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altruism is dead — Long Live Altruism!

The time is coming when the paper pellet must be replaced by the golden bullet and altruism, with all its good intention, is to be taken barn side and shot in the head. There it shall remain buried until further notice. It is of no benefit for a man to attempt a conviction of my soul from this point forward. No man will dictate that I give to my neighbor, nor will he plead to my mind the largeness of his own needs or the usefulness of my donations, nor will an elected official argue the point that I must pay more in order to adhere to the moral responsibility I have to my brother. I have no moral responsibility to my brother, other than that which I deem to be moral. I have no moral responsibility to anyone but myself, nor does my neighbor have a moral responsibility to me. With that, both he and I, can now exist knowing that what we give to each other, we give freely from our hearts, not because a governmental body has decided to play the role of clergyman and convict our souls while tugging at our heartstrings, all the time sneaking in and about our purse strings. But along the way, I suspect that altruism will attempt an escape from his grave and look to rise from his confinement back to his moral high-ground. But when he does, I will be there. On bended knee, my mouth will let drip whispers and suggestions that will saturate the very dirt through which his compassion claws away. Leave me alone, I will tell him…leave me be and I will take a step toward you on my own, in my own time, at my own pace. Though while you wait, my altruistic friend, take notice of your precious Collectivism waiting in the hand basket as your Russian revolution burns away in hell. Yesterday’s rebel is awake and it wasn’t your science that saved me, it was the way that He and they prayed and prayed for me and now I am no longer THEY or WE…I am individual…I am I. — Mike McMannes 2012

A Quick Note to Anti-Faith Intellectuals.

Ah, the beauty of a self-implied intellectual mind and its consistent suppression of any and all things faith-based. It seems brilliant scientists all over the world start each sentence with the fine response, “We had no idea…We couldn’t believe…We didn’t expect to see…We’re hoping to find…Theoretically, it should…We’re not sure exactly why…” and then feel justified by all you amateur ‘Physics’ cheerleaders who wave your mental pom-poms in different newsgroups screaming “Schrodinger’s Cat! Schrodinger’s Cat!!” to anyone who will listen while espousing the demonic virtues of all things faith-based.

MY GOD, MAN!! OF course, the earth is flat…oh, wait!

You support all that is intellectual and yet allow ZERO intellect toward what ‘MIGHT’ be possible. Of course, there can be NO GOD because my intellect says it’s silly (Oh yeah, and my daddy beat me as a child!) Open your mind, Newton-and by the way, Schrodinger’s Cat is more of a faith experiment than a thought-experiment. The very moment you observe it, everything changes. Only ONE OUTCOME can be observed even though, at one point, there was TWO outcomes. When you open the box, you SEE one…but you must BELIEVE that there was another. FAITH = a more intellectual way to look at the unknown.~~~~

Now, GIVE ME A ‘G’–G, GIVE ME AN ‘O’–O, GIVE ME A ‘D’–D…and what does that spell? Your “Finale!”

Be blessed, my friend……if you’re intellectual enough to ask for it.

White House Plan Would End Subsidies to Student Lenders

By Alejandro Lazo and Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 27, 2009; A08


The Obama administration has proposed a sweeping change in the $85 billion-a-year student loan industry, one that could fundamentally alter the business of lenders such as Sallie Mae.

The proposal, included in yesterday’s budget outline, would end a program that pays government subsidies to private student loan companies. The administration said the shift, which would mean that all federal loans would come directly through the government, would save $4 billion annually and $47.5 billion over the next decade.

The changes could be a blow to companies such as Sallie Mae of Reston that receive subsidies to originate federally backed student loans. Shares of Sallie Mae, formally known as SLM Corp., plunged 31 percent yesterday on the news. The profitability of the student loan industry has faltered in recent years, first as Congress cut subsidies and then because of turmoil in the credit markets. Last year, dozens of lenders stopped issuing federally guaranteed loans, prompting concerns about whether students would get the money they needed for college. The Bush administration took several steps to shore up student lenders. 

