Memoir in six words

Memoir in six words


Lynn Marie -- 11:53 am Pacific Time -- Feb 26, 2008 -- #2 of 65

Failure was apparently an option here.

Timothy -- 12:56 pm Pacific Time -- Feb 26, 2008 -- #6 of 65

Crawl, step, run, step, crawl, lay.

Jared2 -- 01:29 pm Pacific Time -- Feb 26, 2008 -- #7 of 65

Broke. Payday. Broke. Payday. Broke. Payday ...

comixchik -- 02:22 pm Pacific Time -- Feb 26, 2008 -- #8 of 65

Didn't do what I should have.

Bone Daddy -- 02:59 pm Pacific Time -- Feb 26, 2008 -- #9 of 65

Quite often confused; was never satisfied.

Mine: to me, to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21)

  1. We are having an unknown number of young adults by from 10 til noon for ministry planning. I think perhaps a dozen
  2. The Iomega drive I bought was a bust. It is not compatible with the Apple Airport Express. I have a RMA and will ship back tomorrow.
  3. Cold no worse ... but no better (six words!). Tired, am going to bed now (6)!

The claims of Christ: Confronting Indifference

Confronting Indifference

Comment: The claims of Christ intended to confront modern-day epidemic of indifference!

NAFTA is not the enemy!

Our view on free trade: Bashing NAFTA misses real reason for factory job losses


That force has been the unprecedented and sweeping gains in worker productivity that have allowed U.S. companies to churn out more goods with fewer people. Some of this has come from outsourcing the most labor-intensive parts of manufacturing, particularly to Asia. But much of it is from the use of more automated systems for assembly lines and high-tech inventory management.

Put another way, the main job killer of the past 14 years has not been the "giant sucking sound" of jobs going to Mexico, as enunciated by Ross Perot. Rather it has been that giant humming sound of machines replacing humans.

Overall, this increased productivity has led to rising living standards and made the American economy more competitive. It has also left some people behind at a cost of considerable personal pain.

But to make NAFTA a centerpiece of the debate over the manufacturing economy is cheap pandering. Modifying or scrapping NAFTA wouldn't create jobs or more skilled workers. The idea raises false hope and seeks to scapegoat Mexico and Canada.

The only real answer to the problem of declining employment in manufacturing lies in educating younger workers and retraining older ones. This is, to be sure, a big challenge and a tough sell politically. American schools continue to underperform, particularly in technical knowledge. And most federal retraining programs have failed.

Comment: Re "retraining": I've been retraining for my entire 40+ years in the workforce! I'm doing stuff today that was unthought of in 1967: Sharepoint, Cold Fusion, SQL Server 2005, HTML, CSS, SQL, XML, etc. As a free-trader, NAFTA is not the enemy!

Relying more on plastic for necessities

More Americans using credit cards to stay afloat


Across the nation, credit counselors are reporting the same trend. Credit bureau analyses of consumer payment data show that financially squeezed borrowers have begun paying their credit card and car bills before their mortgages. That's a striking reversal from the norm, one that reflects rising desperation. It suggests that some people essentially have given up trying to stay current with their mortgages and instead are focused on using credit cards to squeak by.

If the trend persists, many economists say, it could accelerate mortgage losses and further drag down the economy.

Comment: Not good news for housing!

Microsoft: even your "junk" is "Vista Capable"

Microsoft cuts price for boxed Vista - Executive: Company 'botched' marketing of computers as 'Vista Capable'


A federal judge recently said consumers could pursue a class action suit against Microsoft for labeling PCs as "Vista Capable," even though many were not powerful enough to run all of Vista's features, including the Aero interface.

Company e-mails produced in court chronicle Microsoft settling on a plan to market a wide range of XP-based PCs as "Vista Capable" after company officials realized in early 2006 that 30 percent or fewer of computers on the market could run the full-fledged version of Vista with Aero.

That realization apparently caused computer makers like Dell Inc. to worry that people would stop buying PCs for almost a year — until Vista launched.

The e-mails also showed Microsoft lowering the bar for "Vista Capable" to protect Intel Corp.'s sales of some widely used chips that weren't powerful enough for the full Vista experience.

Microsoft employee Anantha Kancherla was particularly blunt in his March 2006 response to a question about whether a certain PC configuration would be considered "Vista Capable."

Based on objective criteria that exist today for "capable," even a piece of junk will qualify," he wrote. "For the sake of Vista customers, it will be a complete tragedy if we allowed it."

According to the e-mails, Jim Allchin, the executive in charge of Windows at the time, wasn't involved in the decision to brand a wide swath of XP computers as "Vista Capable."

Upon learning the details, Allchin wrote, "We really botched this.

Comment: I'm amazed that even a 1 gigabyte MacBook runs Leopard so well (recently purchased for my spouse!). Leopard has it all over Vista (I am keyboarding this from a 2 gig Vista workstation!) in performance and look and feel. Some PC/LAN engineers (that I know) suggest that 4 gig or 8 gig is necessary to for decent Vista performance. Meanwhile look for Windows XP SP3. With XP such a stable operating system, why move up to Vista?!


Walking with crutches, I have this GIANT fear of falling. I've fallen so many times ... I cannot count. Last Summer I fell in our home and cracked my head.

Last night we had to walk about 4 blocks outside from the parking ramp to the Orpheum theater. Oh was it slippery. I took baby steps and walked as close to the side of the buildings (less snow) as I could. On top of the light snow last night there was some freezing rain. On the way out of the Orpheum, the pavement was like a rink. Additionally it was jammed with people exiting the theater. I was so scared of falling, that I told Kathee to go get the car and I would wait for her there. But she coaxed me to continue and we made it back to the garage safely!

So I am thanking the Lord today for His hand of safety!

Psalm 17:5, "Uphold my steps in Your paths, That my footsteps may not slip"

Financial non-commitment: "You Walk Away"

Facing Default, Some Walk Out on New Homes


Last year the median down payment on home purchases was 9 percent, down from 20 percent in 1989, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. Twenty-nine percent of buyers put no money down. For first-time home buyers, the median was 2 percent. And many borrowed more than the price of the home in order to cover closing costs.

“I think I could make a case that some borrowers were ‘renting’ (with risk), rather than owning,” Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, said in an e-mail message.

For some people, then, foreclosure becomes something akin to eviction — a traumatic event, and a blow to one’s credit record, but not one that involves loss of life savings or of years spent scrimping to buy the home.

“There certainly appears to be more willingness on the part of borrowers to walk away from mortgages,” said John Mechem, spokesman for the Mortgage Bankers Association, who noted that in the past, many would try to save their homes.

Comment: The housing market would stabilize if we returned to the standard of 20% down! The You Walk Away website!


