Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Freedom of Religion

I was reading the newsstory in the New York Time about the high school in Georgia which introduced Chrisitan messages in the football games after 9/11. Recently the school district had to abandon that practice when threatened with a lawsuit about the separation of church and state, in this case, school sponsored activities which included football games.

Well, for one those kids misunderstood 9/11. It wasn't about religion. It was about the global economic power of some countries exemplified by the World Trade Center. Remember people from about 100 nations died, not just Americans. While espousing your religion for 9/11 is ok, it's incorrect and inaccurate to phrase the attack in terms of religion.

But that's a different issue. I want to talk about this example of where Christians view their faith and religion as the only religion in this country and to them the freedom of religion as embodied in the Constitution isn't about true freedom of religion but the Christian interpretation and values they think it represents.

And they couldn't be further from the truth. This country wasn't founded on Christian values but the freedom of religion to practice their faith not allowed in Europe. The Christian idea came later, but even then the founders of this country knew, even those they were Christians, that freedom of religion was fundamental. Any religion or faith.

The story made me wonder if someone held of a sign at the football game that read, "Freedom of Religion, Be a Taoist" would they let me stay and display the sign? Or Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Paganism, or whatever? Would they say that's my right and freedom of religion?

After all God is God, each reilgion defines it differently but it's still God. And if we question the existence of a God or more so, deny the existence of God, is that not our freedom too? Isn't that in the Constituion?

When these people focus on their Christianity, I think they have misplaced their sense of America and American values about all of us. It's not about just being Christian, but the freedom to choose and express our religion, whatever that is. That's what this country is about.

And Christians, of all faiths, should honor that, the right to choose and the acceptance of that choice. Or do they say non-Christians are real and don't believe in God? That's not what God and especially Jesus preached. That's not what's in the Bible, ot hate everyone you disagree with? That's not being Christian, but quite the opposite.

They need to relearn history, civics and Christian values, correct this time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Excuse me Mr. Cheney

I was reading of the speeches Dick Cheney, you know the former Vice President who sunk this nation into wars in two countries, one misunderstanding the facts, truth and reality behind 9/11 and one for his interest to promote the company (Haliburton) which he was CEO and refused to put his wealth in a trust during is terms in office essentially collecting his salary and the dividends from the company.

That Mr. Cheney, who with Mr. Bush, had 7 years to win the war in Afghanistan and didn't. He, as he criticizes President Obama for, "dithered" away time thinking about decisions, procrasting problems, and diverting resources, some of which were solely designated by Congress for Afghanistan, to Iraq. He fucked and sucked the war for 7 years, leaving a mess we can't fix.

That Mr. Cheney, who after leaving office is spreading unfounded and unnecesary fear about our effort there and now the effort in Iraq, which he hasn't noted that it's President Obama who is working to leave the country with a minimum force and bring the troops home, something he promised but didn't do.

That Mr.Cheney, who as VP, kept promising victory and never produced anything more than more deaths, injured and destruction. And a whole lot of money and profit for war companies. You see, he only wanted Haliburtion to get access to the oil fields and the natural gas pipleline which was supposed to be built through Iraq. He wasn't for America, for Americans, for the troops. He was only out for himself.

That Mr. Cheney, who is bitching now to anyone who will listen, for a fee of course. But no one wants to listen to him. We know the truth and the lies behing the White House decisions and marketing of the Iraq war, and he was the driving force. We know his attitude about the law, which he believed he was above and not accountable under it or to the American people. He was simply arrogant and wanted to create a presidential dictatorship.

That Mr. Cheney, who should find the nearest rock big enough to hide is sorry ass and hide. You had 7 years to find Osama bin Laden and you couldn't. You had 7 years to win the war in Afghanistan and you didn't. And now you don't have the right to second guess the President who is really trying to win the war in Afghanistan.

That Mr. Cheney. Excuse me Mr. Cheney, your taxi is waiting. Goodbye and don't call us, we'll call you, but then we don't know the number.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Congressional absurdity

I was reading Congress wants to pass the funding to provide the 57 million receipents of Social Security a one-time $250 check after announcing there will be no cost of living increase in the benefit entitlement for 2010, which is similar to federal government retirees not getting any increase too. All the while health insurance will go up 9-15% fro the same retirees. Talk about being screwed on both ends of the deal.

