valley at a cost of $4.15 billion from the unincorporated Borden to Corcoran, with a total population of 25,000 between them. The train will not then run though until more miles are laid.

To allow CalTrans continue to pay up to $171,000 for roof repairs on dilapidated houses it had acquired years ago for freeways never built.

To compensate the 36 University of California administrators who are threatening to sue, alleging they are entitled to higher pensions

To cover the 870,000 Californians who fled the state.

So that Assemblyman Mike Gatto will not have to explain to his wife and daughter that they can't pay their bills because a politician was grandstanding.

I do not begrudge the municipal employees who earn what they did. Rather they negotiated the contracts personally, or through a union, it was the shortsightedness of mayors, supervisors, and councilmen who awarded these benefits. However, these compensation and benefits packages are no longer sustainable.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Governor Palin Versus Congressman Weiner - The Tale of the Net

Once again the media descended onto Alaska, looking for a Palin moment, searching for a blooper, smoking out the stupid statement, the ultimate gaffe, to doom the Governor once and for all. The media salivated to pound the final nail into her political coffin.

Their holy grail was a 55 lb. box containing 24,199 pages of Governor Palin’s emails while in office. Since they had convinced themselves the Governor was stupid, the proof would be in the emails. The media even enlisted volunteers to search through the emails – volunteers who presumably were not supporters of the Governor.

2419 emails – not one smoking gun, not one phrase to be taken out of context.!

The New York Times and Washington Post discovered Governor Palin was a loving mother, hard working public servant, ambitious politician, and she disliked the media. Not one email opened the Governor up to ridicule or contempt. Not one email tarnished her image. She had her act together.

Not one email, not one gaffe blew up in her face.

They diligently searched and found nothing.

They didn’t search for dirt on Congressman Weiner. He threw it into their faces.

The old media didn’t search for Congressman Weiner. He was the Democratic attack dog, the pit bull against the Republicans. They loved him. He fed them red meat.

Then he let it all hang out on-line the new media.

Both the Governor and Congressman twitter. It’s a major communications tool for the Governor, a communications major in college. She uses it to convey her political messages to her followers.

Her twits are informational, political, and persuasive. His are lewd, lascivious, and salacious.

He uses twitter to sext. He follows his followers on-line, opening up his inner charms for all to see.

The internet is amazing in its inherent ability to summon forth one’s past, often one’s forgotten past, one’s repressed past.

None of these embarrassing moments in the life of Governor Palin have emerged. The Congressman’s internet profile is the opposite. Once upon a time he dressed in women’s clothes. The internet has it all.

Disclosures on the internet can still be a drip by drip. Unlike the earlier days, the internet drip is faster.

She uses publicity; he needs publicity.

She’s comfortable in her skin; he needs to preen.

She’s natural; he’s still fighting the inner geek.

The Governor is who she is. The Congressman is who he needs to be.

She uses twitter for political purposes; he uses twitter to sext.

She didn’t engage in sexting, much less serial sexting.

He reveled in serial sexting; “look at me now” to college coeds and porn stars.

She didn't cyber sex unwilling women. He cyber sexually assaulted unwilling women.

She’s assumed stupid – 5 colleges to graduate from the University of Idaho. He went to SUNY Plattsburgh.

Who’s stupid now?

She loves her family; he professes to love his family

Positively nauseating to see his twitters

She’s the darling of the Tea Party; he’s the darling of the Left

And now comes the attention seekers – those who want their 15 minutes of fame.

Gloria Allred and Ginger Lee, once a porn star and now an exotic dancer, surfaced in New York with a press conference. He had over 100 communications with her.

She was outraged.

Imagine, a woman who’s done it all, seen it all, in every conceivable position, was indignant at his sexts. Imagine a porn star, who hung out with Charlie Sheen for 2 years, wished to be taken seriously; he needed fulfillment. How low can you go?

Nothing salacious in Governor Palin’s emails or twitters. No sexting with college students or porn stars.

No narcissism or Adonis behavior.

Both can get face time in a nanosecond. She uses the media; he needs the media attention.

