Smoking Trees in Belize

Smoking Trees in Belizehttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com
Fri, 18 Mar 2011 14:12:03 +0000enhourly1http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1What is it with these self-pics?http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/what-is-is-with-these-self-pics.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/what-is-is-with-these-self-pics.html#commentsWed, 07 May 2008 00:13:35 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=60With the advent of cheap digital technology, the “self-shot,” is a recent
phenomena. If you have a Myspace or Facebook account you’ve seen them
in bunches. Each gender has their own twist, but the ubiquitous
outstretched arm remains a constant. Self pics are favored by hot
chicks in revealing clothes, and chubby ones craftily using concealing angles. The male variety is most often a flexing toolbag, who rightfully belongs here.
The trend is a curious one, certainly spurned by the proliferation of
digital cameras, it is also undoubtedly tied to narcissism and
sexuality in our culture. Is it art? Self-expression? Or 21st century
flirting? Either way, certain issues remain a concern for lawmakers and parents alike. Snap away America, beauty is fleeting.
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What do a Trekkie and the Coach of Da Bears have in common?http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/what-do-trekkie-and-coach-of-da-bears.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/what-do-trekkie-and-coach-of-da-bears.html#commentsWed, 07 May 2008 00:12:34 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=57The beautiful Jeri Ryan seen above had a role on Star Trek, but more
importantly she was once married to Jack Ryan. Ryan was a Goldman Sachs
genius with an MBA and JD from Harvard. He cashed out and eventually
ran for Illinois Senate in 2004. Unfortunately for him, his divorce
records from 1998 contained seedy stories of a sexual deviant.
In March of 2004 he handily won the Illinois Senate Republican Primary
and looked to be a formidable opponent with deep pockets. On June 21, a
court order unsealed the divorce files and Ryan’s campaign was sunk.
In
a bind, with little time to spare, the Illinois Republican Party turned
to Mike Ditka. The former coach of the Super Bowl Shufflers was an
immensely popular figure in Chicago, a local businessman, and
conservative minded. Ditka mulled over, but declined the offer, leaving
Alan Keyes as the last minute fill-in.
So
should Obama send a little thank you card to Ms. Ryan and Ditka? In
June of 2004, Barack Obama was not the juggernaut he is today. Coming
off a failed bid for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2000,
Obama was the clear Democratic favorite, but a relatively untested
newb. He faced Ryan, a rising star himself in Illinois politics, and
the reality that the Senate seat had been vacated by a Republican. Once
Ryan had shot himself in the foot, he still had a hurdle to clear. One
may scoff at Senator Ditka, but in a country where Jessie “The Body”
Ventura, and The Terminator are governors, name recognition goes a long
way in popular elections. Obama would not be in the position he is
today without the platform of a Senate seat. Everyone needs some breaks
along the way, let’s be thanks Obama got his fortuitously, and not from
the Ole’ Boy’s Network.
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World’s 12th Highest Standard of Livinghttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/worlds-12th-highest-standard-of-living.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/worlds-12th-highest-standard-of-living.html#commentsWed, 07 May 2008 00:11:26 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=54The proclamation seen above, “World’s Highest Standard of Living,”
might have been true for those in the car, but certainly not the men
and women standing below. The photo was taken by Margaret Bourke, a lady who captured the Depression era across the South with stunning clarity. No matter your race, today the U.S. can only claim 12th in
latest Human Development Index by the United Nations. Why 12th? For
one, Nordic countries with their evenly distributed economy and healthy
diets tend to dominate these type of rankings. However, it is a problem
of our own creation that hampers our standard of the living the most.
The U.S. has the widest rich-poor gap
amongst the relatively stable, and developed countries. Call it
socialist, but it’s time to take a hard look at pay scales. You cannot
dictate what society values, that is why the #1 NFL draft pick gets $30
million up front, while a teacher would only earn $30,000 after years
of service. But you can require some reduction in the income disparity
between the executives and laborers of companies that benefit from
public investment. Regulations have been needed to reign capitalism in
before, the laissez-faire approach of Reaganomics is no longer
sufficient.

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It’s raining lawsuits at the Weather Channelhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/its-raining-lawsuits-at-weather-channel.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/its-raining-lawsuits-at-weather-channel.html#commentsTue, 06 May 2008 17:29:30 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=51Hillary Andrews is mad, and she won’t take it anymore. The juicy details are still sealed, but The Smoking Gun has some titillating tidbits.