Anyway, almost all the Republicans and many conservative Democrats are balking at the one-time payout to the elderly, veterans and disabled, because it "would unduly increase the defiict by $13 Billion." Wow, like that's a lot of money too. But compared to the various government Stimulus plans for well over $2 Trillion ($1,000 Billion), and two wars now at $1 Trillion, and the Bush tax cuts (losing about $1 Trillion in revenue), and so on down the line.

That $13 Billion is chump change. And do they really want to piss off 57 million voters more than they are already pissed off losing money next year with not cost of living increase while the cost of everything goes up? Are they really that stupid? Well, apparently so, but I'll be damned if they find a way to explain it away during next year's re-election campaign.

And you can bet when it does come up for a vote in each house, there will be score keepers for the elderly noting who votes no. After all, those in Congress are already rich, so they're not worried about their income or retirment, only the idea of the taxpayers' money, except it's our money and we'd like to see it back in our pocket.

So, dear Congressional representatives, you have a choice. Be smart or be stupid, and if you can't figure out which is which, maybe you deserve to lose next year. So, if you're stupid and don't know the diference or stupid enough to vote no, then maybe you should try to live on the income of those who elected you for awhile, like the rest of your life. And then see how you would vote.

Thought police

I was reading the latest news on the work of hte FBI against terrorists and the latest arrest of individuals in a "terrorist" cell, see news story. I don't know of the facts of this case, but it strikes me like all the rest of the one the FBI has done, meaning in the end, it was all thought and worse the defedants were convicted of were criminal charges, except the blanket one, "providing material support to terrorists", which is so vague anyone could be convicted for accidently talking with a suspected terrorists.

I won't argue there is some truth in the indictment, but why is it that only Arab men are charged by the FBI with terrorism and their case made public? Where are the terrorism arrests and cases against non-Arab men? Why does the FBI use the word of Arab informants against those same terrorists, even members of their own group?

What terrorists can't tell the truth but informants can't lie?

Why does this make the FBI seem more and more like the thought police? Hollywood can make movies on terrorism, even hiring ex-FBI agents as consultants and disclose a lot of information about the infrastructure for real terrorists to use. Writers can published even move explicit books on terrorism and terrorists in this country. They can write the most elaborate plan and show how to make it work.

But a 16-year old high school student who was a legal immigrant, and by the way from Pakistan, was asked to write a story about a woman suicide bomber by her high school teacher. After the story was submitted another teacher found it and reported her to the FBI. She was deported, even though the evidence was on her side and it was just fiction. It was the fact her family was from Pakistan, obviously a known terrorist home, even for high school students here.

But a bunch, er. terrorist cell. of bumbling Arab men, almost always encouraged, trained, funded, arm, lead, etc. by undercover FBI agents, and suddenly their arrested for planning to attack America. Is the FBI saying our security system and the their "targets" are so lax that these guys could actually carry out their plan?

And what happened to just thinking out loud? If a gang of white guys took over a mall, as they alleged this Arabs of planing, would the FBI have called them terrorists and treated them the same as Arab men? Why don't I think they wouldn't, and they would just be called criminals?

If a fiction writer were to write the story of the FBI's terrorist sting operations, we would consider it absurd in the least, and comical in the worst. I'm all for the FBI, but I'm also all for keeping them honest, and more and more it seems they're focusing on arresting racial or ethnic groups for simply thinking and talking, much the same as we do or could, but the FBI considers them terrorists, but not us.

I would rather see the FBI work on catching real terrorists than creating them or inventing cases against them. In this country we're supposed to do something before it's a crime, but for Arab men, it's all about the thought of it. Conspiracy does have legal value in many cases, as we've all seen in the news. But with terrorism and Arab men, the FBI seems to have lost their common sense and their touch with reality.

But then again, I'm just thinking out loud again, and probably more wrong than right, but in this country, thinking and talking isn't a crime, unless of course something criminal actually happen using the information from those words, except of course if it's obviously just thoughts and talk, something the FBI seems to lose sight of these days.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The public option

The Washington Post reported today that the majority of Americans, you know the voters and taxpayers, want a public option overseen by the government, and a very clear majority want a simplified one for the underinsured and uninsured run the the states. And we're the one who elected the representatives in Congress and pay for the appropriation bills they pass and the President signs.