Fun stuff at work

My manager gifted me with some neat new tools.

  1. A CablesToGo KVM switch (photo)
  2. A Dell Optiplex GX620

I'm a little spoiled with PCs at work as I have a Thinkpad running XP and a HP 7700 running Vista.

In December and January I converted my company Intranet site from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005. The old management tools (Enterprise Manager) would not work with SQL Server 2005 and when I tried to install the new 2005 tools (Management Studio), the install failed. I petitioned my manager to provide a new (it's not really new but it is servicable) PC just for Cold Fusion development. Last Friday I imaged the GX620 with XP. A co-worker did all the cableing. Today I installed Cold Fusion V 8, and the SQL Server 2005 Management Studio. I copied my local (development) website onto a thumbdrive ported it over to the GX620. All of this today took about 3 hours! But it is all done and it worked first time.

Next week I am going to reimage my ThinkPad with the latest XP image. I have another wiring project to complete as well. My cubical only has 2 data ports. Now the GX620 is connected via a 50' cable to a cubical adjacent to mine. Next week, 2 more data ports will be installed in my cubical. The KVM switch enables push button (think an old Chysler push button transmission!) switching between PCs. Very cool.

Thank you boss!

The Bear and the Atheist

An atheist was walking through the woods.
'What majestic trees'!
'What powerful rivers'!
'What beautiful animals'!
He said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river,

he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him.

He turned to look.

He saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him.

He ran as fast as he could up the path.
He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him.

He looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer.
He tripped & fell on the ground.
He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw & raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the Atheist cried out, 'Oh my God!'

Time Stopped.
The bear froze.The forest was silent.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.
'You deny my existence for all these years,
teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident.'
'Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament?

Am I to count you as a believer'?
The atheist looked directly into the light,
'It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly

ask you to treat me as a Christian now,
but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian'?

'Very Well,' said the voice.

The light went out.

The sounds of the forest resumed.
And the bear dropped his right paw,
brought both paws together,
bowed his head & spoke:

'Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive,
from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, Amen.'

Comment: Sent to be from Pastor Williams of South Holly Baptist

Date night!

About once a year, Kathee and I do something special by way of entertainment. Tonight we are going to the Nicollet Island Inn for dinner than then to My Fair Lady at the Orpheum Theater.

The only negative, I have a cold and feel very droopy. Too bad I am at work (a no-nap zone!).


The Democrats and NAFTA: full pander-mode

Democrats vs. Trade


Driving this debate is the unpopularity of NAFTA in Ohio. In 2006, Ohioans elected one of the most anti-trade politicians in America, Sherrod Brown, to the U.S. Senate. With these voters at stake, Obama denounced NAFTA (and Hillary’s alleged support for it) during a speech in Lorain Sunday afternoon. "One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA, including nearly 50,000 jobs here in Ohio,” Obama claimed. “And yet, 10 years after NAFTA passed, Sen. Clinton said it was good for America. Well, I don't think NAFTA has been good for America — and I never have.”

But when asked later, Obama said he wouldn’t pull the U.S. out of NAFTA, because doing so “would actually result in more job loss . . . than job gains.” This is true, of course. Even a politician in full pander-mode can’t deny that NAFTA, like any free-trade agreement, created jobs as well as destroyed them. Free trade allows countries to shift resources to where they are most productive relative to the countries they are trading with. We hope that Barack Obama is familiar with the concept of comparative advantage. We hope (audaciously?) that the pursuit of votes rather than gross ignorance has led him into this wilderness of incoherence.

And Hillary? Her reaction to Obama’s attacks is an even more worrying sign that the Democratic party is growing more protectionist. Fearing the credulousness of Ohioans, she has not pushed back against Obama’s economic charlatanism. Indeed, putting her faith in the credulousness of Ohioans, she has called for a “time out” on new trade deals, as if our pending agreements with Colombia and South Korea would deal a staggering blow to Ohio’s economy.

Comment: So Obama is against NAFTA but wouldn't end US's participation in NAFTA! Unfamiliar with the law of comparative advantage? Explained: The Theory of Comparative Advantage - Overview

Saving the Cougar Ace

High Tech Cowboys of the Deep Seas: The Race to Save the Cougar Ace

Comment: If you every wondered how they right a ship like this ... here's the story. (Caveat: some foul language).

Additional information:

  1. Wikipedia: Cougar Ace
  2. Photo gallery (image above is from this site)


That maverick John McCain

The Real McCain


Over the past few years, McCain has stepped up his longstanding assault on earmarks. Every year, McCain goes to the Senate floor to ridicule the latest batch of earmarks, and every year his colleagues and the lobbyists fume. For years, McCain has proposed legislative remedies — greater transparency, a 60-vote supermajority requirement — that were brutally unpopular with many colleagues until, suddenly, now.

Over the course of his career, McCain has tried to do the impossible. He has challenged the winds of the money gale. He has sometimes failed and fallen short. And there have always been critics who cherry-pick his compromises, ignore his larger efforts and accuse him of being a hypocrite.

Comment: One thing I appreciate about him!

Geraldine Ferraro explains the Superdelegates

Got a Problem? Ask the Super


In 1982, we tried to remedy some of the party’s internal problems by creating the Hunt Commission, which reformed the way the party selects its presidential nominees. Because I was then the vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, Tip O’Neill, the speaker of the House, appointed me as his representative to the commission. The commission considered several reforms, but one of the most significant was the creation of superdelegates, the reform in which I was most involved.

Democrats had to figure out a way to unify our party. What better way, we reasoned, than to get elected officials involved in writing the platform, sitting on the credentials committee and helping to write the rules that the party would play by?

Most officeholders, however, were reluctant to run as delegates in a primary election — running against a constituent who really wants to be a delegate to the party’s national convention is not exactly good politics.

So we created superdelegates and gave that designation to every Democratic member of Congress. Today the 796 superdelegates also include Democratic governors, former presidents and vice presidents, and members of the Democratic National Committee and former heads of the national committee.

These superdelegates, we reasoned, are the party’s leaders. They are the ones who can bring together the most liberal members of our party with the most conservative and reach accommodation. They would help write the platform. They would determine if a delegate should be seated. They would help determine the rules. And having done so, they would have no excuse to walk away from the party or its presidential nominee.

Comment: Good read. The Repubican's approach is "winner take all" primaries (not all are!)

Lake Pepin ice thickness = 29"

Results are in for Lake Pepin ice thickness


The ice on Lake Pepin has undergone its annual measuring tape scrutiny, and the results match what life above the water's surface confirms: It's been a cold winter.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in an update posted on its website this morning, said that the ice layer's thickest point on Lake Pepin is 29 inches. That was found during measuring Friday near Stockholm, Wis.

