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About Jack

Jack is really a storyteller, international explorer, and humanitarian and everything else rolls out from there. As a writer, its what he does.  As a trial lawyer, its his most important tool.  As a former CIA officer, the only way to truly motivate people is to connect and to tell them a story that they can feel viscerally.  As a media analyst, what better way to make a point.  In the end, he tries to captivate his audience about the world and its people as much as he himself is captivated. 

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Thursday
Dec222005

The War on Christmas Continues

It used to decorate Memorial Park, on Main Street in lovely downtown Melrose. The colorful Nativity scene was a common sight, but not anymore. Now, out of fear of religious symbols on public property and the fear of lawsuits, these symbols are dissappearing.

I understand that tolerance requires us to consider and allow others to voice their opinions and to display their beliefs. If that is true, than isn't it equally true that those who want the Nativity scene should have the right to see one.

Have we lost our backbone when it comes to our beliefs, whatever those beliefs are? Doesn't inclusiveness mean allowing you to believe what you want to believe while at the same time allowing me to believe what I want to believe?

Of course, like many topics we discuss, it is never that simple. The Nativity scene in Melrose was simply moved down to the local church. So now if you want to see it, go to the religious site where it is.

Aren't we better off keeping God and religion off of the public square? Or is that the best place for it?

We will take your calls on The Jack Rice Show at 651-989-9226 or 1-800-327-8255 or leave comments below.
Wednesday
Dec212005

O' Where O' has My Little $400 Million Gone?

Governor Tim Pawlenty expected to raise almost $400 million for the state from a 75-cent-a-cirgarette pack fee. Well, a Ramsey County judge may have sent that plan up in smoke.

Ramsey County Judge Michael Fetsch tossed out the fee, saying it violated the 1998 settlement with the tobacco industry.


According to the Department of Revenue, $65 million has already been generated. On average, the fee was expected to bring in an average of $16 million to $18 million a month. And now, that month may have to be returned. But to whom?

As I recall, the big fight originally was over the word fee or tax. If this had been titled what it was, a tax on smokers, rather than a fee on the tobacco industry, then would we be in this mess?

Who is supposed to keep an eye on this stuff? Who is responsible? Do we blame the Governor? The judge? The legislature? Ourselves?

And ultimately, where do we find the $400 million that is now missing from the budget.

We will be taking your calls on The Jack Rice Show, 651-989-9226 or 1-800-327-8255 or leave your comments below.
Tuesday
Dec202005

What Would Make You Go on Strike?

New York City Transit Workers went on strike today. As a result, the nation's largest mass transit system, with some 7 million riders, has come to a sreaming halt. According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the strike may cost the city as much as $400 million a day.

And yet, both sides, the city and the Transit Workers Union have refused to budge.

Looking at the nation's economy and the job market, what would make you go on strike? Would you willingly go on strike for better wages and better benefits? Would you go on strike to stay the same? How about if the only offer was for pay cuts and cuts in benefits?

Think about Northwest Airlines.

With these questions in mind, many of us feel powerless to act. We are at the mercy of our employers and just feel thankful to have jobs. How did we get to this point?

And yet, unions are on the decline and government has continued to support owners and management over the union worker. So, what do you do? If someone will always take your job at a lower rate, and they will, does that mean we are all destined to live in huts and eat the scraps that are given to us?

We take your calls on The Jack Rice Show, 651-989-9226 or 1-800-327-8255 or leave your comments below.
Monday
Dec192005

Is it for a Good Cause or a Backdoor into Heaven?

Money and religion, sadly, seem to go hand in hand. Or do they?

At Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in St. Paul, they are doing a fundraiser and for about $1,000 per pew, the wealthy can buy the divine luxury of a reserved seat or pew at the standing room only Christmas Eve service.

Parishioners have debated the annual auction of front row pews being reserved for Christmas Eve themsevles. Now it is our turn.

All of the money raised goes to Nativity's elementary school. This is certainly a good and just cause. But is it good and just?

Is this fair? Is this right? Or is this just another example of buying your way into heaven? Or holding yourself up in front of your peers as being more godly?

We will take your calls today on The Jack Rice Show, 651-989-9226 or 1-800-327-8255 or leave comments below.
Friday
Dec162005

Jack on MSNBC to Debate the Vikings Scandal

Tonight, Jack will join Joe Scarborough on Scarborough Country to update the country on the Vikings scandal. Jack will debate whether the charges are overblown or whether Vikings Daunte, Mo, Fred and Bryant are getting a free pass.

Look are realize that there are far more important things going on in the world. More than 2100 Amiercan service people are dead in Iraq, not to mention more than 30,000 Iraqis. I know that worldwide more than 40 million people have AIDS and some 3million alone died in the last year. Heck, 48 people were murdered this year in the city of Minneapolis alone. All of this is far more imporant. However, to say that character means nothing? I can't go along with that.

I think that a lot of the problems in this world are do to lack of character. I think that for some, winning isn't everything, it is the only thing. That's as true in sports as it is in anything else.
Thursday
Dec152005

Iraqis Vote


In the United States, very few of us vote. Very few of us bother to dig through the mountains of leaflets, pamphlets or other literature to figure out who the best people running for office and make our voives heard.

If it rains? If it snows? If we're tired? If we're sick. Forget about it!

You can believe that President Bush believed in WMD, was motivated by a belief in helping the Iraqi people and should win the Nobel Peace Prize. Or you can believe that it was all about oil, money, lies and the President avenging his father.

Either way, when people threaten to kill you and your children, and you still vote, that is inspiring.

