Bear shimmy

Tunguska anniversary

100 years later, Tunguska remains mysterious


The explosion near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River on June 30, 1908, flattened some 500,000 acres (2,000 square kilometers) of Siberian forest. Scientists calculated the Tunguska explosion could have been roughly as strong as 10 megatons to 20 megatons of TNT — 1,000 times more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The longstanding theory regarding the cause of the event is a cosmic impact from an asteroid or comet. In the last decade, researchers have conjectured the event was triggered by an asteroid exploding in Earth's atmosphere and measuring roughly 100 feet wide (30 meters) and 617,300 tons (560,000 metric tons) in mass — more than 10 times that of the Titanic.

But recent supercomputer simulations suggest the asteroid that caused the extensive damage was much smaller.

Specifically, physicist Mark Boslough at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M., and his colleagues say it would have been a factor of three or four times smaller in mass and perhaps 65 feet (20 meters) in diameter. As the asteroid exploded as it ran into Earth's atmosphere, Boslough and colleagues calculate it would have generated a supersonic jet of expanding superheated gas. This fireball would have caused blast waves that were stronger at the surface than previously thought.

Tunguska event


The Tunguska Event, or Tunguska explosion, was a massive explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya (Lower Stony) Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia, at around 7:14 a.m.[1] (0:14 UT, 7:02 a.m. local solar time) on June 30, 1908 (June 17 in the Julian calendar, in use locally at the time).

The explosion was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3–6 miles) above Earth's surface. Different studies have yielded varying estimates for the object's size, with general agreement that it was a few tens of metres across.

Comment: It will happen again: Revelation 8:10

Disturbing trend or underwater volcanic eruptions?

Arctic's First Ice-Free Summer Possible Even This Year


The distinct possibity that this summer -- for the first time in recorded history -- the North pole could be free of sea ice, is now a common subject of discussion among the world's climate experts.

Volcanic eruptions reshape Arctic ocean floor


Recent massive volcanoes have risen from the ocean floor deep under the Arctic ice cap, spewing plumes of fragmented magma into the sea, scientists who filmed the aftermath reported Wednesday.

The eruptions -- as big as the one that buried Pompei -- took place in 1999 along the Gakkel Ridge, an underwater mountain chain snaking 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) from the northern tip of Greenland to Siberia.

Scientists suspected even at the time that a simultaneous series of earthquakes were linked to these volcanic spasms.

But when a team led of scientists led by Robert Sohn of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts finally got a first-ever glimpse of the ocean floor 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) beneath the Arctic pack ice, they were astonished.

What they saw was unmistakable evidence of explosive eruptions rather than the gradual secretion of lava bubbling up from Earth's mantle onto the ocean floor.

Previous research had concluded that this kind of so-called pyroclastic eruption could not happen at such depths due to the crushing pressure of the water.

"On land, explosive volcanic eruptions are nothing exceptional, although they present a major threat," said Vera Schlindwein, a geologist with Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute for Sea and Polar Research, which took part in the study.

Comment: Mainstream media want to point to "global warming" ... but perhaps it is just "underwater heating"!

LEO pioneer dies

David Caminer, a Pioneer in Computers, Dies at 92


Lyons was the first company in the world to computerize its commercial operations, partly because it had so many of them: it had more than 200 teahouses in London and its suburbs, with each Lyons Corner House daily generating thousands of paper receipts and needing scores of fresh baked items.

In addition to running the tea shops, Lyons catered large events like tennis at Wimbledon and garden parties at Windsor Castle; it also operated hotels, laundries, and ice cream, candy and meat pie companies. And, of course, tea plantations.

As a result, the company required exceptionally efficient office support. So it was only natural it would look at the “electronic brains” that scientists in the United States were developing for scientific and military purposes as a way to streamline its own empire. Mr. Caminer’s role was finding ways to retain traditional clerical rigor while speeding up the company’s logistics and finances many times over.

The result was LEO, its name derived from Lyons Electronic Office. The Economist magazine called it “the first dedicated business machine to operate on the ‘stored program principle,’ meaning that it could be quickly reconfigured to perform different tasks by loading a new program.”

“LEO’s early success owed less to its hardware than to its highly innovative systems-oriented approach to programming, devised and led by David Caminer,” Computer Weekly said last year.

LEO performed its first calculation on Nov. 17, 1951, running a program to evaluate costs, prices and margins of that week’s baked output. At that moment, Lyons was years ahead of I.B.M. and the other computer giants that eventually overtook it.

Mr. Caminer has been called the first corporate electronic systems analyst, a designation with which Mr. Ceruzzi agreed.