"The ice is thicker this year than it was last year when we had fairly thin ice," Mark Upward, a Corps spokesman, told the Red Wing Republican-Eagle. "We have more ice this year than in the past several years."

The annual measurements on the lake, located on the Mississippi River between Red Wing and Wabasha, are used to predict the navigational outlook on the Upper Mississippi River. This spot is chosen because the lake is the final part of the river where the ice breaks up, and the current is slower on Lake Pepin than on the rest of the river.

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Popular religion: "nothing in particular"

Survey: Americans switching faiths, dropping out


One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.

"In the past, certain religions had a real holding power, where people from one generation to the next would stay," said Penn State University sociologist Roger Finke, who consulted in the survey planning. "Right now, there is a dropping confidence in organized religion, especially in the traditional religious forms."

Lugo said the 44 percent figure is "a very conservative estimate," and more research is planned to determine the causes.

"It does seem in keeping with the high tolerance among Americans for change," Lugo said. "People move a lot, people change jobs a lot. It's a very fluid society."

The religious demographic benefiting the most from this religious churn is those who claim no religious affiliation. People moving into that category outnumber those moving out of it by a three-to-one margin.

The majority of the unaffiliated -- 12 percent of the overall population -- describe their religion as "nothing in particular," and about half of those say faith is at least somewhat important to them. Atheists or agnostics account for 4 percent of the total population.

Comment: Still a nation that needs the Gospel! More from Albert Mohler

E Peet graduation photo (1930)

Alto High School Class of 1930
Contributed by: Bowne Twp. Historical Society

Graduates: B. Brannan, A. Hunt, and E. Peet

Comment: My brother found this while searching for images from Alto Michigan. The woman on the right would be my Aunt Ella Peet (long since deceased!) Image from The Bowne Twp. Historical Museum

A corpse cannot arise from his coffin

How dead were we?

Ephesians 2:1, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins"

Eaten In One Week Around The World

What Is Eaten In One Week Around The World

HT: Approaching North

Comment: Photo essay. Photos from Hungry Planet: What the World Eats .

Since I am not that involved in the grocery / cooking side of our household (that's an understatement), I'm not sure what the Peet family spends on groceries per week.


Hillary's campaign slow pays small businesses

Small Vendors Feel Pinch of Clinton’s Money Troubles


It was just $2,492.63, a pittance, really, alongside million-dollar television buys and direct mail drops.

But with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination enduring a rough patch, Peter Semetis, the owner of a deli and catering business in Lower Manhattan, had been following the news and growing increasingly worried that he was not going to be paid for the assorted breakfast trays, coffee, tea and orange juice he had provided the campaign for an event in mid-December.

“I’m afraid of her dropping out of the campaign and me becoming a casualty,” Mr. Semetis said.

So on Thursday, he went to small claims court and filed suit. Mr. Semetis, 53, said he was hardly a political pundit but like others across the country, he had become caught up in the election in the last year and was able to offer some analysis. “There is potential for her to lose Texas,” he said — an assessment not at odds with the polls — “which would pretty much force her to quit.”

Comment: Oh well ... she is toast anyway! Jonathan Alter: Hillary Should Get Out Now


Keeping Moore’s Law pumping

Trying to Put New Zip Into Moore’s Law


The remarkable progression of Moore’s Law, meanwhile, involves continually shrinking almost everything to do with the chips. Today, the transistors in a high-end chip are no wider than the nucleus of a smallish bacterium — that’s far smaller than the smallest light wave.

Until now, as chips became smaller, they also became faster in about the same proportion. It’s still true for transistors, but it’s no longer true for the wires used to connect transistors — and that slows performance gains. Daniel Edelstein, a program manager and fellow at I.B.M. Research, says, “We’re running out of steam.”

Comment: Moore’s Law

SNL: Mike Huckabee Overstays His Welcome


"One another" commands

"One another" commands

Comment: From my other blog

Saturday happenings

Kathee and I met a couple from Church this morning at Mountain Mudd in New Hope.

Roger made a nice lunch for us (bean soup).

My Brother (another Roger) came by at 1:30 and we played 10 games of 9-Ball (split 5-5).

We (Brother and I) took my S-10 out and Roger gassed it up for me. I took him out on Medicine Lake. We drove from Hardies' boat ramp, around the Art House Shanties, then N. to French Park.

Kathee packed up for her business trip to Salt Lake City tomorrow. She leaves at 8 a.m. and won't be home until past mid-night Monday night (Tuesday morning).

Kathee made Reuben sandwiches for us for dinner. We read Psalms 19 & 20 and had coffee and prayer.

K and I played 6 games of pool and she won 4-2.

Tomorrow: Worship at 4th. I am expecting Rachel to join me for church and then we are going out to the Big Bowl for lunch.

Psalm 19:1-4

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.

NYT Ombudsman rips NYTimes

NYT Ombudsman Rips the McCain Hit Piece


The La Pointe windsled

Across the Bay, on a School Bus Wearing Skis


From a distance, the large red aluminum contraption parked on the frozen shore of Lake Superior here looks like a small houseboat perched on skis. Up closer, as schoolchildren pile in with their backpacks and iPods, it becomes clear that the mystery vehicle, with two large fans on the back, is something else entirely.

For residents of this remote village on an ice-locked island off the tip of mainland Wisconsin, the gliding boatmobile, known here as a windsled, is a kind of school bus.

That’s right: in one of the more unorthodox modes of student travel anywhere in the country, the children of La Pointe, on Madeline Island (full-time population 250, triple that in the summer), actually windsled to class several weeks out of every year. It is the transportation a school district needs when students are separated from class by more than two miles of jigsaw ice blocks coming together to form something that approximates a floating road of shallow depth across a bay.

Comment: Image from http://www.jlindquist.com/.

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Overspending at Hy-Vee



Hillary Rodham Clinton's free-spending campaign blew a whopping $95,000 at a low-end supermarket-deli chain last month in Iowa - a telling sign of why she can no longer cut the mustard financially against Barack Obama in critical states.

Clinton's latest campaign filings reveal how a sprawling, top-heavy campaign organization splurged on posh hotels and pricey consultants but still struggles to define its message against Obama, a charismatic opponent whom Clinton's camp now calls the front-runner.

The $95,000 charge came at the Hy-Vee store in West Des Moines, a grocery and deli chain that is a fixture in the state, on Jan. 1, just two days before Obama stunned Clinton by beating her in the Iowa caucuses.


The heavy spending helps explain why Clinton's camp ended the year $7.6 million in debt, not including her $5 million loan to her campaign.

The campaign team has plowed through $116 million so far.

Comment: If she can't control the grocery budget ... she can't run the country! Wait until she socializes national health care!


Kovacevich: WFC on the hunt!