He’s brash, even by New York standards.

The tale of the net.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dan Akerson is No Charles Wilson

Dan Akerson is definitely not Charles Wilson

Charles “Engine” Wilson was President of General Motors from 1941-1953 and then served as Secretary of Defense from 1953-1957. He was asked during his Senate confirmation hearings if he would make a decision inconsistent with the interests of GM. In other words, would he have a conflict of interest?

His responded that “For years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.” His statement became misquoted as “What’s good for GM is what’s good for America.”

Thus, he was quoted as placing General Motors on a higher plane than the country, when what he said is that the success of each was critical to the success of the other.

Dan Akerson, GM’s new CEO, has adopted the misquoted Charles Wilson approach.

Detroit has been on the skids for decades. GM’s market share progressively dropped from almost 60% in the late 1960’s to less than 20% in recent years. Japan was eating GM’s lunch and the UAW GM’s cash flow. The last GM dealership in San Francisco closed over 2 years ago.

Chrysler was even more of a basket case, stripped of products and product development by Cerberus after Mercedes ran it into the ground.
The economic collapse 2 ½ years ago doomed the old, inefficient GM and Chrysler.

The Bush Administration kicked the can down the road by loaning $17.4 billion to GM and Chrysler in December 2008, which would carry them through to March in the new Administration. The Obama Administration then bailed GM out with an additional $30 billion, Chrysler with $15 billion, and an additional $12.5 billion went to GM’s former subsidiary GMAC (ALLY Financial). GMAC thought it could make more money from mortgages than auto loans.

The government also loaned money to all three Detroit companies for product development.

GM and Chrysler entered bankruptcy in cooperation with the Obama Administration. Factories were shuttered, car lines eliminated (Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Saab),
dealers terminated, shareholders wiped out, and creditors stiffed, with the exception of the UAW.

The government, i.e. tax payers, and the UAW assumed ownership of the two companies.

The government also purchased tens of thousands of cars from the three Detroit companies, and sponsored Cash for Clinkers to keep the assembly lines rolling. The Japanese were the major beneficiaries of Cash for Clunkers.

The Obama Administration could just as easily given $250,000 to each UAW worker and walked away.

So how does GM repay the citizens of America?

Dan Akerson has proposed that the federal gas tax be raised to $1/gallon. He believes that a government-imposed tax hike would drive more people to buy small cars, such as Chevy’s Cruze, and do more good for the environment than a government imposed gas-mileage standard.

GM was the beneficiary of the capitalistic marketplace. If it still believes in freedom of choice, then it should compete in the marketplace. GM’s problem is that a majority of Americans believe the Japanese, and now the Koreans, build better small cars at a lower price. That’s the marketplace. Indeed, a number of the closed dealerships in Southern California are now successful with Hyundai or Kia franchises.

$4 a gallon gas is damaging to consumers and $5 devastating to the American economy.

High gas prices drain discretionary spending out of consumers’ pockets. The purchase of big ticket items is postponed.

Once upon a time, in my younger and naïve days during the Arab Oil Embargo, I supported a $.50 gas tax to be used for mass transit. Now I know such funds would simply be blown by government.

Charles Wilson recognized that what’s good for the country is good for GM and vice versa. Akerson believes that what’s good for GM is good for the country.

Akerson’s final comments recognized that it is a decision for the politicians. He must know that in this Congress a gas tax increase is a dead issue. So why raise it?

Is the new GM just as shortsighted as the old, failed GM?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Random Thoughts on Congressman Anthony Weiner

I bet Congressman Anthony Weiner wishes Al Gore never invented the internet.

Congressman Weiner shows that cybersex is not always safe sex.

I do not expect politicians to be saints. We, as humans are imperfect, so why should politicians, often with excessive testosterone levels, be saints? I don't approve their conduct, but I'm not surprised. I don't expect them to act stupid though.

Once again, immorality, corruption and sleeze are bi-partisan and non-partisan (Republicans Schwarzenegger, Vitter, Ensign, Craig, Ney, Cunningham, DeLay; Democrats JFK, LBJ, Clinton, Edwards, Spitzer, Hart, Mills, Jefferson, Massa, McGreevy, Torricelli, Condit, Traficant).