Today, the Iraqi people are voting for the first time for a parliament since the United States removed Saddam Hussein from power. 15 million are eligible to vote. How many actually appear is something everybody is watching very closely.
Tuesday
Dec132005

Abu Ghraib Commanding General Joins the Program


General Janis Karpinski holds the distinction of being both the highest ranking officer in charge of the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq and the highest ranking officer to be disciplined as a result of the scandal.

The resulting damage from the torture is still being felt in Iraq and across the Muslim world. When this story broke, I described the pictures and stories and the most effective recruiting tools for Al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgency that they could have hoped for.

When the story broke, the American people were told it was just a couple of rogue soldiers. Was that the case? What really happened?

General Karpinski was on the ground a total of four months once the story broke. To make matters worse, she did not have complete control of Abu Ghraib prison. If her superior ordered her to relinquish control of the cell block in which the torture took place to another, then why was she disciplined? Was she the proverbial "fall guy" or is it "fall gal", or is that the point? Why didn't the discipline go further up the chain of command? Why didn't it extend to the civilian leadership? Should it have?

She joins the program on December 14th to discuss her career, her responsibilities upon arriving in Iraq, what she knew, what she didn't, and who was truly, ultimately responsible.

Join the conversation on The Jack Rice Show, 651-989-9226 or 1-800-327-8255 or leave comments below.
Tuesday
Dec132005

Tookie Williams is Dead

Convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams, co-founder of the Crips gang, was put to death at 12:35 a.m. on December 13th at San Quentin State Prison.

Williams was condemned to death in 1981 for murdering Albert Owens, 26, a 7-11 convenience store clerk in Whittier and Yen-I-Yang, 76, Tsai-Shair-Chen Yang, 63 and Yu-Chin Yang Lin, 43, at the Los Angeles motel they owned.

His execution, the highest profile in recent decades, has spurred the debate as to whether capital punishment is appropriate. Both sides have weighed in on this issue. One focusing on the barbarism of the crime. The other, the barbarism of the punishment.

I have walked the streets of central L.A. I have walked the streets of North Long Beach. I have seen the devastation that has resulted from gang violence, from the Crips. I have looked into the eyes of poor people who live in these places but don't have the resources to live anywhere else.

This is the fallout of gang violence.

Whether the death penalty will solve anything depends upon who you ask. Studies have shown that it doesn't stop people from killing other people. But maybe, it makes the families of those left to pick up the pieces feel a little better. Maybe it provides a little closure. But is more death the answer? I don't know . . .

I guess it is easy to say ban it when I've never had to bury somebody who has been murdered. I just remember looking into the scared eyes of an old African American woman in central L.A. near dusk when she said, "Honey, you better get out of here. Its not safe when the gangs come out, especially for a white boy like you."

Sadly, it is not safe there or in other major cities across this country, whether your white or not.
Monday
Dec122005

Iraq: The Birthplace of Democracy or the Vietnam of the Middle East?

Patients, prisoners and soldiers began voting in Parliamentary elections in Iraq, several days before the general populace has the right to begin voting. Violence has increased in the wake of the voting, killing twelve at the time of this writing.

In order to control the violence, the government with the support of American troops has closed the borders and extended curfews. They have also limited travel across the country starting tomorrow.

American officials hope that a new Parliament can stop the violence and slow the Sunni dominated insurgency that killed hundreds of Coalition personnel and thousands of Iraqis in recent months. The difficulty is that the fragile balance between the multiple ethnic groups could break the country into pieces, specifically amongst the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis.

The 275 member assembly will be the first full-term parliament since American troops removed Saddam Hussein from power.

In a new ABC News poll, a majority of Iraqis themselves want US forces to leave Iraq but are still optmistic about their poersonal lives and future. More than 2/3 of those surveyed opposed the presence of coalition troops and less than half, 44% feel there country is better now than before the invasion.

Today, President Bush gave a speech in Philadelphia in which he compared the Iraqis and their circumstances to that of our founding fathers. Of course, this provides great symbolism and motivates many to continue supporting the Administration's policies. However, is it a fair comparison?

Some have seen it this way.

We beat the British. The British fled. We established our own government. In contrast, the Iraqis lost their war. The invading army, us, did not flee. We stayed and have continued to occupy their country. And did we not set up the ground rules as to how they would vote?

Do you believe Iraq will be the birthplace of democracy in the Middle East? Do the circumstances on the ground change the likelyhood for success?

We take your call on The Jack Rice Show, 651-989-9226 or 1-800-327-8255 or leave comments below.
Friday
Dec092005

DWI Convict Charged Again - What Next!


Erwin Cook, 41, just released from prison for driving drunk and killing a young woman back in 2000, was just arrested again. This time, for felony DWI and felony fleeing. However, luckily, at least, nobody was killed.

According to the police reports, the man was driving a stolen car and was chased for miles before he was stopped and was allegedly drunk. He was allegedly driving the wrong way down highway 35W and refused to stop even after the cops rammed his car three different times. He also failed to turn on his headlights at 2:45 in the morning. When officers tried to stop him, he reached speeds of 95 miles per hour.

Cook had previous DWI convictions from 1987, 1990, 1996 and 1997.

At this point, the most Cook can receive is 7 years for this DWI plus two years left on this parole.

We talk about putting rapists and child molestors in prison or in mental facilities for life because we are afraid that they will re-offend. Well, isn't this more true for drunks behind the wheel of cars? Even more true, don't drunks cause more harm to society and don't we need to do even more to protect ourselves than we do agasint the rapists and child molestors? Or are we more afriad of the rapist? Is it reasonable?

We take your calls and comments on The Jack Rice Show. 651-989-9226 or 1-800-327-8255 or leave comments below.