So, Congress what don't you understand? Your 500+ amendment bill to date should either scraped and rewritten or should be drastically revised. We have spoken. We want you to do what we want and not what the corporations who give you a lot of money want. It's not about them, it's about us, the American people.

We also want to you ensure no insurance can deny or reduce coverage for anyone, including those with pre-existing conditions, to cancel anyone insurance because their healthcare is costly, extensive or long. In short, the companies can only provide the insurance and premiums and let the people decide. It should be a market where there is choice, not empty promises and increasing costs and prices.

And once the person is enrolled with a health insurance company they should have rights to ensure their coverage won't be cancelled, won't be denied, the premiums won't be increased different than others (essentially driving them out of the company), and the company won't change coverage more than once a year. And they want a independent process to address denials of coverage, premiums increase above the cost of living or within reasonable expectation, and complaints with undue lengthy claim processing.

That's not unreasonable and would be allow the insurance companies to profit.

There ways to simplify the healthcare reform bill. You don't need a lot of pages. You don't need 500+ amendments. You simply provide the language with define what people can expect for their insurance and from insurance companies, and the basic framework health insurance companies have to work under to offer insurance in this country. Many states are already doing this with insurance (oversight) committees and commissioner(s).

It's not unreasonable to expect the federal government to set a minimum national standard and provide rights and protections for the insured and incentives for the companies to follow the rules and be reasonably profitable. All you have to do is simplify the bill to the minimum and restrict anything beyond it without authorization from Congress.

That's not rocket science. And it's not politics. It's about the American people and American families. Nothing less will do.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nothing really changes

Reading the Sunday newspapers, it's why nothing really changes and all we get from Washington DC is more of the same. The same politics, the same rhetoric, the same partisanism, and now the same non-public transparency, or really the same closed door, private meetings between the President, and his staff, and members of Congress. The last thing they want the American public to know is the truth of what they're doing.

We've seen this from President Obama on terrorism, just more of the same Bush policies rewritten to sound less offensive to the public and the world, but really the continuation of the past of American arrogance and indifference to the world's view of us. And forget the Geneva Convention. Yes, he has promised to close the CIA secret prisons, and close Gitmo, and treat those "captured"in war, meaning captured or kidnapped elswhere and not the actual battlefield let alone the war zone, under the rule of law.

But then he had to appease the right wing conservatives and still call and treat them as terrorists. Yet, only about 10-15% are actually terrorists and most of those are incidental players, and only about 2-3% are real serious terrorists. And now we can fnd homes for them anywhere else. They're branded and they lives gone, and what do we have to show for it. Nothing, but then we already knew that, it was all show.

And now we're seeing the President shelve his public transparency idea and negotiate a healthcare reform bill behind closed doors. In an effort to get a bill, they'll produce a bad bill before they decide to call it quits. And then praise themselves for saving healthcare and health insurance. Ok, some of it will be good, but I'll bet starting in 2-3 years the problems and failures of any bill will become apparent.

And in 3-5 years will have to revisit the issue and nothing will have changed and some things, premiums for example and the number of under insured and uninsured for another, will have gotten worse. And the cost of healthcare will still rise as it always has. There are good models to use, the state of Hawaii for example and Europe for another. But that's socialism to the Republicans and many Democrats.

It's better, cheaper and provide more healthcare to more people without losing the benefits for all. It works. But the President won't begin to talk about real solutions for healthcare, insurance and costs because it would offend almost every Republican and some Democrats. It's not about the American people, what's best for them, and about the Nation, what's good for it, but about politics and money, money for corporations.

And we know now the healthcare industry and health insurance companies are already prepared for healthcare and health insurance reform, after all they know everything in it already. It's why they own Congress, to ensure they're not only not hurt but they continue to profit and now profit more with our money, our taxes paid in subsidies, offsets, etc. and our premiums. We've seen they've already raised premiums ahead of any law.

And in the end the American public we'll get screwed, because I'll bet they'll still find a way to deny healthcare and health insurance for many people around the law requiring them to accept everyone and cover everything. They're smarter and quicker than Congress and obvious way smarter than the President. They don't have to play politics and they're not answerable if Congress doesn't want.

It will be dumped on the states, where many are proactive and vigilant with the health insurance carriers. While Congress and the Presiden tout their success, will have to live with their failures.