The finished LEO, which had less than 100,000th the power of a current PC, could calculate an employee’s pay in 1.5 seconds, a job that took an experienced clerk eight minutes. Its success led Lyons to set up a computer subsidiary that later developed two more generations of LEO, the last with transistors, rather than the noisy vacuum tubes used in the first two models.

LEOs were sold to the Ford Motor Company, tobacco companies, a steel maker, South Africa, Australia, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, among other buyers. When the British government chose the last LEO to handle its telephone billing system, Tony Benn, postmaster general, praised Lyons for “standing up to and beating on its own merits” the competition from overseas.

Wikipedia: The British LEO I (Lyons Electronic Office I)


J. Lyons and Co., one of the UK's leading catering and food manufacturing companies in the first half of the 20th century, sent two of its senior managers to the USA in 1947 to look at new business methods developed during the Second World War. During their visit they came across digital computers then used exclusively for engineering and mathematical computations. They saw the potential of computers to help solve the problem of administering a major business enterprise. They also learned that Cambridge University, back in the UK, was actually building such a machine, the pioneering EDSAC computer.

On their return to company headquarters in London they made a recommendation to the Lyons' Board that Lyons should acquire or build a computer to meet their business needs. This was accepted, and it was agreed that Cambridge University should receive some financial support if the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory gave some help to the Lyons' initiative.

Cambridge provided training and support for the Lyons' engineers. By 1949 they had the basics of a computer specifically designed for business data processing running and on 17 November 1951 rolled out the first commercial business application. The computer was called the LEO—Lyons Electronic Office.

LEO Computers Society

Comment: I know quite a bit about computing history, but today was my introduction to LEO!


Windows: an obese monolith

Windows Could Use a Rush of Fresh Air


Windows has put on a lot of weight over the years.

Beginning as a thin veneer for older software code, it has become an obese monolith built on an ancient frame. Adding features, plugging security holes, fixing bugs, fixing the fixes that never worked properly, all while maintaining compatibility with older software and hardware — is there anything Windows doesn’t try to do?

Painfully visible are the inherent design deficiencies of a foundation that was never intended to support such weight. Windows seems to move an inch for every time that Mac OS X or Linux laps it.

The best solution to the multiple woes of Windows is starting over. Completely. Now.

Comment: Check out the NYTimes graphic with the MAX "X" superimposed over "Windows". Better to have a solid operating system (Linux / Unix) with a great graphical user interface (eg MAC with Aqua) than the blob of Windows.

Better options than email

I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip


The first step was to decide which social software tools were available for me to use much more extensively. The second was to encourage people to stop using e-mail themselves and to start using some of these same social software tools as well, to share their knowledge and collaborate with one another.

Most social networking tools I use are pretty standard. Instant messaging is my preferred method of collaboration and knowledge sharing while at work because it allows real-time interaction. If an instant-message exchange lasts more than three minutes, I usually move the discussion to the telephone.

Other software used at I.B.M. helps me collaborate in various areas: blogs, social bookmarking and tagging, participation in online communities to which I belong, and an alert system for to-do items.

I.B.M. uses a Facebook-like site called Beehive and a personalized internal directory called Profiles. These help build trust levels with peers in order to get a job done much faster, and they easily locate experts in a particular subject. I share and update big files with a file sharing system that cuts down on the back-and-forth of sending big presentations and video files.

Say someone asks to view a presentation you have done recently, and you decide to share it via an open “file sharing” space. Then, before you know it, strangers thank you for sharing that presentation, which they will be reusing themselves within their own projects. That kind of immediate impact would be unlikely through e-mail.

I use a couple of R.S.S./Atom feed readers, which have become not just another in-box, but my primary method of receiving notifications of content relevant to my work. They give me control of what I receive and when, something I couldn’t say when I was relying much more heavily on e-mail.

Comment: We've been using Sharepoint to share calendars, files, etc. My publications have an RSS feed. Some good ideas in this article.


the Second Amendment came within a single vote of becoming a dead Constitutional letter

Silver Bullet


... it all the more troubling that no less than four Justices were willing to explain this right away. These are the same four liberal Justices who routinely invoke the "right to privacy" – which is nowhere in the text of the Constitution – as a justification for asserting various social rights. Yet in his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens argues that a right to bear arms that is plainly in the text adheres to an individual only if he is sanctioned by government.

Justice Breyer, who wrote a companion dissent, takes a more devious tack. He wants to establish an "interest-balancing test" to weigh the Constitutionality of particular restrictions on gun ownership. This balancing test is best understood as a roadmap for vitiating the practical effects of Heller going forward.