Wells Fargo May Increase Acquisitions, Chairman Says


Wells Fargo & Co., the biggest bank on the U.S. West Coast, will increase acquisitions this year, and the targets are likely to be larger than the banks bought recently, Chairman Richard Kovacevich said.

Wells Fargo may acquire about 15 companies in the coming year because prices have declined to reasonable levels, Kovacevich said during a Bloomberg TV interview today. The bank, ranked second among U.S. mortgage lenders, also expects real- estate prices to fall another 10 percent before bottoming out, he said.

Comment: Sounds like it won't be a major bank. I would think that BBT, National City Corp, or Sun Trust would be good targets.

Slime at the Times

Slime at the Times Update: The Full Story Emerges

Comment: The backstory to the nostory: "institutional tensions". The Wall Street Journal weighs in: "The allegations are insubstantial to begin with ..."

Maurice Cheeks National Anthem sing along

Wiki: Maurice Cheeks

HT: The Cynical Christian

Comment: Maurice Cheeks was with the Philadelphia 76'ers when we lived in South Jersey. On April 25, 2003, during a game between the Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks, Cheeks aided 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert in singing the National anthem. After Gilbert forgot the words at "At the twilight's last gleaming", Cheeks rushed over to help her and they finished it together, as the entire Rose Garden Arena crowd sang with them. Cheeks and Gilbert received a standing ovation after the song was over. Portland would go on to lose to the Mavericks that night.

Pentagon Briefing, Missile Strike On Satellite

Comment: Interesting (I will sleep better tonight knowing that satellite will not crash into my home :))

WWJDD: Barack Obama

Why Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama


In February 2004, U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, sent a fund-raising letter with the "alarming news" that "right-wing politicians" had passed a law stopping doctors from stabbing half-born babies in the neck with scissors, suctioning out their brains and crushing their skulls.

Michelle called partial-birth abortion "a legitimate medical procedure," and wouldn't supporters please pay $150 to attend a luncheon for her husband, who would fight against "cynical ploy[s]" to stop it?

But that's not why Obama's opponent Alan Keyes said Jesus Christ wouldn't vote for him.

HT: The Vote That Will Cost Obama the Presidency

Comment: WWJDD = "What will James Dobson do"? I wonder if James Dobson would consider this when he considers why he could never vote for John McCain?


The Fed: "between a rock and a hard place"

Higher inflation makes Fed’s job a lot tougher


With the economy slowing and the housing market stuck in reverse, Wednesday’s surprise pop in the government's monthly inflation data was not good news for the Federal Reserve.

The problem: Central bankers now find themselves between a rock and a hard place in trying to meet their dual goal of setting interest rates low enough to get the economy moving again while keeping rates high enough to keep prices in check.

The Fed can’t do both. But given the ongoing turmoil in the capital markets — and the risk of a credit crunch that could do even more damage to the fragile economy — Fed watchers say inflation-fighting is taking a back seat.

Comment: Add this: The need to avoid Stagflation

Funny thing at work today:

The three rules of public speaking: know your audience, your your limitations, and keep it simple.

I was in a meeting today that was over Net-Meeting. I was in a conference room with the presenter and a guy from finance. The presentation was via PowerPoint and had over 30 slides. Midway through the meeting, my eyes were growing dim but I fought to stay awake. The finance guy to my left dozed off completely. At one time he had his head on the conference table. The humor of this kept me alert.

List Barack Obama's accomplishments

Comment: Hillary finally gets it! Barak has done nothing as a Senator!

Downtown fire

Comment: Taken with my LG VX8300 phone from the 14th floor conference room of 100 Washington. (2/20/08 @ 11:15 a.m.)

Kare11 reports:

A 2-alarm fire has broken out in downtown Minneapolis.

The building houses Maxwell's American Cafe and is located at 1203 Washington Avenue South.

Flames were seen shooting out of 2nd and 3rd floors of the building. It is believed that apartments are above Maxwell's.

Crews have been ordered out of the building and it has also been evacuated.

Updated: Maxwell's, furniture store fire started in storage area

A favorite lunchtime spot for downtown workers and a neighboring furniture store sustained heavy damage in a large fire this morning in downtown Minneapolis..

Crews responded to a blaze on the roof top of a building at 1203 Washington Av. S. around 10:30 a.m., said Sean McKenna, a fire department spokesman.

"It was a heavy fire when crews arrived," McKenna said.

No one was hurt, but parts of the building housing the Scandia Furniture Company and Maxwell's American Cafe collapsed, he said.

The fire broke out in a storage area on the third floor of the building where there are a few apartments. All the residents escaped unhurt, but one lost a cat in the fire, he said.

Washington Avenue was closed while crews battled the fire, but the street reopened around 1:40 p.m.


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Standard goody-bag politics

The Obama Delusion: The gap between his rhetoric and the reality of his views

Obama's economic plan:

  1. Provide a $1,000 tax cut for most two-earner families ($500 for singles).
  2. Create a $4,000 refundable tuition tax credit for every year of college.
  3. Expand the child-care tax credit for people earning less than $50,000 and "double spending on quality after-school programs."
  4. Enact an "energy plan" that would invest $150 billion in 10 years to create a "green energy sector."


A favorite Obama line is that he will tell "the American people not just what they want to hear but what we need to know." Well, he hasn't so far. Consider the retiring baby boomers. A truth-telling Obama might say: "Spending for retirees—mainly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—is already nearly half the federal budget. Unless we curb these rising costs, we will crush our children with higher taxes. Reflecting longer life expectancies, we should gradually raise the eligibility ages for these programs and trim benefits for wealthier retirees. Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for inaction. Waiting longer will only worsen the problem."

Instead, Obama pledges not to raise the retirement age and to "protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries." This isn't "change"; it's sanctification of the status quo.

Comment: Surprised to see this in Newsweek!

Madman Alert!

Ahmadinejad: Israel filthy bacteria

Madman Quote:

"The world powers established this filthy bacteria, the Zionist regime, which is lashing out at the nations in the region like a wild beast,"

Comment: The Madman alert archive.

Questions about Universal Health Care

Questions about Universal Health Care ... that the Democrats will not answer!

Health Questions for the Candidates


  1. A question about young adults. They think of themselves as invincible and are not apt to buy insurance. Your "mandate" would force them to do so, and more than that, to pay the same premium as middle aged people whose health care needs generally are much greater. You defend the one-price rule as "shared responsibility," but isn't it an unjust, hidden tax on the younger generation? Today in Austin, Texas a 25-year-old man can buy a $1,000 deductible policy for $70, according to e-healthinsurance.com. A 55-year-old man pays $270 for the same policy. In nearly all states, young adults currently get price breaks, and for good reason. They need, on average, about $1,500 a year in health care. Your health plan bars insurers from giving these price breaks to the young.
  2. Texas lawmakers have made insurance less affordable by requiring that every plan include in vitro fertilization, acupuncture, marriage counseling and some 50 other features. This is like passing a law saying that the only car you're permitted to buy is a fully loaded luxury sedan. Would you allow Texans (and all of us who live in states with similarly costly insurance requirements) to shop for cheaper insurance outside our own state?