And we we've seen it with President Obama's push to renew the Patriot Act, preferably as it was which was worse than the first one. He's learned you don't give up power once you have it, no matter how you got it, illegally or through Congress. It's power over the American people, total intrusion into our lives and even our privacy. He wants to keep that except he can't prove it's worked in the past, is necessary and will work in the future.

He's learned you sing the song of terrorism and fear. You make the American public afraid. George Bush, er. Cheney, learned this, something we've never done. We've always stood tall and defied any enemy. And now we're afraid of small groups of terrorists. Becuase they succeeded once.

It didn't matter we helped cause this with a free and degegulated airline industry, a lax FBI which had all the information, and even a lax White House who also had all the information and warnings. It was citizens which brought down the fourth plane, not law enforcement, the military or the system. Ordinary people.

And now he's reniging on helping retirees. He said no increase in Social Security next year. And at best only a 2% and mabye a 0% increase in federal employees annuity. All the while health insurance for the former will increase before the new year for those the Medicare supplemental insurance and will increase 9-12% for federal retirees. And the normal cost of living increases over the year (2010) and we lose somewhere between 15-20% in real money.

They say it's because of the deficit. Bullshit. It's because Congress and the President has added $3-4 Trillion to the national debt for everything else, and mostly corporations and companies in various stimulus packages. And yet the won't extend unemployment benefits for the same reason. The deficit.

Add the Bush tax cuts and the American people are on the hook for $5-6 Trillion in the last few years on top of the previous national debt. But help those same people. Not in their plans, except maybe in a year to help their re-election. Well I got news for them. They screwed themselves there.

We'll remember this year and what they did. We'll remember nothing really changed despite all their words and promises. We'll remember they left us along side the road over our homes, our health insurance, our jobs, our expenses. and everything else in our lives. All the while corporations got richer and CEO and managers richer still.

We'll remember that. And we'll vote what we remember.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Healthcare Reform

I listened to and read some news stories and the typical pundits yesterday about the current state of the healthcare reform legislation. And granted there are several bills in the Senate and House, each which have to be combined and reconciled for a floor vote. And then the two different versions will be negotiated in the conference commitee. All this before President Obama gets to peek under the covers of the bill.

I have no doubt the White House knows the bills and all the amendments. But here is where I part company with the President and Congress now. There has been so much noise about this work, it's time to do one of two things. First, trim them down to the minimalist measures which focuses on the greatest needs of the healthcare problem. Or second, just let it go. Dump it all in the history trash can and walk away for a few years.

This is a case where hindsight may prove the better choice here. And yes, the problem will worsen, but it doesn't mean Congress can't address some of those with selected legislation. I say this because the bill will be so bloated and convulted no one will really knows what it means and what the impact will be, and we know it will take another 2-3 years to implement all the measures in the bill.

So, it's time to just quit. Right now. Congress has managed to piss off everyone, now including myself who, blindly, thought my health insurance was immune from change beyond what it normally does. But I learned it's now open to massive changes which will make it more expensive and give insurance companies complete control over it and even deny or cancel it. I want it kept within the oversight of the program's government agency.

If anything in the bill touches it, I will lose. And I don't want that. And I know most Americans are already afraid the same will happen to their health insurance, which we're already seeing as companies raise rates and change coverage in anticipation of new rules and mandates. They're smarter and quicker than Congress.

So, it's time to just quit. Right now. And not inflict more and worse damage on the American people who already have health insurance. As for the underinsured and uninsured, maybe Congress can find new ways and new programs to help, but not at the risk of any existing programs or plans. Focus on that, and they'll be fine.

It's time to focus on more important matters. And to President Obama, you have another three-plus years to get healthcare reform, relax you have time and you won't risk the 2010 elections for the Democrats and your 2012 re-election campaign so early in your term of office.

So, to Congress, just quit. Box it all up and put it in some warehouse as a memory of something tried and lessons learned. That's because no bill is better than a bad bill. You've been down that road too often, and this one will certainly piss of everyone. This way you can try again with the advantage of hindsight.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dear Democrats

Alas, with the work on healthcare and health insurance reform you have shown your true colors. And we're finding you're really not much different from the Republicans in that in the end you really don't care about the American people, us ordinary folks living normal lives trying to survive and just maybe, ever so slowly, prosper. We had hints with the various stimulus packages aimed at, and reeally for, the financial industry, the mortage industry, and a host of companies. All as you said, to help the economy and save or create jobs.

