News


It has been sometime since I have added an update to Higher Bar.  It was a very busy 2007 covering education and work.  Instead of continuing the potpourri of posts to this one site, I have started two additional blogs to separate health & fitness and personal rants from posts dedicated to research-based business and political observation.

Should you be interested in reading or subscribing to my other sites, I, as always, appreciate your continued support.  There will of course be new material as well as updated versions of some of the more popular posts from A Higher Bar.

Health & Fitness:  Strength Systems

Rants & Raves:  Mr. Horse – coming in February 2008

Again, despite having experience working in the Middle East I feel there are several blogs which contribute greater public discourse on the topic than I, considering I really only focus on that area a few days a week at most. One thing has recently caught my attention, however, with respect to the escalating situation with Iran.

Last week the administration couldn’t quite get its story straight with respect to the potential supply of weapons from Iranian special forces to Iraqi insurgents. Now one can look at various aspects of the media coverage over the past 6 months. One week Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is speaking about destroying Israel and the West, the next he wants diplomatic discussions. First they have a secret nuclear program, and then it is for peaceful purposes. Stories even run to the extreme on both sides of the fence from a conservative view that Iran wants to convert the world to Islam and a liberal interpretation that the US will conduct a false-flag attack on soldiers or sailors in the Gulf to justify limited bombing runs.

What I find interesting is the lack of reporting on the middle class democratic movement in Iran. Prior to the election of Ahmadinejad and the growing rhetoric on our two countries foreign policy, several stories were run discussing the US-Persian influence, via satellite on sympathetic ears inside Iran. The US government had even committed funds to support such efforts to expand the Iranian middle-class and expand the push for democracy. I have two questions: (1) where has the reporting on this situation gone and (2) have we succeeded in alienating the one constituency in Iran that may have supported us?

I have an upcoming article on the Iraq War, Shades of Thermopylae, but I wanted to go ahead and pass on the link to a blog hosting an excellent documentary and comment section.

You can find that here (graphic content warning).

If the US media could pull themselves away from astronauts in diapers, Anna Nicole Smith’s death, and Britney Spears shaving her head and getting a tattoo and going panty-less we might actually learn something about foreign policy other than “stay the course.”

Earlier this week State Farm Insurance stated it would no longer write new homeowner’s policies in the state of Mississippi given the losses they suffered during Hurricane Katrina and the lawsuits it settled. Now the state Attorney General, Jim Hood, who believes insurers are responsible for hurricane damages regardless of the cause or policy statement, is seeking legislation aimed at blocking this move by the insurance giant.

He said the plan is modeled after actions by Florida and would require any company that writes automobile insurance in Mississippi to also write homeowners policies. Hood said Friday that he had asked Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Insurance Commissioner George Dale to issue emergency orders requiring insurance companies to continue writing home policies until the state legislature can act. He said he had not had any response from either Barbour or Dale.

So now apparently the government can dictate what service offerings a company must participate in, when will they start telling us what career we must pursue? Just hold out your hand, the chip won’t hurt a bit. Besides, you gotta do what you gotta do!

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Again, I don’t like to deviate much from my typical topics here at The Higher Bar but some things are hard to ignore. In the near future I will be contributing to another blog where I will cover such social issues on the media, policy and religion just to name a few. This particular post has to do with the popular media and their drastic need for improvement.

Who: CNN Headline News

When: 02/16/2007 -9:56am

What: Following the story covering a South Korean woman who sang 59 straight hours (Monday through Valentines Day) of kareoke for her dying husband, they transition to a story of a 4-ton rampaging elephant in Sri Lanka.

Segue: “They weren’t songs of love, but screams of fear as a a four-ton elephant went wild.”

The weekend is closing in and time to work on some of my more opinionated pieces. This month has provided a great deal of outstanding material to speak on the topic of freedom. From banning Superbowl Commercials to expelling students, our country is slipping down the PC river without a padel. We seem to keep forgetting, everyone has the right to be an ass. That’s right, I said it.

Amendment I – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Just take a look at some of the stories from the past few weeks:

(Incidentally I am currently formulating the most non-offensive Superbowl ad ever made, so marketing firms FYI.)

  • Tony Long’s recent article on violent video games, particularly Super Columbine Massacre RPG
  • NAACP probes Clemson college party (pictures available at The Smoking Gun)
  • Macalister College politically incorrect party under investigation
  • Find the illegal immigrant game at New York University draws protest
  • Satire of rape in Central Connecticut State University draws protests
  • San Diego skateboarder tazed after riding on sidewalk – Video here

Now because everyone has this right, doesn’t mean as a society they should be made to feel comfortable for their views, but they should not be fired, expelled, suspended, censored or forced into retirement. Despite not being a great movie, I’m reminded of the mayor of New York in the movie Ghostbusters II, “being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker’s God given right.”

– Rant Alert –

NBC Nightly News has been running a series this week on the care and independence of senior citizens in the US. Tonight, Tim Russert’s father was the principle subject. We heard how he is an independent senior living in Buffalo, NY and refused to go to as assisted living center. The only thing is, his daughter comes over to replace batteries, take care of technical needs and bring groceries. Another woman in the neighborhood stops by to fix meals. Yet another neighbor takes care of minor repairs, checks in when weather is bad and with all the snow this past week clears the driveway and sidewalk. So my question is, how independent is he?

I’m reminded of a George Carlin special when he was speaking about Americas constant need for help.

“If you’re looking for self-help, why would you read a book written by somebody else? That’s not self-help, that’s help! There’s no such thing as self-help. If you did it yourself, you didn’t need help.”

There is a significant decline in senior care in the US and everyone is asking why. There are reasons ranging from the drop in family dining, the fall of employment for life and trust in the employer relationship, ironically, even the independent spirit of our culture has been blamed. One thing is clear, if you have other people do it for you, you’re not independent!

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