Using Justice Breyer's "test," judges could accept the existence of an individual right to bear arms in theory, while whittling it down to nothing by weighing that right against the interests of the government in preventing gun-related violence. Having set forth this supposedly neutral standard, Justice Breyer shows his policy hand by arguing that under this standard the interests of the District of Columbia would outweigh Mr. Heller's interest in defending himself, and the ban should thus be upheld.

But as Justice Scalia writes, no other Constitutional right is subjected to this sort of interest-balancing. "The very enumeration of the right takes [it] out of the hands of government" – even the hands of Olympian judges like Stephen Breyer. "Like the First, [the Second Amendment] is the very product of an interest-balancing by the people – which Justice Breyer would now conduct for them anew."

Comment: Good read.

Bizarre origins of wedding traditions

Bizarre origins of wedding traditions


Saving the wedding cake

Why do couples eat freezer-burned wedding cake on their one-year anniversary? To answer this, we must look to the lyrics of a schoolyard classic: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage! It used to be assumed that when there was a wedding, a christening would follow shortly. So, rather than bake two cakes for the occasions, they'd just bake one big one and save a part of it to be eaten at a later date when the squealing bundle of joy arrived.

Eventually folks warmed to the idea of giving the poor kid his own, newly baked cake, but the custom of saving a portion of the wedding cake far longer than it should be saved and then eating it and deluding oneself to believe that it actually tastes good is one that persists to this day.

Comment: We saved the top of our wedding cake and ate it on our one-year anniversary (12/28/75). It was pretty good!

Eye-Fi Wireless SD Card Review

On second thought, after viewing this review, it doesn't look that useful!

The Eye-Fi Share card

When Your Camera Knows Where You Are


.... the Eye-Fi Share card [is] a 2-gigabyte memory card ($100), compatible with most digital cameras, with a twist: it has Wi-Fi networking built in. Each time you bring your camera home to your wireless network, it transmits your photos back to the computer, automatically and wirelessly. It can also upload them to Flickr, Picasa or another online photo-gallery site, automatically and wirelessly.

What’s the point? First, you’re saved the trouble of finding and attaching your U.S.B. transfer cable. Second, you skip the multi- step hassle of manually uploading the fresh pictures to a photo-sharing site.

Comment: It's a little pricey but looks very interesting. I'm going to wait before I buy this! Read the NYTimes article for an explaination of how it works.

A "fear-session"

Wells Fargo Economist: Current crisis showing signs of easing


The current economic crisis is being driven more by fear than facts and should begin to ease in the second half of 2008, an economic forecaster told a group of executives in Houston on Thursday.

Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for Wells Fargo Capital Management, offered a new word to describe the current state of affairs in the country. Rather than a recession, Paulsen suggests the country is in a "fear-session" that is not supported by underlying positive signs beginning to bubble up to the surface.

"If we're in a recession, it's the most widely anticipated recession ever," Paulsen said, in an address to oil industry executives sponsored by the Houston-based Wells Fargo Energy Group. "Everyone bought into (a recession) long before it happened, and it really still hasn't happened. This is more a crisis of confidence than a crisis of credit."

Instead, Paulsen suggested that the country is in a "mid-cycle economic slowdown" and sees positive trends beginning to emerge, despite the continued woes of the automobile and housing sectors. The current situation is a normal evolution in a capitalistic society, he added.

Paulsen pointed out that profit margins among non-financial sector U.S. corporations are running at near post-World War II highs, with double-digit profit growth in the fourth quarter of 2007 and first quarter of 2008.

"Yes, things are pretty nasty in housing and the automobile sector," Paulsen said. "But look at what contributes the other 93 percent of the gross domestic product -- and it's up 4 percent this quarter."

In the next 12 months, Paulsen predicts oil prices could slip as the U.S. dollar gains strength against the euro and Canadian dollar.

Comment: Interesting read.


The 3,000 Mile Oil Change Myth

The 3,000 Mile Oil Change Myth


It’s been a misconception for years that engine oil should be changed every 3000 miles, even though most auto manufacturers now recommend oil changes at 5,000, 7,000, or even 10,000 mile intervals under normal driving conditions.

Greatly improved oils, including synthetic oils, coupled with better engines mean longer spans between oil changes without harming an engine. The 3000 mile interval is a carryover from days when engines used single-grade, non-detergent oils.

Comment: Great tip

'Footprints' Forensics

Comment: There are various versions. Below is one:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

'Footprints' Forensics: Families battle over who owns the famous poem


"Author Unknown" once asked Jesus why there was only one set of footprints in the sand during life's most perilous moments.

Now a federal court on Long Island is trying to decide just whose footprints were next to Jesus' during the better times.