Except it hasn't and it won't do much for real people for awhile, but it will make the industries very rich and profitable. Yes, you're a Republican in Democratic clothes. Some of the financial companies are making real profits because we, the taxpayer through your efforts, bought their toxic assests and debts. We now will lose that money instead of them. All thanks to you.

And you helped the mortage industry stay afloat and now profit but you haven't really helped the home owner outside of a few laws you think would protect their home, but really ensure the loan industry isn't burdened with a glut of foreclosed homes from failed mortages and bankrupcies. You didn't give the home buyer enough rights to stand on their own but you gave the mortage industry the power to continue, and even profit, financially.

And now we expect something different over healthcare reform? So how many companies in the healthcare and health insurance industry have contributed to your campaigns and continue to provide information and financial support through lobbyists?

And how much have the given you to ensure you won't screw them and even make the profitable?

How many times have you met and talked with their lobbyists?

How many times have to asked them or presented draft amendments to them to review for inclusion under your name?

How many times have you accepted their information as fact to support your view, which is really their view and not asked nonpartician organizations for the same treatment?

Huh? Or is this off-limits to the public to know how much you're in their pocket despite the fact we elected you?

Cruel or harsh? Probably? Truthful? Some and maybe even much. But the fact remains, in the end, it's the individual and family who will have to pay the price and premium, and there is no study to date which has addressed healthcare and health insurance reform that even suggests our costs will at best stay level and our coverage will improve.

All you talk about is money. But not our money, the budget we live on every month.

And now I know where you stand on government employees, especially retirees. You are freezing our annual cola while our insturance premiums will go up 9-12% in January 2010. Is that what you call support? Is that what you say will help us?

And now I know you're planning to undo the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) plan and program. It is the best model for other plans but you decided we should be the sacrificial lamb for the public option. That's sucks and you know. It screws us while making political gain for you.

Why? Because your staff, which is currently covered under FEHB as federal employess, wants to have the same health insurance when they leave, but will lose this coverage since they won't be federal employees. So to help a few thousand staffers you're going to screw 8+ million active and retired permanent federal employees and our health insurance.

So, what does it all mean? Well, to me, I guarantee you that if anything in the healthcare reform act touches the FEHB I will quit being a Democrat, something I've been for about 40 years. I won't go Republican on you, but you can bet I will work against everything you do, every Senator and Representative who voted for the Act, and make a lot of noise about your lack of support of and for Americans.

You can bet on that, because You screw with my health insurance and I will let you and everyone who will listen what you did. I have to live with my health insurance and plan, and pay the premiums for the rest of my life, barring you undo it so much they deny or remove me for some reason or another or price themselves out of my range.

You don't have the worry. You can afford any plan and program you want. You get the best healthcare for being in Congress. And we have to live with what we can afford and choose. And if you make it worse, I hope you lose your next election, because you can bet I'll speak out against you. I won't support your opponent, but you won't have me to pander to for money, support and my vote.

And yes, I'm just one person, one voice and one vote, little to fear from or about me. But I can try. And I will tell the world what you really are and are for. And that's not for America or American, just your wallet. So that's the deal, fuck with the FEHB and I'll raise my voice against you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Republican good ideas

Kinda' an oxymoron in many ways. Don't worry, the Democrats are about the same with many of their ideas, except at least sometimes they have their heart in the right place. And there are some good Republicans, but you'll have to give me a minute to think of some. Kidding again. My point here?

The Republicans have long lauded the free marketplace as the answer to everything. The great idea of capitalism. Except it's not free and it's certainly isn't unimeded capitalism. But to the Republicans in Congress offering healthcare reform packages without any public or similar option citing the advantages of the healthcare industry and corporations to solve the problem, I have a response.

The very same free market is what got us here now. It's what created the healthcare mess and what has given American the most expense healthcare system in the world for less than good performance. When you maximize profit in the name of workers, patients, care, costs, etc, then you get what you expect, what we have now.

So you think a better market will induce the corporations to be noble and humane? Well, we're not stupid. They won't change and in fact, they've bought almost every member of the Senate to ensure they'll not only survive, but profit more, even with more government money helping. You know that and don't want to admit it.

And so now you ask us to trust you with a market-based healthcare reform package you "guarrantee" will work, except you can't guarrantee every American and every American family will have good affordable health insurance. Can you do that? Do you really expect the health insurance companies to do that?