Yesterday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan signaled a shift from that approach, saying the program that subsidizes private lenders is “on life support.”

“Rather than continuing to subsidize banks, we want to help dramatically more students get more access to more aid,” Duncan said in a conference call with reporters. “Big picture . . . We’re going to save about $24 billion dollars over the next five years, and we want to actively invest that money in our students.”

aaaSince the early 1990s, federal student loans have been implemented through two programs. The program that the administration proposes ending, the Federal Family Education Loan Program, uses private-sector lenders such as Sallie Mae and Citigroup to originate and service the education loans, keeping the debt off the government’s books. Under this program, the government pays a subsidy to private lenders. Congress sets the interest rate on loans, and the federal government covers nearly all the losses if a student defaults.

The other program, Direct Loan, is administered by the government and includes student loan debt in the government’s deficit. Under the proposal, this program would handle all federal loans. The approach outlined yesterday echoes one long favored by Democrats. House Education Committee Chairman Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who has been a vocal critic of what he has called “corrupt practices” in the student loan industry, said the proposal was a “a solid plan to make federal student loans more reliable while saving taxpayers billions of dollars.”

The proposal to do away with the Federal Family Education Loan Program stunned investors and Wall Street analysts who follow Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest student lender. Loans originated through that program made up about 80 percent of the company’s total student loan portfolio at the end of 2008, with the rest being private loans.

“It could precipitate a collapse of the . . . industry because a lot of the lenders were holding on and hoping to survive until the end of the credit crisis,” said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of the Web site “But they could pull out completely because if there is no future, then there is no reason to stay.” Under the administration’s proposal, the private sector wouldn’t be completely cut out of the equation. The Education Department would contract with companies to service loans and collect payments. Officials yesterday said they expected some companies that now participate in the loan program to take part in a competitive process to service the loans. Sallie Mae made clear yesterday that it intended to bid for such contracts.

“We also note that the budget proposal looks to obtain ‘high-quality services for students by using competitive, private providers to service loans,’ ” the company said in a statement. “Sallie Mae is the largest and lowest-cost provider of student loan services, and we deliver the highest quality for students, schools and families.

Houston Rockets Slogan – The Final Frontier

This season BEGINS the Final Frontier.
These are voyages of the Big 3 at Toyota Center.
It’s a 5 year window
To explore strange, new players
To seek out new playoff rounds and new championships.
To boldly go where Yao and Tracy have never gone….BEFORE!!!!

Tim Russert – R.I.P.

It’s very weird. I’ve been talking about Tim Russert for the past several weeks to friends and family alike. I’ve spoken of how much I like Russert and his being the main reason I watch ‘Meet The Press.”  After hearing about Russert’s death, my stomach dropped and I felt a wave of nausia come over me. It was like that with Princess Diana too, to some degree. But I watched Russert each and every Sunday, taped it every week, and never missed watching an episode, even re-watching some from time to time. Russert gave an interview to Charlie Rose a while back stating how he wanted to mold his show into one where the average man could sit down on Sunday, grab a cup of coffee, relax and watch great political news happen. That was exactly what I did – I sat down every Sunday and watched ‘Meet The Press’ with Tim Russert. It didn’t matter who he was interviewing; it would be relevant, he would ask the hard questions, and he would do it with genuine interest. They say he worked harder than anyone else and was more prepared than anyone else. I never met Tim Russert but he seemed to be a loving and compassionate man who cared a great deal for his father and his son. I’ll truly miss having coffee with Russert on Sunday’s. He’ll be greatly missed!

Picture Gallery

Tim Russert, ‘Meet the Press’ Host, Dies

The popular NBC television journalist passed away Friday of a heart attack at age 58

(FROM MSNBC) — Tim Russert, the anchor of NBC’s venerable Sunday morning public affairs program Meet the Press since 1991 and one of the most recognizable personalities on television, died Friday at the age of 58, NBC News announced. He suffered a heart attack while working at NBC’s bureau in Washington, D.C.

