Friday, July 22, 2005

Book Review: The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg

Book ReviewIt has been quite some time since I've posted a book review here. I have read several books since my last book review posting. But none of those books has stood out in my mind strongly enough to make it worth recommending, or worth recommending you avoid. Nothing really worth mentioning. Until I read The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg. We constantly hear today about stories, movies, books and TV shows that are ripped from the headlines. Well, Joel Rosenberg wrote a book that is absolutely ripped from the headlines. And he wrote this book prior to the Iraq war.

The book is set in a post George W. Bush Presidency. The President is a conservative
Republican from Colorado. And his life is targeted by -- well, you'll just have to read the book. But his life is targeted. Someone is out to assassinate the President. Saddam Hussein is still the President and dictator of Iraq, and Iraq is still believed to have Weapons of Mass Destruction. In this book Osama bin Laden has already been found dead, and the Taliban has already been evicted fully from Afghanistan. Israel and Palestine are the targets of an oil and gas deal that is expected to make every citizen of both -- Israelis and Palestinians -- wealthy beyond their imagination. And the book takes you on a ride through those lines. There are several twists and turns and surprises that will make you want to keep turning the pages. It is a difficult book to put down. All of the surprises were believable.

The book is very well written. It would appeal, I imagine, to anyone who enjoys political thrillers, military thrillers, suspense and mystery books, alternative history, and even the Christian fiction genre. Though, as you read through this book there is no overt Christian fiction influence. Too many books in the Christian fiction genre are written as if they're an article
in Guideposts magazine. This book is written more like it's an article in the Washington Post, or Time magazine, or a report on CNN.

If you can't tell, I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg. When you've finished it, move on to The Last Days, which picks up the story just three weeks after the ending of this book. And his most recent publication is the third story in this little series, called The Ezekiel Option. These books are prophetic in nature, very timely, and very believable. And very much what is happening, what has been happening, and what could start happening in the world today.

I hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Insane Political Fundraising

I heard a news report today that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, the former First Lady of Slick Willie is averaging approximately six million dollars per quarter in political fund raising. At that rate they estimate she'll have 48 million dollars in her coffers by the time of the New York Senate elections coming up. They also estimate that she will spend approximately eighteen million dollars on her campaign for reelection to her seat in the Senate. Now the Reporter made the comment that that would leave her thirty million dollars should she decide to run for President in 2008. Thirty million dollars. Now that disturbs me on so many levels. Most of which, of course, is the thought of Hillary Rodham Clinton as President. I mean, come on, we thought John Kerry was bad?! But that's not the topic for today.

How can anyone raise that much money for a political campaign? 48 million dollars. We have people living in the gutter in our country. We have people dying of diseases that have no cure. We have people screaming about government funding for
embryonic stem cell research to try to cure things like Parkinson's Disease. And we have idiots giving so much money to a political campaign that a wannabe, not qualified, Senator, former First Lady, Whitewater scamming, former Whatever has 48 million dollars for her political career. Am I the only one that sees anything wrong with this? I just cannot imagine -- 48 million dollars.

First of all, I think it's insane that it would cost eighteen million dollars to get reelected to the Senate. Eighteen million dollars can feed a lot of mouths. Eighteen million dollars can provide a lot of medicine and a lot of medical care to the underprivileged in our country. Eighteen million dollars can provide a lot of aid to hurricane ravaged parts of our country. And we're talking almost three times that amount that she expects to have by the time of the Senate elections. Whatever happened to
campaign finance reform? If this is what happens after campaign finance reform, then I think we need to reform the reform. I just cannot imagine that kind of money.

You know, I started voting for President back when George Bush 41 was running for President -- and yes I voted for him, and I voted for his son. And in the first George Bush's reelection campaign, he had the misfortune to run against
Ross Perot. It was like it was Slick Willie and Crazy Ross versus the President. I am a firm believer that if Ross Perot had not run, that George Bush would have been reelected to a second term in the White House. I firmly believe that Ross Perot misdirected -- or diverted -- many votes from our President to himself, causing Slick Willie to get elected to office. And so I've never had much respect for him because of his whole mindset and the way he wanted to run the country like a business, and -- that's another story. But one thing I've got to think about is, he did spend a lot of his own money running for President. Every time that he ran he, being the millionaire that he was, spent a lot of his own money. And you know, as crazy as old Ross Perot may have been, I've got to admire a guy that's willing to put his own cash on the line to further his own career.