Basil Zangare of Shirley, New York, claims they belonged to his late mother, Mary Stevenson, and that she's the "author unknown" whose "Footprints in the Sand" poem is depicted on countless posters, coffee mugs, and pocket cards.

Zangare filed suit on May 12 in federal court, claiming his mother penned the famous words in the 1930s and registered them with the U.S. Copyright Office in 1984.

"My client wants to preserve for all time the knowledge in the public that his mother wrote this poem," said Zangare's lawyer, Richard Bartel, who is based in Remsenburg, New York.

Not so fast, says the lawyer for Canadian traveling evangelist Margaret Fishback Powers, one of the women named in Zangare's suit.

"In a nutshell, it's baseless," said Powers's San Francisco attorney, John A. Hughes.

Hughes said Zangare waited too long to sue and, besides, the registration of a copyright doesn't prove absolute authorship. Powers, who lives in Coquitlam, British Columbia, is the only one with a registered trademark for "Footprints" and "Footprints in the Sand," he said.

"Footprints in the Sand"

Comment: I personally think the poem is sappy drivel! But to each their own!

Three versions



Comment: For all you SCOTUS and 2nd Amendment fans .. here are the details. Link has the full ruling.


The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment . The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.

Help for Iowa?

Where are all of the Hollywood celebrities holding telethons asking for help in restoring Iowa and helping the folks affected by the floods?

Where is all the media asking the tough questions about why the federal government hasn't solved the problem? Asking where the FEMA trucks (and trailers) are?

Why isn't the Federal Government relocating Iowa people to free hotels in

Where are the $2000 debit cards for all the poor folks in Iowa?

When will Spike Lee say that the Federal Government blew up the levees that failed in Des Moines?

Where are Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks?

Where are all the looters stealing high-end tennis shoes and big screen television sets?

When will we hear Governor Chet Culver say that he wants to rebuild a 'vanilla' Iowa, because that's the way God wants it?

Where is the hysterical 24/7 media coverage complete with reports of cannibalism?

Where are the people declaring that George Bush hates white, rural people?

How come in 2 weeks, you will never hear about the Iowa flooding ever again?

Comment: Sent to me by my B-I-L

The long awaited 2nd Amendment case

Court: A constitutional right to a gun


Answering a 127-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the majority stressed that the Court was not casting doubt on long-standing bans on gun possession by felons or the mentally retarded, or laws barring guns from schools or government buildings, or laws putting conditions on gun sales.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290), the Court nullified two provisions of the city of Washington’s strict 1976 gun control law: a flat ban on possessing a gun in one’s home, and a requirement that any gun — except one kept at a business — must be unloaded and disassembled or have a trigger lock in place.

Court rules in favor of Second Amendment gun right


The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for four colleagues, said the Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home."

Comment: I was hoping for a 7-2 or 6-3 decision. That was 5-4 underscores the importance of Bush's appointments to the Supreme Court. Had Gore in 2000 or Kerry in 2004 been elected the outcome would have been against this! Watch for Obama's reaction to this!


The Roll'n Pour

The Roll'n Pour

Comment: My latest Prosper loan was to the inventor of this product.

Exurbs untenable?

Life on the fringes of U.S. suburbia becomes untenable with rising gas costs


Suddenly, the economics of American suburban life are under assault as skyrocketing energy prices inflate the costs of reaching, heating and cooling homes on the outer edges of metropolitan areas.

Just off Singing Hills Road, in one of hundreds of two-story homes dotting a former cattle ranch beyond the southern fringes of Denver, Phil Boyle and his family openly wonder if they will have to move close to town to get some relief.

They still revel in the space and quiet that has drawn a steady exodus from U.S. cities toward places like this for more than half a century. Their living room ceiling soars two stories high. A swing-set sways in the breeze in their backyard. Their wrap-around porch looks out over the flat scrub of the high plains to the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

But life on the distant fringes of suburbia is beginning to feel untenable. Boyle and his wife must drive nearly an hour to their jobs in the high-tech corridor of southern Denver. With gasoline at more than $4 a gallon, Boyle recently paid $121 to fill his pickup truck with diesel. The price of propane to heat their spacious house has more than doubled in recent years.

Comment: It would be great if the energy crisis revitalized the cities!


Ed White obituary

Oregon trip

Kathee and I returned last night from our Oregon trip. Some photos and brief comments.

We flew into San Francisco last Wednesday. We rented a Mustang. Turns out it was a brand new 2008 coupe with only 43 miles on it. When we returned it, it has 1250 miles on it.

We drove through downtown San Fran and across the Golden Gate:

Up the California coast ...