A towering figure in TV news, Russert was a native of Buffalo, N.Y., and arrived at NBC in 1984 after stints as a lawyer and staffer for New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. As NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief and the moderator of Meet the Press, the Emmy winner turned the 60-year-old show into a ratings powerhouse, a must-see for people both inside the Beltway and beyond. He was the longest-serving anchor in the history of that program. Perhaps the highest-profile contributor to NBC News’ political and election coverage, he also appeared frequently on MSNBC and hosted a weekly interview show, Tim Russert, on CNBC.

Russert’s 2004 memoir of his childhood and his father, Big Russ and Me, was a No. 1 best seller. The overwhelming success of that book led to the publication of a best-selling follow-up, Wisdom of Our Fathers, which included many of the letters he received from people paying tribute to their own parents. He is survived by his son, Luke, his wife, Maureen Orth, a Vanity Fair writer, and ”Big Russ,” his father. (MSNBC)y Don Aucoin, Globe Staff  |  June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, a powerhouse of broadcast journalism who made interviewing both an art form and a contact sport on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” died today at age 58 of a heart attack after collapsing at the network’s Washington bureau.

Russert’s death reverberated through the worlds of journalism and politics, two arenas where his passion matched his expertise. His preparation and tenacity on “Meet the Press” made that show must-viewing inside the Beltway and beyond, and “the Russert Primary” was considered a test that presidential candidates had to pass to be considered serious contenders.

Yet however rugged the exchanges, Russert invariably ended with the same gentlemanly refrain: “Thank you for sharing your views.” Paradoxical though it seemed, Russert was both feared and liked in Washington, where he was NBC’s bureau chief. That was reflected in the bipartisan tributes that poured forth today after Russert’s death.

President Bush called Russert a “tough and hardworking newsman,” who was “as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it.” Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain called Russert “the preeminent political journalist of his generation” and “a terrific guy,” while presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama called Russert “irreplaceable” and “one of the finest men I knew.”

Mayor McMannes & Congressman Ted Poe

A couple of pictures of my dad and Ted Poe at the ceremonial opening of the new courthouse in downtown Humble. The photo of the ribbon cutting includes (From L. to R) Councilman Merle Aaron, Allen Lee, Dad, Allan Steagall, Charles Curry, and Bill Conner. Also, City Manager, Darrell Boeske presents Rep. Poe with a handpainted picture of the courthouse.

Congressman Ted Poe is in his second term as the United States Representative for Southeast Texas’ 2nd Congressional District. Congressman Poe has a distinguished career of public service to the Lone Star state.

Congressman Poe first made a name for himself in Texas as a straight-talking, no-nonsense chief felony prosecutor. As an assistant district attorney for eight years, Poe tried hundreds of cases, even those seeking the death penalty, and never lost a jury trial. When Poe became a judge in 1981 he continued his dedication to justice and became one of the youngest judges in the State of Texas, serving as a Harris County felony court judge for 22 years.


Jackson loan deal sparks Vegas show rumors!

Rumours about a possible Michael Jackson Las Vegas spectacular have hit fever pitch after revelations the loan on the pop superstar’s Neverland Ranch home has been bought by a Vegas mogul.

Jackson prevented a foreclosure sale on his sprawling Santa Barbara ranch earlier this month when New York-based private equity group Colony Capital agreed to take over his debt on the property.

However, Michael Politz, the editor of website, suggests there may be more to the deal than meets the eye, after revealing Colony Capital’s founder, Tom Barrack Jr., also owns the Las Vegas Hilton hotel.

Vegas insider Politz said: “Connect the dots… An affiliate of the company that owns the Hilton agreed to hold the $23.5m (€15m) loan it acquired from Fortress Investment Group while it negotiates payment terms (with Jackson).

“And Jackson confirmed he is in discussions with Colony and its founder, Tom Barrack Jr., with regard to the ranch and other matters. I wonder what they’re negotiating about. Could it be a show?

“Are we correct in saying that Michael Jackson will sing and dance in the showroom of his former father-in-law, Elvis Presley?”

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