California has seen three prominent politicians in recent years engage in tawdry behavior: Democratic Mayors Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaragousa and Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

None though engaged in rampant, unwanted cyber sex. No plausible denialabity when you post it on line.

I expect politicians to lie, especially when campaigning for office, but I don’t expect them to act stupidly.

Congressman Weiner loved face time – second in New York politics to only Senator Chuck Schumer, who was once his boss. The Congressman is now getting tons of face time with the media.

Congressman Weiner will resign for he committed several cardinal sins.

First, he has embarrassed the Democratic Party, distracting them from their campaign against Congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal. Downloading one’s junk unto Twitter is questionable for anyone, but a member of Congress? Sexting and cyber sex is not that swift either, but when you don’t even know the recipients, it becomes stupid, bizarre, and reckless. It doesn't matter if it is a celebrity, athlete, or politician.

Second, his earlier lies about his Twitter being hacked, had several friends and media allies defending him, searching for the culprit, and speculating it was Andrew Breithart. They are embarrassed and compromised professionally.

Third, former President Bill Clinton certainly understands power as a sexual aphrodisiac, but he performed the wedding of Congressman Weiner and Huma Abedin, a long time advisor and aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Fourth, Congressman Weiner never understood one of the cardinal rules of life – be nice to those you pass on the way up for you may see them again on the way down. Like former Governor Eliot Spitzer, he has no friends standing by him. Congressman Weiner was the designate pit bull for the Democrats. He was always front and center on the attack against Republicans, preaching morality and good government. Within the Democratic caucus, he was known not as a workhorse, but a show horse. He was not popular, even within his own party.

Fifth, he has lost his effectiveness in Congress and for the Democratic Party.


Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi cleaning the swamp and ending “The Culture of Corruption” in the Democratic Party? In short, why is she not demanding Weiner’s resignation? Of course, she also did not seek the resignations of Congressmen Charles Rangel or William Jefferson, of whom the FBI found $90,000 in cash in his freezer. As soon as Congressman Mark Foley’s emails surfaced, Speaker Hastert’s office typed up Foley’s resignation letter. So too with Speaker Boehner and Congressman Lee’s shirtless texts.

Why do New York politicians get involved with sexual scandals, Governors Spitzer and Peterson, Congressmen Chris Lee, Eric Massa, Vito Fossella, et al, while Illinois politicians go for the money?

Where are the feminists?

Why weren’t either Huma Abedin or Maria Shriver standing by their man during their public confessionals?

How did the National Inquirer miss this one?

How can you do your job in Congress representing the people, when you are sexting a former porn star, a blackjack dealer in Vegas, a college student in Washington, the list goes on?

Can Huma make it as a single mom?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Will Rope A Dope Be President Obama's Reelection Strategy?

President Obama's campaign slogans for 2012

It was worse than we thought

We were in a ditch, but now there’s just a few bumps in the road.

Save Medicare; don’t throw grandma off the bus or over the cliff

A woman’s right to choose

I’m from the government; we’re here to help you

Tax the rich; class warfare

Cut Defense

Get out the vote; No questions asked!

Mobilize labor, trial lawyers, environmentalists, feminists, African Americans, Hispanics, the youth

Chicago Rules

Community organizing


Demonize Big Oil

Demonize big banks

Demonize Wall Street

Demonize Doctors

Demonize Big Pharma

Immigration Reform

Don’t change horses in mid-stream

Stay the Course (Oops; that was Reagan’s).

He’s the One.

Obama got Osama

We eased the administrative burden on business; no longer will spilt milk be regulated as a toxic spill.

Obama saved Detroit. Most Americans don’t care about Detroit anymore, but it will play in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio


$1 billion campaign chest

Hope and Change becomes Hope and Experience

Obama saved or created XXXjobs

Don’t elect the inexperienced, weak, right wing extremist candidate of the Republicans

It’s all Bush’s fault

Attack! Attack! Attack!