Is our President doing something great for the world? Sure he is, and he's a great asset to the world, a great asset to the country, leader of the most powerful nation. And what's he get out of that? You telling me he gets nothing? He gets his name in history. He makes a decent amount of money if you compare it to the average citizen. A lifetime pension. A protection detail. Free medical care. He doesn't have to pay for anything. And we're paying to put him in that office? Those of us who throw our money at these candidates by the millions. I think the kind of reform we need -- if you're a candidate, if you want to seek office, you pay up the money. When I go out looking for a job, do I look for donations to help me get through, to help me get to the job? Do I ask someone to buy me a suit for the interview, or to give me limo rides to the interview? No. No, I pay the money myself. I come up with it, I put it up, I go, and I do it. I get the job, or I don't get the job, but it's all on my own terms. And yet we're taking these people who are making our laws and deciding the fate of our people and our nation, and we're giving them millions of dollars of our money -- your money, maybe, because I'm not giving it to them -- to get into office. I think it's about time they put up their own money. I think it's about time that we stop the insanity and we see some real finance reform. Maybe then we won't see nutso crazy people like Ross Perot running for President. Maybe we won't see people of such low moral character as Bill Clinton elected twice to office. And maybe we won't see the total disaster that it would be should Hillary Rodham Clinton ever win election to the White House. I just don't think we're ready to see something like that.

Think about it. Put your money where your mouth is. You want to run, you put your money on your own campaign. Somebody else wants to run, you let them finance it themselves, and let's see what kind of people we get in our White House then.


Saturday, July 9, 2005

Unexpected Business Travel

I'm in Chicago on business as I make today's posting, so it won't see the site for a couple of days. I expect to be back in Indiana on Saturday. The topic of today's entry is mostly how much I hate business travel.

With my current employer -- and if you've looked at my site at all and ready any of my past entries, you know that I'm a Retail Store Manager, though I've never said what Retailer and I probably never will identify the Retailer -- sends me periodically -- myself and other Store Managers -- on business trips. Trips to our Corporate Headquarters for training, or meetings. Trips to other markets for Grand Reopenings, or Grand Openings. Most of the time with very, very short notice. Most of the time with no opportunity to really plan. It's impossible to take any family with you. I've always felt that employers should allow you to travel with your family. I believe that a person is more productive when their life is disrupted a little bit less. And it is a little bit less disruptive, I believe -- I know I would be less disrupted -- if my family was here with me. I miss both my wife and my son terribly.

Yesterday I was speaking with my wife on the phone and as she does often she handed the phone to my son and I talked to him. He's not a big talker yet, but he listened on the phone for the longest time that he ever has as I spoke to him and -- well, you know I just came up here yesterday and I had only been away from home for six or eight hours at the time and it nearly brought me to tears.

I'm staying in a hotel that's too far from the store that I'm currently at to make it worthwhile. I spend way too much time driving back and forth. I'm here from open in the morning until closing at night, which makes for a very long fourteen or fifteen hour work day -- actually a little bit longer than that. Last night I went to the hotel, and the hotel I'm staying at is by the highway. My room overlooks the highway and every single car that drove down the highway past my room sounded like it was driving right through the room. So I got very little sleep and I am very tired today, and the day today has barely started.

So, that's pretty much all I have. This is my rant entry. I haven't made many of those lately. But I feel the need to rant about how companies -- about how Corporate America -- these days expects their employees to get up and go and run here and there and get very little of anything for it. I get paid mileage, but there's no additional compensation for my time away from my family, for my time away from home, for the fact that in my belief, anyway, travel is a 24 hour shift because I'm away from home and I have no opportunity to go home and no option to go home. I believe it's a 24 hour work day, and when you have three or four of them back-to-back -- or more -- as I've had in the past, it can tend to get quite old and be very demanding, both on the employee and on the employee's family.

So that's my rant, and I'll let you get back to what you've got to be doing, because nobody wants to listen to me rant forever, I'm sure. I hope that your employer -- if they send you on travel -- you get a little more notice and a little more consideration than I received, and that you get to take your family with you. I know that would make all the difference in the world. In fact, on one previous trip -- the last trip that my employer sent me to this same town -- I brought my family and we got to, in some off hours, enjoy some culture and some things in town that alone I don't bother to go out and do. I'm a family man and I'd rather be with my family. I don't get up and go out to places and go do things. I pretty much leave my work place to go back to my room and then I get up from my room the next morning and go back to my work place, and that's how my trip goes. So hopefully yours will go better when you have them -- if you have them -- and hopefully you can take your family along with you, and hopefully some day I'll be in a position where I can dictate more of that myself.

Thanks for visiting, and if you have any comments, as always, drop me a line.


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