More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

SHOOTOUT AT THE LAWN BOY CORRAL

Sometimes I think strangeness is just a part of everyday life here in Milwaukee. That was confirmed for me some months back when a New Berlin cook at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant decided it would be a good idea to stuff pubic hairs into a new steak ordered for a customer who had been dissatisfied with the way the first one had been cooked. And it has been confirmed for me once more as I read this morning about a Milwaukee man, 56-year old Keith Welendowski, who was arrested a couple of days ago for shooting his Lawn Boy lawn mower because it wouldn't start.

Now this is by no means to suggest that I've never taken to considering similar tactics be employed on a flawed piece of equipment in my time. I can remember trying to start my little Toro snow blower in the middle of a blizzard, priming and pulling the cord, priming and pulling the cord, all to no avail, until finally I threw it across the garage screaming "Well, what the hell good is it?" All I got out of it was a blister and a terse look from my wife.

"Well," she said, shaking her head in disbelief. "Now that accomplished a lot."

Yeah, but it did feel good nonetheless, even if the wife was right. Indeed, it accomplished nothing at all.

Welendowski was trying to start his mower, and when it would not start, went into the house, brought out a shotgun, and fired a round into it. Someone from inside the Welendowski's home called police and reported the incident.

According to the complaint, Welendowski told police that "I can do that, it's my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want." The report also says he had been drinking at the time.

Now the man faces up to an $11,000 fine and six years and three months in prison if convicted of the charges of felony possession of a short-barrelled shotgun or rifle and misdemeanor disorderly conduct while armed.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

RIGHTING THE WOES OF BLACK AMERICA STARTS AT HOME

Fox News Channel talking head, Bill O'Reilly, had some very interesting comments to share on his show, "The O'Reilly Factor," during Tuesday night's broadcast regarding race. More specifically about fatherless black children. He's talked on this issue many times over the past couple of years, and he often points out the awful truth about black fathers who abandon their children. Anyone who watches O'Reilly's program on a regular basis will be keenly aware of his deep passion regarding this topic. He minces no words here.

"You haven't seen Barack Obama campaign with (Jesse) Jackson or with Al Sharpton because he knows that the victimization thing is over...white Americans are saying, and rightly so. I mean, let's be honest here. We're white. We don't know what the black experience is. But I'm tired of hearing about 'I left my kids because my grandfather got worked over in Mississippi.' It ain't going to cut it anymore. You leave your kids you're scum.

"I don't care what happened down the road. Any human being. Any adult. Any man knows when you abandon children you're wrong. There's no excuse. And to try to peddle 'it's the government's fault, it's society's fault,' that would be death if Barack Obama ever got involved with any of that."


According to the statistics, which O'Reilly often cites, 7 out of 10 of all black children who are born in this country are abandoned by their fathers. For whites that figure is more like 3 out of every 10. Of course, any child who is abandoned by their father is not a good thing, white or black. But the numbers speak for themselves, here, that this is an occurrence which is very much more prevalent within the black community.

After the recent slip by Jesse Jackson in commenting, unaware that his mic was on and cameras were rolling preparing for a television interview, that he wanted to cut off Barack Obama's nuts for what he calls "talking down to black people," this issue is front and center once again. Jackson was referring to a speech that Barack Obama made recently, where he called for black fathers to take responsibility for their children and be active, positive role models in their lives. What's so wrong about that?

But Jackson blames the government and society for the woes of the black community and has been making this argument for years. So has Al Sharpton. Barack's comments effectively take the burden of responsibility off the shoulder's of the government and society and puts it right back into the laps of black America. In the eyes of the Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharpton's of the world, blacks are but helpless victims because of wrongs of the past, and are therefore predisposed to fail on a number of levels. Government policy should force society to right this.

Of course, I think this is a load of crap and I've said so before. Failure is a choice we make for ourselves. It takes effort to overcome the obstacles presented to us in our lives. While I don't support Barack's run for president, I find it refreshing that his platform doesn't rely on this I'm a victim mentality, and he's not (at least it would seem) afraid to point out that a large part of the black community's woes has been, to some extent, self-afflicted. I think he understands that the government cannot solve all of the problems facing black America, nor that it should try.

In my view, the government cannot enforce the virtues of personal responsibility. But strong leadership can certainly encourage it. I think that if Barack does, in fact, become our next president, that at least on this issue he does present that kind of leadership. Encouraging blacks to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their own lives and their own destiny would be an historical legacy for Barack Obama and the books, and would place his presidency right in step with one of our past greats, Abraham Lincoln.

One can only hope that an Obama administration makes this the primary focus as opposed to say, socialized health care, higher taxes, bigger government...ahem. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

STOCKS ARE A BUY, EVEN THOUGH OIL WILL STILL GO HIGHER

It's refreshing to eyeball the headline "Oil slips $9 a barrel in two days," even if it's predictably a very short-term easement from growing pains at the pump. There's been a lot weighing on the markets of late with the recent problems with Iran and continued pressure for more drilling, though by all measures demand for oil is dropping in the US. People are all but abandoning their SUVs and trading down to hybrids and smaller cars. The unfortunate downside to that that I can see is that say Ford, for example, will be pushing it's smaller cars, including reintroducing it's Fiesta brand small car. But that car will be made in Mexico, providing no benefit to American workers in Ford's SUV and large truck plants that face ongoing workforce cuts and plant closings. It's obvious Ford -as well as all US car manufacturers- have to make some very tough decisions to catch up to a monumental shift in consumer demand for cars and crossovers as opposed to trucks and SUVs, which were formerly US auto manufacturers' bread and butter. Converting their plants just isn't very cost-effective in an economic time such as the one we are in. Nonetheless, if Ford can sell cars it's good for the stock and good for the economy.

I still stand by my thought that oil will go yet higher before we see any real relief. There's just too much speculation going on, and the entire economy is still contracting. Unemployment continues to rise and though the dollar recently went higher, it's still not done with it's wheezing either. Last week I bought more shares of a stock I like, HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries (HQS), which I've been buying for a couple of months now and whose shares I think will be worth around $19 a share in the next 12-14 months. I've been buying in around an average of $13 a share. Essentially they deal in fish farms, primarily in Hainan, China, and they have extensive operations to include co-packing for companies that have distribution in places like Sam's Club and other large outlets. With mercury and other contaminants becoming a growing problem for non-farm-raised fish, demand for their products are good, and I see an opportunity in this current market to make some money there.

As far as my rebound picks I'm still looking at Target Corp. (TGT) and Visa Inc. (V). Right now Wal-Mart is doing very well as they still offer the best value for the money, and in this economy with budgets being squeezed to the hilt that's a very important thing. Wal-Mart wouldn't be a bad play for the next few months, but growth is an issue there. But I see Target as being the middle-guy. They are redesigning stores, upgrading product lines, and I think that when the economy rebounds people will see Target as a bit of a "step-up" from Wal-Mart. They should see some nice gains in traffic when the smoke clears. And of course, Visa stands to benefit from the increase in transactions people will make from the fees it charges it's terminal users. I'd hold off on buying either one until we see a real shift in oil prices which will be one main catalyst, in my opinion, for a rebound in the economy.