Democrats: Putting the "party" back in politics

The Delegate math

Excerpt (will need to scroll down the article for this section):

After last night’s contests, here’s where things stand: The NBC News Hard Count is Obama 1,168, Clinton 1,018. There are 53 delegates unallocated, including 19 in MD, 10 each in CO and GA, 6 in WI, 4 in HI, and one each in DC, TN, NY and IL. We estimate a conservative 27-26 split here. The Superdelegate Count: Clinton 257 versus Obama 185. That’s a grand total of: Obama 1,355, Clinton 1,276. Counting only the superdelegates he has now, plus his pledged delegates, Obama needs 65% of remaining PLEDGED delegates to hit the magic 2025 number. Reaching that is probably unrealistic, but when you add in the unaffiliated 353 superdelegates (76 of whom are not yet known yet and won't be appointed until April, May and June), his magic percentage number is down to 48%. On the flip side, Clinton needs to win 58% of all remaining pledged delegates simply to get the pledged delegate lead back. Forget 2025. And if you assume Obama wins Vermont, Wyoming, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota, then the magic percentage number in the states Clinton wins rises to 65% -- SIMPLY TO GET THE PLEDGED DELEGATE LEAD BACK...

The way to win? The Clinton campaign, meanwhile, has unveiled its own
Delegate Hub, a Web site listing “facts and myths” about the Democratic race for delegates. What’s most interesting here is that the campaign moves the 2025 magic number to include Florida and Michigan (thus 2208). And as Harold Ickes tried on Saturday, they want to erase the pledged vs. super distinction. This is the clearest signal yet that the Clinton campaign knows they can’t win as things stand now and need to win this on the perception front

Comment: Hillary wants those contested Florida & Mighican delegates (and to win - and winning is everything for the Clintons!): From Delegate Hub:

An important part of the debate over delegates is the role of Florida and Michigan. Hillary Clinton believes that the voices of 600,000 Michigan primary voters and 1.75 million Florida primary voters should be heard at the Democratic convention.

In the 2004 presidential race, the turnout in Michigan was only a quarter of what it was this year - and the 2004 turnout in Florida was less than half of what it was this year. With such dramatically increased turnout, Hillary won those two states and she did it with all candidates on an equal footing. In Florida, all presidential candidates were on the primary ballot and all followed the rules (except for Sen. Obama who broke the rules by running television ads in violation of his pledge to the early states and to the other presidential candidates). In Michigan, Sen. Obama voluntarily withdrew his name from the primary ballot to curry favor with Iowa. He was under no obligation to do so. However, his supporters organized a substantial vote for 'uncommitted' on the ballot, thus he is represented in the delegation. Hillary Clinton obeyed all the rules in Florida and Michigan and came out ahead. She had no intrinsic advantage over her opponents other than the will of the voters. The voters of Florida and Michigan should be heard and the delegates from Florida and Michigan should count.

Comment: Consider earlier post: How will the Dems handle Michigan and Florida?

"Oracle of Omaha" buys WFC

Time to Buy On-Shore Bank Bargains... Buffett Thinks So


Berkshire Hathaway disclosed last week that Warren Buffett & Co. has been busy adding to its already sizeable stake in Wells Fargo.

In fact, the big west-coast bank is Berkshire’s second largest holding. Buffett now owns 289 million shares of Wells valued at $8.6 billion. That’s nearly 9% of Wells Fargo’s outstanding shares.

Comment: More on Warren Buffett. If Berkshire Hathaway combined their votes with mine, I could be on the board of Wells Fargo!

Obama: 'Eloquent But Empty'

McCain Rips 'Eloquent But Empty' Obama


"I will work hard to make sure Americans aren't deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change,"

Comment: The irony is that his empty words are not original!:

WSJ: An American Unoriginal

But isn't it a bit heavy-handed to accuse Obama of plagiarism? This is a serious charge in academia and journalism, professions in which words are the final product. By contrast, language is a mere instrument for politicians. They hire speechwriters to put words in their mouths, something that would also be frowned upon in academia and journalism. Are voters really going to be dissuaded from backing Obama because as a politician he failed to adhere to the ethical standards that would have applied if he were a professor or a reporter? Not likely.

Wolfson's comment is a striking example of the Clinton campaign's clumsy aggression. Obama's use of Patrick's rhetoric actually does bolster Mrs. Clinton's argument against him, but in a more subtle way. How ridiculous is it that Obama is borrowing someone else's empty rhetoric in order to defend his own?

And empty it is. Although the other two examples are arguable either way, "We hold these truths . . ." and "I have a dream" were anything but "just words." They were words that held enormous meaning because of the historical context in which they were, respectively, written and uttered. Can the same be said of Obamanalities like "Yes, we can," or "Change we can believe in"?


Computing 65 BC

Mysteries of computer from 65BC are solved


A 2,000-year-old mechanical computer salvaged from a Roman shipwreck has astounded scientists who have finally unravelled the secrets of how the sophisticated device works.

The machine was lost among cargo in 65BC when the ship carrying it sank in 42m of water off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera. By chance, in 1900, a sponge diver called Elias Stadiatos discovered the wreck and recovered statues and other artifacts from the site.

The machine first came to light when an archaeologist working on the recovered objects noticed that a lump of rock had a gear wheel embedded in it. Closer inspection of material brought up from the stricken ship subsequently revealed 80 pieces of gear wheels, dials, clock-like hands and a wooden and bronze casing bearing ancient Greek inscriptions.

Since its discovery, scientists have been trying to reconstruct the device, which is now known to be an astronomical calendar capable of tracking with remarkable precision the position of the sun, several heavenly bodies and the phases of the moon. Experts believe it to be the earliest-known device to use gear wheels and by far the most sophisticated object to be found from the ancient and medieval periods.

Using modern computer x-ray tomography and high resolution surface scanning, a team led by Mike Edmunds and Tony Freeth at Cardiff University peered inside fragments of the crust-encased mechanism and read the faintest inscriptions that once covered the outer casing of the machine. Detailed imaging of the mechanism suggests it dates back to 150-100 BC and had 37 gear wheels enabling it to follow the movements of the moon and the sun through the zodiac, predict eclipses and even recreate the irregular orbit of the moon. The motion, known as the first lunar anomaly, was developed by the astronomer Hipparcus of Rhodes in the 2nd century BC, and he may have been consulted in the machine's construction, the scientists speculate.