Into Crescent City:

The funeral service for Kathee's brother Ed was at Eagle Point National Cemetery (Oregon)

On Saturday we drove up to Crater Lake (Oregon):

Sunday we drove down I-5 from Medford, past Mount Shasta and into San Francisco.

We stopped at this gas station in Weed California. Mount Shasta in the background:


  1. The Mustang is not nearly as nice as my Impala and it has no back seat to speak of. But it looks good.
  2. Gas was $ 4.799 per gallon up in California and Oregon. There is no self-serve gas in Oregon. Men come out and fill up the car and wash the windshield (like the '60s). Gas was $ 3.819 when we returned to Plymouth!
  3. After dinner in San Fran, the skies were smokey. And just to our N was a fire on San Bruno Mountain
  4. Northwest charged me $ 25. to upgrade to an aisle seat for the return trip. This is despite the fact that my profile in Orbitz specifies aisle as my preference (I would be hard pressed to get into a middle or window seat).
  5. On the flight out, I used my IPod for the first time. I did not know how to turn it on, an 8th grader in the seat next to me helped me through the menu!
  6. At a funeral one ponders his mortality. I did and I'm glad I'm saved!

Back to work today. No pictures (it would be depressing!)


Al Gore: An Inconvenient Hypocrite

Energy Guzzled by Al Gore’s Home in Past Year Could Power 232 U.S. Homes for a Month


NASHVILLE - In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

In February 2007, An Inconvenient Truth, a film based on a climate change speech developed by Gore, won an Academy Award for best documentary feature. The next day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research uncovered that Gore’s Nashville home guzzled 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home’s windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the “green” overhaul.

Since taking steps to make his home more environmentally-friendly last June, Gore devours an average of 17,768 kWh per month –1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations – at a cost of $16,533. By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

In the wake of becoming the most well-known global warming alarmist, Gore won an Oscar, a Grammy and the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, Gore saw his personal wealth increase by an estimated $100 million thanks largely to speaking fees and investments related to global warming hysteria.

“Actions speak louder than words, and Gore’s actions prove that he views climate change not as a serious problem, but as a money-making opportunity,” Johnson said. “Gore is exploiting the public’s concern about the environment to line his pockets and enhance his profile.”

Comment: Title says it all

Firefox 3 available

Firefox 3

Comment: It really is better (Firefox) than IE 6 or IE 7. And now the long awaiting release 3 is available. I loaded on my Macbook today.


Corvette ZR1 assembly

Comment: Very cool! I want one (never gonna happen!)

Chelsea Iowa: The town that wouldn't move

A Town That Looked at Leaving the Floodplain but Stayed On


In 1993, when floodwaters inundated Chelsea, population 297, and thousands of other communities across the Midwest, killing 50 people and damaging 50,000 homes in nine states, the people here, unlike those in most places, decided to think long and hard about moving the whole community to higher ground.

Despite the heartache involved, moving out of the floodplain in Tama County seemed like a good idea, and the City Council voted to move as much of Chelsea as possible out of harm’s way.

But the reality of the move proved much more contentious than the idea, and just a few homeowners ended up taking advantage of the federal aid available for relocation and buyouts.

Now here is Chelsea again, under about six feet of water at the lowest point, second-guessing everything but also staunchly defending its right to exist exactly where it wants to.

After the 1993 flood, the Federal Emergency Management Agency spent more than $150 million in the nine affected states, buying and tearing down nearly 12,000 houses, moving more than 300 to safer places and elevating 31.

In Chelsea, the owners of more than 40 houses left. A majority stayed put after considering the options. Some said they could not bear another flood, but many more said they would not sacrifice the rich history of their community for the certainty of staying dry in a new, generic place.

Comment: Kathee and I love the small towns of Iowa. I feel badly for all of the flood victims, but in this case they should have moved out of the floodplain.

Map below:

View Larger Map


Remembering the ‘Daisy Ad’

Man Who Helped Create ‘Daisy Ad’ Dies


Tony Schwartz, a self-taught, sought-after and highly reclusive media consultant who helped create what is generally considered to be the most famous political ad to appear on television, died Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 84.

Comment: In my mind, this ad and the Willie Horton ad (honorable mention to Reagan's "Morning in America") are perhaps the most powerful polical ads ever aired.

McCain is a patient man

Comment: From CNN.

The Last Jew in Afghanistan

The Last Jew in Afghanistan


KABUL, Afghanistan – Behind a metal door on Flower Street, past a courtyard piled with junk, up some steep concrete stairs and along a narrow corridor with ornate metal railings in the style of Stars of David, lives the last Jew in Afghanistan. His home is a side-room off the synagogue; a thin mattress laid along one wall is his bed. In one corner, there is a small table with dusty prayer books, three folding chairs, a crumbling carpet, and a few pictures on the wall, including one of a bearded Hassidic Jew. In the corner by the door, opposite the guest’s chair, there is a small blackboard with his name spelled clearly in chalk: Zebulon Simantov. "So that journalists spell my name correctly," he said.