They will toss everything out, poll, focus group to see what sticks.

But will the old playbook succeed?

The main strategy until now is Rope a Dope. The Democratic Congress did not propose a budget before the 2010 elections. If they won, it wouldn’t matter. If they lost, it would become the Republicans responsibility. They will then attack the Republicans’ proposals, as with Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposal to stabilize Medicare. It may have worked in the recent NY 26 Congressional election when the Democratic candidate won by making Medicare the issue. However, she won by a plurality of 48%, while a three time loser as a Democrat ran as a Tea Party candidate and split the Republican vote. Winners write the rules, so Rope a Dope won one.

Alternative B:

If unemployment continues to rise, declare victory and step aside

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ohio State Proves Again That It is The Graveyard of Coaches

Miami of Ohio is called the “Cradle of Coaches.” The Ohio State University is slightly less known as “The Graveyard of Coaches.”

Jim Tressel is the latest in a long string of coaches who have been fired, forced to resign, or pushed to resign, going back at least 8 decades.

Tressel was 106-22 at Ohio State with one national title and a 9-1 record against Michigan, the most significant statistic for Ohio State fans. His immediate predecessor, John Cooper was 111-43-4, but only had 2 wins and a tie in 13 years against Michigan. Earle Bruce from 1979 to 1987 was 81-26- and 5-4 against Michigan – not good enough. The legendary Woody Hayes from 1951-1978 was 238-72-10 with three national titles in 1954, 1957 and 1968 (defeating USC and O.J. Simpson in the Rose Bowl), and 16-11-1 against Michigan. All 4 were fired. Woody struck one too many players – a Clemson player on live TV during the 1978 Gator Bowl. John Cooper was hired because his Arizona State Wildcats defeated Michigan 22-15 in the 1987 Rose Bowl, but he couldn’t follow up in Columbus. Woody succeeded Wes Fesler, who in 4 years was 21-13-3, but 0-3-1 against Michigan, and the losing coach in the famous, or infamous, “Snow Bowl” in Columbus which the underdog Wolverines won 9-7 on a blocked punt. Fesler was out in the cold two weeks later.

Francis Schmidt, coach from 1934-1940, resigned under pressure after losing to Michigan 40-0. He was succeeded by the great Paul Brown.

Paul Brown left on his own in 1944 for the war effort, but Ohio State refused to rehire him when he returned. Instead, he went on as one of the most successful and famous NFL coaches.

The key to winning at Ohio State is to be a good coach and to consistently recruit the top high school players in Ohio. Tressel was an outstanding recruiter and a great coach. He did not need to cheat to win, but winning was his drive in life.

Tressel’s transgressions are by now well known in the age of the internet. 6 players, including 5 starters, traded championship rings, jerseys and other sports memorabilia for tattoos. That’s a violation of NCAA rules.

The history of players selling tickets or memorabilia for cash is a long one. Even though illegal, but commonplace, decades ago, the NCAA has become aggressive in recent years in enforcing its rules.

Christopher Cicero, a lawyer who played for Ohio State, emailed Coach Tressel on April 2, 2010 that players had been selling signed memorabilia to a tattoo parlor owner. A series of emails followed. The coach buried it for 9 months until the emails surfaced. The players should have been ruled ineligible for the upcoming season, but they included star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and running back Boone Herron.

Coach Tressel signed a compliance order with the NCAA on September 13, 2010, asserting he knew of no NCAA violations and has reported to the school and knowledge of possible violations.

Don’t feel sorry for Ohio State. They made a Faustian Bargain when they hired Tressel a decade ago. He was a highly successful coach at Youngstown State, winning 4national titles with a record of 135-57-2, but he and his program were under investigation by the NCAA for alleged violations when he made the move to Ohio State. They knew he was a risk, but they also knew he was a winner. Besides the NCAA cleared him, although it found a lack of institutional control at Youngstown State. That meant Tressel, who was also Athletic Director. The NCAA found that the star QB was paid at least $10,000 and provided the free use of cars by Mickey Monus, former Chairman of the Youngstown State Board of Trustees. Coach and AD Tressel told Youngstown State’s president that the charges were baseless.