Remarkably, scans showed the device uses a differential gear, which was previously believed to have been invented in the 16th century. The level of miniaturisation and complexity of its parts is comparable to that of 18th century clocks.

Some researchers believe the machine, known as the Antikythera Mechanism, may have been among other treasure looted from Rhodes that was en route to Rome for a celebration staged by Julius Caesar.

Previous CFG post: Antikythera mechanism

Dick Kovacevich: Merger advice

Neal St. Anthony: Merger advice from a man who's been there, done it right


Kovacevich put together a string of mergers, capped in 1998 by Norwest Corporation's stunning acquisition of the larger Wells Fargo.

Most bank mergers were disasters because they focused most on short-term cost cuts that were designed to please Wall Street analysts and investment bankers. Too often, they aggravated overworked employees and shortchanged customers, many of whom fled to smaller competitors.

"Revenue is the gift that keeps on giving," Kovacevich said in an interview last week. "My belief is that you should never do a merger unless revenue growth of the combined companies in the future will be greater than the sum of the two had they remained independent.

"Many times you see cost cuts, but revenue goes down because you cut the heart out of the service. Many mergers have resulted in less revenue. In about 80 percent of mergers, the stock of the buying company goes down."

A lot of big bank mergers were premised on promises to Wall Street that the buyer would cut up to 30 percent of the acquirer's costs within a year. Running against conventional wisdom, Kovacevich, in his capstone Wells Fargo deal, told Wall Street he would cut 6 percent of cost over three years.

"The employee has got to be the No. 1 stakeholder," Kovacevich said. "You should have seen eyes roll when I would talk to employees [at the outset of a merger] about our competitive advantage," Kovacevich said. "And we reduced some positions over time. But they saw how we did it. And we listened to them. And we did stop some things that weren't working ... employees watch what you do, not what you say.

"I'm not expert in airlines, but it is about that pilot and flight attendant. We've proven in banking, if they don't like coming to work every day, it won't work."

Comment: The last sentence is sound organizational advice!


Taking responsibility for sin

Flock forgives minister who confesses to 1994 slaying


Calvin Wayne Inman, 29, remains jailed without bail since he was charged Wednesday with capital murder in the stabbing death of a convenience store clerk during a robbery. He was 16 at the time.

During Sunday's service at the 800-member Elim Church, congregants praised the recently ordained Inman as a born-again role model taking responsibility for his sin.

"He's a hero, really," said Kelley Graham, 24. "I don't know how many people would do what he did. The Bible says you just need to confess to God. Calvin took an extra step."

Inman went to authorities on February 5 and admitted that he stabbed Iqbal Ahmed, 64, nearly 14 years ago in suburban Pasadena.

According to police, Inman said he and a 13-year-old friend planned to rob the convenience store. When Ahmed asked to see identification before giving them tobacco, Inman stabbed Ahmed in the chest with a kitchen knife, police said.

Comment: Elim Church. I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"

Dwindling donations force sale of jet

Financial Woes Force Church To Sell Private Jet


Dwindling donations to the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park have prompted its high-profile pastor, Mac Hammond, to put his private business jet on the market.

Church spokesman the Rev. Brian Sullivan says Living Word has also cut its hourlong Sunday morning television broadcast to 30 minutes to save money.

He says the church has fallen $40,000 to $70,000 short of its weekly budget in recent weeks. Sullivan says the church is adjusting its budget accordingly.

Sullivan says the church's problems could be a combination of the recession and the recent bad publicity about churches preaching the "Prosperity Gospel."

Comment: Post from a year ago: Not all pastors want to become blessedly rich and Mac Hammond and the Properity Gospel

Pawlenty: "a rising star" in GOP

Steadfast McCain ally sparks veep talk


“First of all, his age is attractive,” Weber says, hinting at the nearly quarter-century difference between his fellow Minnesotan and the 71-year-old McCain. “Second, he’s from outside Washington. Third, he represents a battleground part of the country. And he has a nice balance of, on one hand being totally acceptable to the conservative wing of the party, especially to social conservatives, but at the same time sharing a couple of key maverick strains of thought with McCain.”


HT: Race 4 2008
More VP speculation: Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating


Comment: An interesting site. Highlights:

Early Photography

Car logos

Tech logos

First computer "bug"

The Wonderful World of Early Computing


On September 9, 1945, U.S. Navy officer Grace Hopper found the first computer "bug": a moth stuck between the relays on the Harvard Mark II (successor to the Mark I [picture in article]) She noted it on her log as the "first actual case of bug being found." Though the term "bug" had meant a computer error beforehand, it became a popular term after this incident.

Hopper went on to create the first compiler for a computer programming language (the A-0 System for the UNIVAC in 1952) and worked on the development of COBOL, one of the earliest high-level programming languages that allowed programmers to use words instead of machine codes. To acknowledge her contributions, the U.S. Navy named a ship after her (it’s a guided missile destroyer, by the way).

Even if you’ve never heard of Grace Hopper before reading this article, chances are you’ve heard one of her famous quotes: "It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."

Comment: Of her famous quote: "It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission", this is my credo to accomplish things at work! (I'm good at apologizing!)


My niece - Terry Moore

Terry is in the USAF. This is a picture from October (that I had misplaced) on her return from Korea. She now is in Fort Meade Maryland. I am very proud of Terry!

1 Corinthians 17: Concerning Announcements

Concerning Announcements

Comment: Read down for church bulletin bloopers.

Favorite blooper:

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

Comment: My preference would be - no announcements read during the worship service. I can read!

HT: Emeth Aletheia


New generation of "Do Not Disturb"

Do not disturb these winners


Five winners have been chosen from more than 7,000 entries, and the signs are due to be in Embassy Suites nationwide by next week.

"Shh! I'm hatching a plan to bust some little soaps out of here" won Marty Mintman of St. Louis a trip to Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk in Honolulu.

"Pillow Fight In Progress" earned Susan Suarez of University City, Mo., a stay at any Embassy Suites in the USA.

Other winning slogans and authors: "There are days when I wish I could wear this around my neck" from Sandra Parcher, Milpitas, Calif.; "I've built a pillow fort and I am not opening the door for anybody!" from Amy Forgette, Streamwood, Ill.; "Aww, Mom. Just five more minutes. Please?" from Brian White, Chicago.

Comment: I'd like to have one of these: "There are days when I wish I could wear this around my neck". Link to winners.

More Help with Baby


Help with Baby # 1

Help with Baby # 2

Will "the Goreacle" save the day?

Al Gore to the Rescue?