Afghan Jew Becomes Country's One and Only


KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 26 [2005] -- When Zablon Simintov found Ishaq Levin sprawled on the cement synagogue floor last week, he immediately realized two things: His housemate and archnemesis of nearly seven years was dead, and he was now in all likelihood the last Afghan Jew still living in the country.

"I'm not sad about that," Simintov said with a frown Wednesday. He acknowledged dryly that he would not miss Levin, an octogenarian who apparently died of natural causes. Simintov, 44, had feuded bitterly with him for as long as the two men occupied separate rooms in the ruins of the only remaining synagogue in Kabul.

Moreover, the former carpet trader said he had spent years watching Afghanistan's once vibrant Jewish populace shrink to virtually nothing. The community dated back 800 years and still numbered 5,000 in 1948, but most remaining families fled the violence and repression that followed the Soviet invasion of 1979.

Comment: Sad to think that his community that once numbered in the thousands is now defunct!


I agree with Obama

Obama Sharply Assails Absent Black Fathers


“We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception.”

“Too many fathers are M.I.A, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes,” Mr. Obama said, to a chorus of approving murmurs from the audience. “They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”

Comment: I agree with Obama on this point!

Or does he!

“Mark Dever doesn’t practice separation?”


Really? Some have said this. But, I must confess that this comes as a surprise to me. I think defining marks of my time at CHBC have been involved with separation

Comment: Good article. Somertimes "fundies" separation along party lines and over personalities instead of genuine Biblical grounds. We have good friends who are members of Dever's church.

Will Minnesota elect a "clown"?

Not the Al Franken Decade


"Democrats in Minnesota are just pulling their hair out,'' says Larry Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota. He told Bloomberg News: "You've got an environment that's very favorable to Democrats and a Republican incumbent who's clearly vulnerable.''

National Democrats claim not to be worried. Senator Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic Senate campaign committee, tells reporters the party's game plan is simple: "You look at all the things Al Franken said as a comedian... and then you say simply that Norm Coleman supports the war and supports President Bush 90-plus percent of the time. Franken wins by ten points."

Comment: I predict that we won't!

Coping with the digital deluge

Lost in E-Mail, Tech Firms Face Self-Made Beast


A typical information worker who sits at a computer all day turns to his e-mail program more than 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to one measure by RescueTime, a company that analyzes computer habits. The company, which draws its data from 40,000 people who have tracking software on their computers, found that on average the worker also stops at 40 Web sites over the course of the day.

Comment: The "digital deluge" is the story of my "work" life.


Saturday miscellanea

  1. I took off yesterday to complete my reading of Biblical Separation. I volunteered to do a book review for SharperIron. It's not published on S/I yet but I posted it over at 4BYA.info
  2. Kathee and I finalized our travel plans to Medford Oregon next week.
  3. I have a new small camera that I am checking out. Haven't figured out all the options yet.
  4. One of our cats, Blue, was stuck in the garage all night. He is very happy to be inside (and is now sleeping on our bed)
  5. I think I killed a little critter (chipmonk) with the mower. He wasn't cut and was still soft and supple but was dead under a mowing row. I felt bad about it (still do).
  6. The 4th Young adults sent 2 packages to a Marine in Iraq. I received news that one arrived.
  7. Kathee and I sorted through a giant stack of stuff that needed attention (like AARP renewal ... etc) - nothing high priority but it was bugging K.
  8. We are home alone today. Soon to go to the grocery store.

Irish reject Lisbon treaty

Irish voters reject EU treaty


Europe was thrown into political chaos Friday by Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, a painstakingly negotiated blueprint for consolidating the European Union's power and streamlining its increasingly unwieldy bureaucracy.

The defeat of the treaty, by a vote of 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent, was the result of a highly organized campaign that played to Irish voters' deepest fears about the EU. For all its benefits, many people feel, the Union is remote, undemocratic and ever more inclined to strip its smaller members of the right to make their own laws and decide their own futures.

Although the Irish are less than 1 percent of the EU population of almost 500 million, the repercussions of the vote Thursday - whose results were announced Friday - are enormous. To take effect, the treaty must be ratified by all 27 members of the EU. So the defeat by a single country, even one as tiny as Ireland, has the potential effect of stopping the whole thing cold.

Comment: Lisbon Treaty. Good for them!