The cable news set has to be a sexual harassment nightmare. Mix total dweebs who were President of the Audio/Visual Club in elementary school, with uptight, Type-A, hotties and you get two tickets to the gun show.

]]>http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/its-raining-lawsuits-at-weather-channel.html/feed0Siblings are Strangehttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/siblings-are-strange.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/siblings-are-strange.html#commentsTue, 06 May 2008 16:13:27 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=48Pictured above is “Billy Beer,” brewed by former President Jimmy Carter’s
younger brother. In 1977, as Jimmy Carter was victorious in his
unlikely Presidential campaign, the press began to get wind of his odd
younger brother. Boorish and outlandish, Billy Carter soon gained
considerable attention. Capitalizing on his spotlight, Billy brewed his
own short-lived lager. After failing as a brewer and facing IRS fines,
the sitting President’s younger brother did something that, in
retrospect is shocking.
Credit
Billy for his sense of timing, shrewdly aware that he had only four
years to capitalize on his older brother’s office, his desperation
became apparent. In 3 visits to Libya for negotiations, Billy and a
group of business friends could have a chosen a less controversial
destination than a North African, socialist, Muslim country. Not
exactly like buying a flat in London, Billy registered as a foreign
agent and received a $220,000 loan. Senate hearings came and went
without any major fanfare and eventually the story floated away.

That
is until Bill Clinton took office and the world met Roger Clinton.
Bill’s half brother had already placed Bill in hot water when he was
arrested for cocaine possession in 1984 and spent one year in federal
prison. Roger couldn’t keep clean for Bill’s eight years, getting a DUI in 2001. Hardly a distraction, Bill managed to get himself into a sticky situation.

As
Roger and Billy have shown, siblings, while never important, can shed
some light on the candidate. Obama, McCain, and Hillary each have
siblings, some average Johns and Janes, some peculiar.

Barak Obama: half sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, nothing particularly insighful.

Hillary
Clinton: two younger brothers, Tony and Hugh Rodham. Hugh, received a
questionable payment of $400,000 for legal services rendered in
relation to Bill Clinton’s federal pardons. The transaction did not
break any laws, but was certainly unethical under the Rules of
Professionalism for attorneys. In the spirit of Billy, in 1999, Hugh
and brother Tony Rodham entered into a $118 million venture to grow and
export hazelnuts from the Republic of Georgia. Turns out their hazelnut
man was a political opponent of the sitting President of Georgia, a
U.S. buddy. Not exactly in the Muammar al-Gaddafi league, but odd still. Youngest brother Tony has found himself the most trouble, questionable pardon badgering, fights, and back child support.

John McCain: older sister Sandy, younger brother Joe. Sandy is a breast cancer survivor, something her brother takes seriously. Joe is a dinner theatre actor, who is rumored to have made a passionate, yet ominous speech in 2002.

]]>http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/siblings-are-strange.html/feed0Border Traffichttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/border-traffic.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/border-traffic.html#commentsTue, 06 May 2008 00:55:33 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=45As Rod the Bod knew full well, every picture tells a story. This image off
Google Maps shows the traffic heading into the U.S., as juxtaposed to
the empty lanes aimed towards Mexico.
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Lookin’ Fine in Yellerhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/lookin-fine-in-yeller.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/lookin-fine-in-yeller.html#commentsTue, 06 May 2008 00:52:08 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=42

Jessica Alba

Elizabeth Hurley

Kathy Ireland

]]>http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/lookin-fine-in-yeller.html/feed0Did Pete Rose see it coming?http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/did-pete-rose-see-it-coming.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/did-pete-rose-see-it-coming.html#commentsTue, 06 May 2008 00:34:27 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=38Pete Rose was banished from baseball for life in 1989 by then commissioner,
Bart Giamatti. Rose was widely believed to have bet on Reds games
during his time as manager. Denying such claims, Rose remained
ineligible for the Hall of Fame as baseball’s most famous pariah since
Shoeless Joe Jackson. After being repeatedly rebuffed in his attempts
at reinstatement, Rose finally came clean in 2004. Rose fessed up to
betting on the Reds, but never against them. Despite his tardy
admission, Rose remains banned. One wonders what really spurned him to
come clean in 2004. Rose has made no secret of his desire to manage
again, and more significantly, of his desire to be in the Hall of Fame,
a place he deserves to be based on statistics alone.