Or have you quietly snuck in provisions pushing them to what they use now, public assistance and hospitals mandated to provide healthcare for uninsured? That's your idea of the market at work, jettison the underinsured and uninsured to us, the taxpayer, which you can then criticize for not working let alone being profitable?

The public has heard nothing but fear mongering from you about the public option being a socialist government takeover the healthcare system. You knew then and know now that's false and you're wrong. And you failed to note Canada and every major country in Europe has public healthcare which works as well if not better than ours. You knew then and know now that's true.

And yet you kept the fear mongering up, scaring Americans, especially the elderly on Medicare, they'll lose their coverage to a government bureaucrat, like they already have with Medicare. And you have proposed cuts to Medicare at the same time. Talk about speaking out of both side your mouth. You lied on both sides.

So, do you really have good ideas or just what the healthcare industry and corporations tell you are good ideas? Do you really want to know what it's like for many Americans, now about 20+% of them who are under insured or worse uninsured and forced to use emergency rooms and public assistance programs?

Maybe you should live like they do and face the same issues and problems? After all you have an excellent affordable government-assisted paid health insurance. Or do you forget to mention that in your message? You get what you criticize and don't want Americans to have.

And we're expected to believe anything you say?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

On-line Newspapers

What's with them? Ok, I read a few of them, namely because either I'm too lazy to buy or subscribe to the paper every day or because they're not available locally. I know I've ranted or vented before about them, but the local, Tacoma and Seattle, ones (3, Tacoma News Tribune, Seattle PI and Seattle Times), really suck. I don't mean kinda' suck, but really suck, pure visual overkill.

It's like they're addicted to filling every space and more on a Web page with something, some news story, images, ads, etc., and they're long, The Seattle Times is 5+ page (1024 length x 900 width) scrolls of stuff, and the other two are 3+ page scrolls of stuff. Give the reader a break. It's like they want you to take up residence on the home page for hours or something, reading and following all the links.

But the problem is that 80-90% of the news is repackaged news from other sources. None of the three have reporters beyond the Puget Sound excepting some in New York or DC, but mostly travelling there. The Seattle PI simply shut down all news operations except local and state news when they went to an non-paper on-line format after closing down.

So what are they good for? Well, local news, government, events, arts, sports, etc., the stuff you expect. After that, they're a waste of time and space when you can get the news from the source or from better news Websites. And the sad reality is that none do what I expect, offer a daily version with just the news duplicated in the print edition. All major newspapers do it except USA Today, and that's another rant.

So it's impossible to sort out what really news, like today, or just something kept on-line. It's why it's called a daily newspaper, like they can't duplicate that with the links to the stories. The New York Times and Washington Post do it for free (probably subscription in the future like the Wall Street Journal). Those on-line papers are clear and easy to navigate and read both today's news and sections.

But the local ones just want to bludgeon your eyes and mind to death. No wonder Google has a good customer base for the daily alert e-mails for specific searches. I use it for "Mount Rainier National Park" and get through all the hype, crap and junk of the on-line newspapers. Try searching that on their Websites every day. Whew!!

Anyway, I'm done, and more or less done with them, unless it's a specific topic or issue. Otherwise, I'll buy the daily paper, maybe. Ok, Sundays for sure, but then that issue is geting sparse for the price. And some of the other days are only worth it for the pullout section.

And if they bitch about losing customers, so be it (although the Seattle Times is now profitable when it picked up half the former PI readers by picking up some of their sections and comics and moving to the center right instead of middle to far right editorially). It's not hard noticing the print editions are half their size a year or so ago and costing half gain more.

I'm waiting for the day they all go to non-paper on-line only versions with subscription. It's the model that seems to work for those who use it (eg. Wall Street Journal). It's about the repeat customer, you want them coming back and you want new customers. That takes reinvention and innovation, obviously lacking with the local on-line newspapers.

You have to create some degree of uniqueness which the customer wants. It's why the Christian Science Monitor and Wall Street Journal have additional services for a subscription. And you have to create ease of navigation, both reading and searching the Website. What good is a newspaper you can't find the news?

So, while I may read the print edition of the Seattle Times once or twice a week, they, and the new on-line only Seattle PI, can park their Websites as far as I'm concerned. I'll get my news from the other newspapers and use Google's news search engine.