Global warming frenzy

Global Warming and the Price of a Gallon of Gas


Through all history, Earth has shifted between two basic climate regimes: ice ages and what paleoclimatologists call “Interglacial periods”. For the past 10 thousand years the Earth has been in an interglacial period. That might well be called nature’s global warming because what happens during an interglacial period is the Earth warms up, the glaciers melt and life flourishes. Clearly from our point of view, an interglacial period is greatly preferred to the deadly rigors of an ice age. Mr. Gore and his crowd would have us believe that the activities of man have overwhelmed nature during this interglacial period and are producing an unprecedented, out of control warming.

Comment: Excellent read


Dropped in on friends last night

Kathee was at the church cleaning the church kitchen with a group of half a dozen women. What to do? Well I fell asleep in my recliner for about 20 minutes until a contractor knocked on my door. (We had hail damage on May 31st and our neighborhood is swarming with contractors looking for work). By the time I woke up he was already leaving, but I was awake.

I decided to get a cup of coffee at Caribou but wanted company. I drove by John & Chery T's. from our church. John was cleaning gutters. I drove into their driveway and surprised him. I invited him (and Cheryl who soon came outside to greet me) to go out for coffee. Instead they invited me in for coffee, salad, tea, and home made rhubarb pie. I sat on their back porch and fellowshipped with them until 9:10 p.m.

It's great to have Christian friends!


Free speech sometimes does offend

Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech


A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different [there]. The magazine is on trial.

Comment: Freedom of speech and religious freedom go hand in hand.

I changed the "here" to a "there" because the Byline location is Canada!

They have no idea what happens

Commentary: McMahon shouldn't be the face of foreclosure


Unlike many others, McMahon was not looking for a handout or to put the blame on anyone but himself. "Well, if you spend more money than you make," he told Larry King, "you know what happens."

Unfortunately, that's exactly the problem: Most people have no idea what happens when they overspend. And even if they do, they're not willing to take responsibility for their own actions.

"How can this be?" they demand. "I was guaranteed the American dream! I was told to buy as much house as a bank would let me, and then take out another loan to make the house even bigger. I was told to buy big televisions and luxury cars and to take great vacations and drink great wine."

Comment: From Warren Vanhetloo today:

Most of us would do anything to keep from being different. We'd much rather blend into the woodwork. One of our greatest fears is being ostracized, rejected by 'the group.' There are other fears - fear of being made to look foolish, fear of being talked about and misunderstood. We are like Gulliver of old, tied down and immobilized by tiny strands of fear, real or imagined. The result is both predictable and tragic: loss of courage. It takes courage to think alone, to resist alone, to stand alone - especially when the crowd seems so safe, so right.

Let me suggest four thoughts to help bolster your courage: 1). 'I am responsible.' I said that to myself so many times in the Marine Corps that I got sick of hearing myself say it! Today I still repeat those three words. 2). 'I must not forget.' We must not forget the Lord our God and what He has done for us. 3). 'I am accountable.' I am accountable to God whether I am in Asia, at the tip of South America, or at the North Pole. 4). 'I get my standard and security from God.' Not from my friend, not from my business, not even from within myself. Christ is my surety. Remember, just because 'everybody's doing it' doesn't mean it's either safe or right. Keep flying high above the crowd. Up there it doesn't just seem safe and right, it is safe and right." - C. S.


Our study in Ephesians last night was from 5:1-17. This is not about the housing crisis or about overspending or about foreclosures.

"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. ... For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience".

There are millions of people who "have no idea what happens" with regard to one's relationship with a Holy God. The Gospel is the answer!


Is there a Michelle Obama "Whitey" video?

Larry Johnson’s Michelle Obama Tape Update

Comment: More speculation. If Hillary were to have it, it would be released in the lead up to the Democratic convention. If the Republicans have it, it will be their October surprise.

New crutches

In the corner of my garage, I have about 6 pairs of crutches that are ready for the recycling center. The problem with them: the cuffs are cheap. Some have stamped steel cuffs with a plastic cover. The cover wears thin and then the cuff rusts. Others have broken at the hinge of the cuff and the crutch. Another is bent.

Two years ago I bought the Cadillac of crutches from Thomas Fetterman: Titanium, custom cut to my height (no need for adjustments), ultra tuff tips, extra sturdy cuffs, etc.

This week I am getting my second set. Since I don't use them in the house, I keep a pair of crutches in my car and another in my truck. The truck pair basically is wasted (the rusting cuff).

I ordered my second set on May 5th ... I just got the shipping notification today. I'll be showing these off at church on Sunday!