Another applicant for the Ohio State position was Glen Mason, the highly successful coach who revived the Minnesota Gophers and was an Ohio State grad. He could not beat Michigan though.

President Gordon Gee of Ohio State hasn’t helped the debacle. He was asked at a news conference on March 8, 2011 if he would be firing Tressel. The President’s response: “No, Are you kidding? … Let me just be very clear; I’m just hopeful he doesn’t dismiss me.” Gene Smith, Ohio State’s Athletic Director, stated at the same press conference “This is our coach and we trust him implicitly.”

President Gee earns $1.6 million annually as the highest paid president of a public university.

This press conference was held after disclosures that Tressel knew of the players’ transgressions since April 2010, and did not inform the University (President Gee, AD Smith, or the Compliance officers) and thus filed a false statement with the NCAA. His material omissions and misrepresentations were grounds for immediate termination, but he kept his job for 11 more weeks after blindsiding his employers.

The United States Attorney’s Office informed Ohio State on December 7, 2010 of the problems. The Athletic Department was told the next day. Coach Tressel said on December 9 that this was the first time he heard of the players’ involvement with the tattoo parlor.

He failed to add that his autograph was on some of the meorabilia.

Ohio State self-reported the violations to the NCAA on December 19 and declared six players ineligible. The NCAA responded three days later by holding the players could play in the bowl game, but 5 were suspended for the first 5 games next season and the other player for only one game.

Ohio State discovered the emails on January 13, 2011 and on March 8 announced it suspended the coach for the first two games next season and fined him $250,000 - hence the press conference that day.

Coach Tressel explained he had promised confidentiality to Cicero, and didn’t know therefore who to disclose the information to at Ohio State. However, Tressel did contact Ted Sarniak, Pryor’s mentor/Godfather/sugar daddy in Mentor, Pennsylvania.
Tressel was a winner, and that’s what mattered.

The University on March 8 essentially sanctioned his coverup.

Tressel misrepresented his knowledge presumably because he had a great team which could be playing for the national Championship. Even after Ohio State lost to Wisconsin, 31-18, his Buckeyes could still play in a BCS Bowl. Ohio State defeated Arkansas 31-26 because the six players, who should have been suspended, for the season and then the bowl game, were allowed to play in the game. Winning meant everything.

We now know that several players, especially star QB Terrelle Pryor, may have received special favors on cars. The Columbus Dispatch reported that possibly 50 suspect transactions are being investigated. Pryor even drove up to the special meeting on Monday with a recently purchased 2007 Nissan 350-Z when Coach Tressel informed the players of his resignation. The dealers involved in the car transactions said that they had run the deals through the University’s Compliance Office. If so, OSU’s problems will mount, and more forced resignations can be expected.

We also know that the tattoo deals have been going on for years and include more than these six players.

John Wooden may have turned a blind eye to Sam Gilbert, and Woody Hayes to a similar supporter, but that was then; this is now. Ed Martin was devastating to Michigan’s basketball program.

Ohio State is in the midst of a $2.5 billion fundraising campaign. President Gee is an excellent fundraiser. Both Ohio State and USC know that their fundraising is much more successful when their football teams are winning championships.

President Gee had another questionable statement on November 24, 2010 in an
interview with AP. He was asked if Boise State or TCU should be in the BCS Title game. His response “I do know , having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it’s like a murderer’s row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day.”

He may not have noticed that TCU beat Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl, Wisconsin being the only team to defeat the Buckeyes this year, 31-18.

President Gee has now stated that the attention makes it feel like the University has gone through a tsunami. If it has, it is of the University’s making. Coach Tressel made a series of bad judgments and The Ohio State University was unwilling to take decisive action early.

Ohio State and the football program will pay a high price for these violations – perhaps on the magnitude of USC. If not, the USC family has strong reasons to complain about an inequality of treatment.

The cardinal offense was lying to the NCAA. The act of stupidity was forgetting that emails are eternal.

Coach Tressel will now have more time for his work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.