Al Gore on the second ballot: A scenario that a few weeks ago seemed preposterous is beginning to look plausible to some nervous Democrats looking for a way out of the deadlock between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It goes like this: We love them both, but neither is a sure bet when it comes to electability. It's not about gender and race, each has more mundane vulnerabilities. Hillary's negatives will drive white men to John McCain; Obama's inexperience will require a gut check on the part of voters. What if the super delegates decide not to decide, denying either candidate the requisite number of delegates to secure the party's nomination. Democrats want to win. The new rallying cry: Gore on the second ballot.

Comment: Previously mentioned by Chuck Dunn.

Two Irreconcilable Worldviews

Albert Mohler: Two Irreconcilable Worldviews


.... the dominant theory of evolution -- the theory as taught and defended by the world's leading evolutionary scientists -- explicitly rules out any supernatural design or interference at any point in the evolutionary continuum. That fact alone makes the theory incompatible with any legitimate affirmation of divine creation or of biblical theism.

Comment: Paul, at the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-34), began his defense of Christianity by presenting God as Creator (vss 24-26): "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth ..."

Evolutionary thought did not originate with Darwin: History of evolutionary thought:

"Evolutionary ideas such as common descent and the transmutation of species have existed since at least the 6th century BC, when they were expounded by the Greek philosopher Anaximander. Others who considered such ideas included the Greek philosopher Empedocles, the Roman philosopher-poet Lucretius"

I know one of them

U.S. says 82 youths have died in "choking game"

While I was a Pastor in Littleton, Colorado (1987-1996) a boy from Pueblo Colorado hung himself in this way. His family attended a small Baptist Church in Pueblo. The boy did not immediately die, but lived for several weeks in a brain-damaged state. Early on he was transported 120 miles North to Denver to a major hospital there. Because the family needed ongoing Pastoral care and because his own Pastor was unable to provide daily contact, I was asked to be the point person.

I remember my first visit to the boy's room. It was one of the most tragic scenes I have ever experienced. As I recollect the boy was but 15. His loving Mother and Sister were by his side.

I stayed with them in the room for a while and stood by the boy and put my hand on his head and prayed for him. The young mother and teenage girl and I went to the hospital coffee shop for a while and we chatted and prayed.

There was little hope for the young boy. He lived less then two weeks and was gone.

Answering a question about evangelism

Question sent to me:

I want to learn to properly talk to the lost about Jesus Christ. Can you help me?

Brief answer:

If you look at the way Jesus dealt with sinners in the Gospel of John ... there was no "one size fits all" approach to evangelism. Consider the contrast as to how the Lord dealt with the woman at the well in John 4 (1-11) vs Nicodemus in John 3.

Also look at the contrasting Apostolic gospel presentations in Acts 2 vs Acts 17.

If you consider the analogy of "fishing" ("Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men". (Matt 4:19)) ... not every fish is caught the same way (I'm not much of a fisherman but I do know this to be so),

It seems that some things are required of the evangelist (the one who shares good news): to be personally surrendered to Christ, to have a love for men, to be obedient to the Lord.

It also strikes me that the ultimate evangelist is God Himself. The Holy Spirit "convict(s) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8). I understand this to mean, the the Spirit convinces men that they are sinners, that God is righteous, and that God will surely judge.

Kathee and I read Psalm 9 & 10 tonight and I found this interesting in 10:13:

Why do the wicked renounce God?
He has said in his heart,
“You will not require an account.”

I see in this verse that the one who rejects God does not believe that God will judge sin.

I understand that since the work of salvation is a work that God accomplishes, that that success will come from petitioning God in prayer. In this truth I see the need to pray for (by name when possible) for the lost.

Question to readers: What thoughts or ideas might you add about evangelism?


End of week - well not quite!

We drove on icy roads this morning but arrived safely to work and home. We stopped by Sweet Taste of Italy on the way home from work tonight. After dinner I plowed our driveway and Mrs F's next door.

Tonight just reading and relaxing.

Tomorrow one our Pastors is meeting me downtown for lunch. Should be fun.

I am beginning planning for Vista SP1 at work. Tomorrow meeting with a lead engineer to map out strategy.

Saturday will be busy:

  1. Am meeting a friend for coffee at 9:30 a.m.
  2. We are having 2 young men from our church by for lunch at noon.
  3. We are hosting the church's young adults for pool from 1-4.
  4. And we are having dinner guests at 6.

I think we will not do anything on Sunday afternoon!

Newt: the makings of a Democratic civil war

Newt Gingrich: Let's Revote in Michigan and Florida


So here's the run-away train careening toward the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August: If the delegate count of both campaigns is still close by the time of the convention, Florida and Michigan's combined 366 delegates will suddenly become very relevant. Instead of uniting behind a nominee, the party will be at war with itself over whether to seat the Michigan and Florida delegates. And Democrats know from hard experience that chaotic, contentious conventions and the nominees they produce (remember Chicago in 1968? San Francisco in 1972?) do not bode well for success in November.

One of the great ironies of this election season is that the very mechanism created by Democrats to avoid contentious conventions like those in Chicago and San Francisco promises to create further chaos in Denver this year.

Superdelegates are really "politician delegates." Superdelegates are technically uncommitted party insiders who can vote for whomever they choose. They were created by the party that prides itself on supposedly representing the common man to be the palace guards of the Democratic establishment. Bill Clinton is a superdelegate, as is Al Gore. They are Democratic Party insiders whose purpose is to put down insurgent campaigns and protect the interests of Democratic politics as usual.

The closeness of the delegate count has set off a furious race between Sens. Clinton and Obama for the superdelegates. But any attempt by either campaign to win with these party insiders what they couldn't win with the voting public would destroy not only the prospects of the "victorious" candidate, but the prospects of the Democratic Party itself.

So the Democrats are caught in a double-bind: Disenfranchising the voters in Michigan and Florida while allowing party insiders to pick the party's nominee has all the makings of a Democratic civil war.

Comment: This political season, to me, has been absolutely fascinating - better than the NFL!

Astronaut Clay Anderson

Zero gravity can be heavy burden


In video footage shown this week, the astronauts aboard space shuttle Atlantis gleefully float tools and a miniature football in midair. They look like they're having fun.

They're also coping with the million-and-one annoyances of the weightless lifestyle. The truth about zero-g, as the astronauts call it, is that it's a major pain.

In weightlessness, "two things are easier" — carrying heavy items and fitting into small spaces — and "everything else is more difficult," says astronaut Scott Kelly, who last flew on the shuttle in 2007.

The problems posed by zero gravity can make it harder for the crew, especially rookies, to get things done. That's no small matter now that shuttle missions are jammed with so much work that the astronauts have little time for sleep and meals.

McCain: A fiscal conservative? The record speaks!

