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Archive for December, 2009

The answer to America’s airline security problems? Two words: El Al

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

A few years ago, the venerable Cal Thomas wrote a great column about airport security and how we in America should emulate Israel’s El Al airlines.

Thomas writes that while here in America “profiling” has become a dirty word, that’s how El Al* operates. If someone looks or acts suspicious or if they seem hesitant about routine questions regarding who they are, where they’re going, whom they’ll visit, they get questioned further. And scrutinized.

After all these years, how many El Al flights have been hijacked or crashed into buildings?

Zero.

It would be absolutely wonderful if we’d implement this type of airline security here in America, but too many Americans–no doubt used to our “fast food” approach to everything–would whine about the personal questions, about the time it takes to get on the plane. Never mind that the faster, corner-cutting approach will undoubtedly allow future terrorists to slip through the cracks.

I asked Len, a friend in the aviation industry, what he thought of El Al’s approach and whether it would work here in America. His response:

“Israel (El Al) understands the objective…and has the system in place to achieve it – the U.S. does NOT understand the objective (or even have an objective) and, therefore, cannot achieve it.

“The TSA is a jobs program…and is a failure by any measure!

“To answer your question: Sadly, No.”

* I’m told El Al means “To the skies” or “Skyward” in Hebrew.

Richard Zowie runs several blogs. Post comments below or e-mail richardzowie@gmail.com.

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News on my blogs

December 24, 2009 Leave a comment

I had to edit a comment someone made on my satirical blog regarding Green Day’s making the fictitious album American Idiot II. Feel free to post, just make sure you keep it free of taking the Lord’s name in vain, f- and s-bombs and, preferably, the four-letter words beginning with d or h.

Been having some computer problems lately. I hope to start posting my humorous look back at 2009 this next week, but we’ll see for sure.

I’m very happy to report that since August, my column “From A to Zowie” has appeared almost weekly at the paper I work at part-time, the Mt. Morris/Clio and Birch Run/Bridgeport Herald in northern Genesee County and southern Saginaw County. A few weeks ago the column didn’t run, partly because I was too tired from all the sports I wrote for that issue and partly because my writing philosophy: it’s better to write no column than one that stinks. And, besides, I like to make room for others to write . Heck, I know what it’s like to have a column bumped for five weeks because others at the paper insist on putting in their own stuff week after week after week.

I hope to see “From A to Zowie” published more frequently in the Beeville Bee-Picayune. Due to limited space, I’ve been asked to write shorter columns. For a while we had no home internet access and a CD/DVD drive that wasn’t working, making it very difficult to write, transfer onto CD and go to a computer where I could send out the column.

Merry Christmas (and to my Jewish friends, a belated Happy Hanukah!)!

Best,

Richard Zowie

richardzowie@gmail.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Just asking…

December 17, 2009 Leave a comment

…Will the time come when Al Gore is formally asked by the powers-that-be at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to return the Oscar he won for An Inconvenient Truth? It’s becoming more and more apparent that his “documentary” is based on incorrect data. I also find it ominous that Gore refuses to answer any tough questions on the subject and has even refused John Stossel’s request for a debate. Mr. Vice President, if you’re right and they’re wrong, what’s the problem? Why not accept Stossel’s request and “own” him and show the world that what you’ve been saying about man-made global warming is true?

I’d also like to see Mr. Gore answer questions about whether or not his house really goes through something like $20,000 monthly in energy costs…

…I understand Elin Nordegren told Tiger Woods he’d have to indefinitely quit golf for the sake of their marriage. If she indeed divorces him, does that mean he’ll be hitting the links again?

I suspect that if someone tries to scream “YOU THE MAN!” while Tiger attempts a short putt, that person will get to wear Tiger’s putter as a new necklace…

…Does DNC chair Howard Dean’s refusal to support this health care bill of President Barack Obama’s and Dean’s statement he won’t “vigorously” support Obama’s re-election mean that the honeymoon of America and the president is over?

Man, I am sooooooo thankful we elected an inexperienced president instead of an inexperienced vice president. That was a close one!

Richard Zowie has several blogs, including three more on WordPress and one on www.bleacherreport.com. Post comments below or e-mail richardzowie@gmail.com.

College Football needs a playoff system. Period.

December 10, 2009 1 comment

College Football needs a playoff system. Period.

From A to Zowie

By Richard Zowie

Once again, we’re at that time of year when these inevitable things happen: Christmas shopping, endless Christmas songs on the radio and bickering about college football’s Bowl Championship Series system.