Maybe
Charlie Hustle foresaw the current steroid saga and believed if he
could clean his name first, perhaps his actions would seem tamer in due
time. As a baseball insider all his life, Rose was certainly aware of
the juicing in the game. He also would have been wise to the brewing
storm that was certain to rain unsavory headlines on papers coast to
coast. Always a calculating man, Rose knew that his sins were of a
different era. By coming clean before steroids reached the front page,
Rose benefits from presentism that renders his crimes forgettable,
until the next Ken Burns epic. This will unlikely save his Hall
candidacy, writers and fans are more offended by dishonesty than
suspicious biceps.

]]>http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/did-pete-rose-see-it-coming.html/feed0Indiana and North Carolinahttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/indiana-and-north-carolina.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/indiana-and-north-carolina.html#commentsMon, 05 May 2008 23:51:52 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=35Today the Democrats of Indiana and North Carolina will cast their
votes for their party’s candidate this fall. While most expect Obama to
take N.C., and Hillary to narrowly take Indiana, there have been too
many surprises along the way to count one’s chicks yet. If Obama
manages to win both states, the race would effectively be over. A
decisive victory in Indiana for Hillary would go a long way towards
showing the super delegates she is the stronger representative in the
national election.
Obama
clearly has the momentum, the money, the media idolatry, and most
importantly the charisma. Imagining an Obama victory, and its impact on
the Democratic Party is easy. The money will continue pile up as people
get caught up in the historic feel to his campaign. Obama will roll off
a string of stirring speeches and embark on a series of sit-down
interviews to open up about his life. Hopefully, he will pick a steady
hand for his V.P. to settle the nerves of all those Midwestern farmers
he typecast.

Imagining
a Hillary victory, and its impact on the Democratic Party raises
different concerns. Certainly financing and organization would not be
issues, as Hillary has all the quantifiable tools. What she doesn’t
have is the intangibles. The general like-ability of Obama, his pop culture appeal, and his bandwagon supporters. Much like Tiger Woods brought people into golf who were never before golf fans, Obama has done the same for politics.
One reality of this luxury for the P.G.A., is that when Tiger doesn’t
play, T.V. ratings plummet. If Hillary were to win, and Obama doesn’t
end up as her V.P., one has to wonder what would happen to his
bandwagon supporters. Would they vote for Hillary? Resent Hillary for
her attacks on Obama and vote for McCain? Or simply lose interest and
not vote at all?

]]>http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/indiana-and-north-carolina.html/feed0First Lady Laura Bushhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/first-lady-laura-bush.html
http://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/2008/05/first-lady-laura-bush.html#commentsMon, 05 May 2008 17:13:31 +0000johnhttp://www.smokingtreesinbelize.com/?p=32Today First Lady Laura Bush made a rare public statement with political
overtones. The First Lady has used her platform to promote education or
women’s health, yet remained quiet on wider ranging issues. Today Mrs. Bush called for Burma to accept U.S. aid after suffering catastrophic damage from a cyclone over the weekend. Under military control since 1962, the Burmese suffer from an oppressive, corrupt, and brutal junta.
This is an impressive and commendable moment in Laura Bush’s tenure as First Lady. She has been quietly supportive despite an unprecedented number of personal attacks
on the President in the last 8 years. Today she used her “bully pulpit”
to call for an indisputable good. Rarely does one consider a First Lady
to have any sort of “bully pulpit,” however, the current public opinion
of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue leaves her as the only affable face. Mrs.
Bush is the only figure in the White House with a positive approval
rating and has only days before her daughter’s wedding in Crawford.
Hopefully the Burmese will relent to western aid, this will at least
ease disaster, but do little for a country with so many problems.
According to the CIA Factbook, Burma is the world’s second largest
producer of illicit opium, a source country for sex trafficking, and
generally a horrible place to live. Haiti is better. A sad story of
colonialism, Haiti was the first Black republic to declare its
independence in 1804, yet has seen nothing but turmoil for 204 years
establishing it as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Tough
choice, I’d take Haiti, at least with a boat you can get to a decent
country.

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