The McCain Fiscal Record


Mr. McCain has tried to reassure economic conservatives by pledging to make permanent the tax cuts he initially opposed. Whether Mr. McCain can ultimately convince them remains to be seen, although his 25-year record of supporting pro-growth tax cuts weighs in his favor. If that's not enough, they might consider that the Bush tax cuts are on auto-pilot to expire -- and neither a President Clinton nor a President Obama will have to lift a finger to impose a crushing tax hike on America's economy.

Comment: His record speaks for itself!

Bloomberg: 'Like Booze For Alcoholics'

Bloomberg Ridicules Washington On Economy


Mayor Michael Bloomberg has unleashed another flurry of jabs on Washington, ridiculing the federal government's rebate checks as being "like giving a drink to an alcoholic" on Thursday, and said the presidential candidates are looking for easy solutions to complex economic problems.

The billionaire and potential independent presidential candidate also said the nation "has a balance sheet that's starting to look more and more like a third-world country."

President Bush signed legislation Wednesday that will result in cash rebates ranging from $300 to $1,200 for more than 130 million people.

The federal checks are the centerpiece of the government's emergency effort to stimulate the economy, under the theory that most people will spend the money right away.

But Bloomberg does not believe it will do much good. And his harsh words at a news conference Thursday reflect the view among some of his associates that the country's economic woes present a unique opportunity for him to launch a third-party bid for the White House.

Comment: I doubt he launches a 3rd party bid, but if he did it would drain votes from the Democratic nominee. I happen to share his concerns about the stimulus package.

Valentine's Day macabre

Valentine's relic (Rome)

From above:

A slightly grisly reminder that tomorrow, 14 February, is the feast of St Valentine, a martyr saint of Rome.

This is the relic of his skull and bones housed in the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome.

The early Medieval Acta of either Saint Valentine were excerpted by Bede and briefly expounded in Legenda Aurea. According to that version, St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed on 14 February c.270. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

The Legenda Aurea still providing no connections whatsoever with sentimental love, appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail.

In an embellishment to The Golden Legend, on the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first "valentine" himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved, as the jailer's daughter whom he had befriended and healed, or both. It was a note that read "From your Valentine."

In another apparently modern embellishment, while Valentine was imprisoned, people would leave him little notes, folded up and hidden in cracks in the rocks around his cell. He would find them and offer prayers for them.

Of course, there is the more ancient pagan reason: In ancient Rome, February 14 was a holiday to honour Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the feast of Lupercalia.

The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

HT: BikeBubba'sBits

Comment: I gifted K with custom M&M's from mms.com. They are pink and white and say "Kathee & Jim" and "Jim & Kathee". My beloved gave me David McCullough's John Adams.

Snowy day here. As we drove by Plymouth & Penn, we said a prayer for Tom B (whom we met last week).


Democrat Valentine's Day cards

Courtesy: www.gop.com

GOP delegate math

Received in email from McCain campaign today:

Last night, after our strong victories in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC, I put together an analysis of the state of the race for the Republican nomination. Including the delegates won last night, John McCain is now close to securing the number of delegates needed to be the presumptive Republican nominee. In addition, it is now mathematically impossible for Mike Huckabee to win enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination; there simply aren’t enough delegates left at stake for him to win. Take a look at the following chart:

Results based on AP reporting Current Delegate Count Remaining Delegates Needed for Nomination Available Delegates % Needed to Win
McCain Delegate Count 839 352 774 35%
Huckabee Delegate Count 241 950 123%

Comment: Why Huckabee stays in (for now)

  1. There's always the possibility of "the miracle" (his words not mine).
  2. He runs a very lean campaign financially, and his burn rate for funds is not high
  3. On the social agenda, he is more conservative than John McCain; and continuing his campaign continues that message
  4. He is careful to criticize McCain, so his continuing the campaign keeps McCain in the media eye and could actually be better for the GOP in the long run
  5. I suspect that he would have a hard time saying "no" to running with McCain as VP
  6. Staying positions Huckabee for 2012!

2008 EZ 2 DO form

Comment: This relates to the Laffer curve: Laffer: A serious blow to economic health.

On the serious side of things, check out www.obamaspendometer.com

Laffer: a serious blow to the economic health of the country

That 'Stimulus' Nonsense


The proposed rebate of about $600 per man, woman and child is transferred to people based upon some characteristic other than work effort. In fact, if you've worked too hard and earned too much, you won't get a rebate. So in some instances the rebate actually requires the absence of work effort. Now it's true that some of the people receiving the rebate may also be workers, but working is not the reason each person receives the rebate; it's simply because he or she is a human being. Thus rebate recipients are given command over real resources for doing something other than working.

In this world of ours, those resources going to the rebate recipients don't come from the Tooth Fairy. They have to come from workers and producers. If the resources come from workers and producers who thereby receive less for their work than they otherwise would have received, won't they in turn spend less? Of course they'll spend less, and the people who now supply them with less will also spend less, and so on down the line.

As my former colleague and friend Milton Friedman liked to say, "There's no such thing as a free lunch," and this rebate is exactly what he meant. The net effect is that the reduction in demand from those who pay the real resources will be exactly the same size as the increase in demand from the rebate recipients. It's sad but true. Income effects always net to zero in a closed system.

To see this point from a more generic standpoint, if the price of apples rises, it is true that apple growers are better off. Their income effects go way up, and they can spend more. But apple consumers are worse off because their incomes go down by the exact same amount, and they have to spend less.

All of the stimulative effects of the rebate to the recipients will be 100% offset by the destimulative effects of the increase in liabilities of the workers and producers who have to pay for the transfer of resources to the rebate recipients. There is no stimulus from a rebate, period.

But even though the income effects net to zero, the substitution effects accumulate, and they accumulate in a most unpleasant way. This should be obvious to even a person untrained in economics. Ask yourself why not a $40,000 rebate per person, indexed for inflation of course, if a $600 rebate is so good. Heck, why don't we give rebates equal to GDP, so that everyone who doesn't work and doesn't produce receives everything, and all those who do work and do produce receive nothing?

GDP would go to zero in a New York minute if workers and producers got nothing for their work effort. And, as fate will have it, any rebate will reduce output because it reduces incentives to produce output. The larger the rebate, the greater the reduction in the incentives to work and the greater the reduction in output. It's as simple as that. This $170 billion rebate camouflaged as economic stimulus will deal a serious blow to the economic health of the country.

Comment: Arthur Laffer is "father of" the Laffer curve. Here's the problem: We all want that check! We are more concerned about our own personal finances than the fiscal health of the country. And we are more concerned with today than the Billions that will have to be repaid by our great grand children (we'll be dead by the time they are in the work force). I want that check too! (I also would like to eat M & M's for dinner every night!. Sometimes we choose to do what's best!)