As far as the BCS gripe, it’s tantamount to the complaints we have in electing a president. Not whom we elected (although plenty of that does go on), but how we elected them. Many wonder why we still have an “antiquated” electoral college.

Texas Christian University and Boise State University are no doubt upset they won’t get a chance to play for the national championship, which will be played by Texas and Alabama. Alabama trounced Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship game while Texas barely squeaked by underdog Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game. If Colt McCoy had waited a split second longer before throwing away that pass, it might very well be Florida and Alabama doing a rematch at the Rose Bowl for the National Championship.

Instead, we put our faith in a computerized BCS system that I wonder if even Bill Gates or one of those White and Nerdy professional computer geeks could explain. Year after year, we hear the BCS is flawed, and this year there’s no exception. Granted, Texas finished the season undefeated, but the Longhorns also struggled to get past Texas A&M and played games against lowly teams like the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Others would argue that neither TCU or Boise State played against many tough opponents. Recently, though, Boise had an opening on its schedule for either 2010 or 2011 and offered any major football program the chance to play them; I’m told they received no offers.

We could endlessly debate on whose schedule was truly the strongest, but instead, here’s my simple solution to problem that, granted, might not be so simple.

How about a playoff system that won’t span over so many weeks? Instead of risking injury and possible NFL careers over a two-month playoff where the top 10 or 15 teams fight for the right to play for the National Championship, how about the top five?

Here’s how we’d do it:

The AP Top 25 lists these teams in first through fifth place: Alabama at 1, Texas at 2, TCU at 3, Cincinnati at 4 and Florida at 5.

In Richard’s system, the National Championship could be decided in three weeks of play.

In the first week, it would be 2 against 5 and then 3 against 4. First-place Alabama would have a bye while Texas squares off against Florida and TCU battles Cincinnati.

In the second week, Alabama would then play the lowest-seeded team still alive. This would mean if Florida beat Texas, the Gators would play the Crimson Tide. If Texas beat Florida, then Alabama would play the winner of the Horned Frogs and Bearcats.

Then, in the third week, the two winners of those games would play each other for the National Championship.

A former A.C. Jones High School classmate, Richie Jones, made a great point on Facebook when I proposed this: one reason why the NCAA refuses to do away with the BCS is because too much money can be made by playing in regular bowl games. Perhaps that can be remedied by allowing the major bowl games like the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl become part of this playoff.

I know my plan’s not perfect, but something has to be done. College basketball, which normally I don’t watch except when teams like Kansas, the University of Houston or LSU are playing, has an irresistible March Madness system. If college football really wants to generate excitement over its championship game, it needs to incorporate something similar to it. Very soon.

Richard Zowie grew up in Beeville and works in Michigan as a writer. Visit his blog at http://www.fromatozowie.wordpress.com or e-mail him at richardzowie@gmail.com.

Laura Ingraham’s ‘No Tiger Woods’ policy

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m starting to become a huge fan of The Laura Ingraham Show. I’ve been listening to her for a few years. Smart lady who describes herself as a “recovering lawyer”. Very articulate about government issues and, unlike some talk show hosts (like Sean Hannity, whom I actually like), Ingraham seldom cuts off people whom she disagrees with.

Laura Ingraham

Someone the other day asked her what she thought of the whole Tiger Woods debacle. Ingraham’s response: we have an economy that could still go under, a bunch of “environmentalists” traveling to a global warming summit in Copenhagen in private jets, a war on terror to deal with. Tiger Woods and his personal life are immaterial by comparison.

Ingraham’s policy illustrates for me the need we have as Americans to put pop culture in its proper place and focus on the issues in life that are truly fortunate.

Where’s Sarah Palin’s book?

December 5, 2009 Leave a comment

They say Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue: An American Life is doing pretty well. It must be flying off the bookshelves up here in Michigan.

That’s because in Walmart, Meijer and and other stores, I can’t see any copies for sale anywhere.

They do have two other Palin books, including one that’s unflattering.

Either it’s selling out and being bought up or the stores don’t want us reading it. If it’s the latter, then I wonder if the powers that be in libraries will add this book to their list of Banned Books.

Thank you, Mr. President, for making me miss my favorite TV show NCIS

December 3, 2009 Leave a comment

When I arrived home Tuesday evening from a long day at work and from running an errand to Caro, Mich., I was all excited about sitting down and watching my favorite show, NCIS. Very excited.

And as we turned on the TV, we saw that it wasn’t coming on: President Barack Obama was making a prime time address.

I was left wondering: why did he have to do this on the night America’s number-one show is on? It’s not like he really has anything worth saying.

On a funny note, this candidate chose to pass the time in an amusing way…

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