Reality: Sex and the City

Study: 1 in 4 adults in NYC have herpes virus


A city Health Department study finds that more than a fourth of adult New Yorkers are infected with the virus that causes genital herpes.
The study, released Monday, says about 26 percent of New York City adults have genital herpes, compared to about 19 percent nationwide.

The department says genital herpes can double a person's risk for contracting HIV.

Herpes can cause painful sores, but most people have no recognizable symptoms.

Comment: Ephesians 5:1-7, "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Comment # 2: There would be nothing glamorous about having warts on one's privates!!

A related article (HT The Drudge Report): Threat of world Aids pandemic among heterosexuals is over

Fact: Monogamous sex in marriage is safe sex! Wow God knows something!

Lack of investment to blame

BP chief Tony Hayward says lack of investment to blame for oil spike


"Producers are being hampered by 25 years of low investments, because of low prices," Mr Hayward told the Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur today. "The result is a supply chain being stretched to breaking point."

Comment: & speculation & The Fed's strategy


Zhang dismissed the idea that rising demands in industrializing countries such as China and India should be blamed for the surge of oil prices.

"This is an incomprehensive idea since decisive factors for oil prices have run further beyond the concept of supply and demand," Zhang said in his speech at the energy ministers meeting between India, China, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Zhang noted that from 2003 to 2006, world oil consumption posed annual increases of 1.9 percent, 3.8 percent, 1.2 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. "The rates were all in normal range."

He suggested that his counterparts put the rising oil prices into the context of global financial market, which could be affected by a wide range of factors such as the change of exchange rates, geopolitics, political instabilities and natural disasters.

"All these may turn to be reasons for speculation, ...and from this way of thinking, an answer to the current record high oil price could be found," Zhang said.

Excerpt (view article for chart):

The Fed's strategy has triggered a dollar rout and commodity boom that has sent food and energy prices soaring. The nearby chart shows how oil prices have risen as interest rates have fallen. This commodity spike has made a recession more likely, not less. The trend is ominous enough that early last week Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke finally dropped his not-so-benign neglect and talked up the dollar; oil prices fell.


Ed, my Brother-in-Law, died

I sadly announce the death of Ed White, Kathee's Brother. Ed was vacationing in Colorado when he was suddenly stricken. He was hospitalized for a day before he expired.

Ed was a Vietnam vet and retired from the Navy. He was a helicopter mechanic for many years. He love wood working and travel.

Funeral arrangements have not been set. Ed and his wife Janie are from Medford Oregon.

Kathee and I will soon be traveling.

From my Brother-in-Law, Dave (Kathee's oldest brother):

I am writing to with some very sad news. My brother, Ed, passed away on June 7 in Parker, Colorado. He and Janey had driven their RV to Parker to visit Janey’s daughter and family. Shortly after arriving on Friday, he did not feel well and went to lie down on the bed. Janey looked in on him an hour later and he was not responsive. He was taken to the hospital and placed on life support. The doctors gave little hope for recovery, so on Saturday evening the life support was removed. This decision was made knowing his wishes and consultation with the family.

A memorial service is planned at a later date in Oregon.

Ed was 67 years old. He and Janey had been married for 6 years. They were the best of friends and enjoyed living in Central Point. Ed’s battle with cancer the last 5 years has limited their activities, but both of them had a very positive attitude about life. You never heard either of them complain about the “hand they had been dealt”.

I have many good memories about growing up with Ed. On the farm in Mattoon we slept together, walked to school together, and played baseball and basketball together. All of these activities plus many more were the basis for many great stories that Ed loved to tell later on in life. As all of you know, he spent 20 years in the Navy and served his country well. I had the chance to see him at some great spots around the world. My fondest memory was meeting him in Las Vegas after he came back from Viet Nam. He had just re-enlisted and was coming back from the war zone and looking for a good few days of R&R. It was wonderful to share the good time with him. After retiring from the Navy he moved to Oregon. Oregon offered him a lifestyle that fits his personality. He was always very creative in fixing and building things. He especially liked wood working. We have stools, bookends, and clocks around our house to remind of us his special talents. I will miss him!

Today was the installation service for our new Pastor Matt Morrell.

Sick joke from the U.N.

Your U.N. at Work


The General Assembly of the United Nations voted this week to elect Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann as its new president. Readers with a long memory will recall Father D'Escoto (he's a Catholic priest) as Nicaragua's foreign minister during the Sandinista regime of the 1980s. He's also the winner of the 1985 Lenin Prize. Only at the U.N. does that count as a recommendation.

The U.N. also voted to name the government of Burma – which otherwise has been busy preventing humanitarian assistance from reaching hundreds of thousands of its own needy victims of last month's devastating cyclone – as one of the Assembly's vice presidents. Only at the U.N. is this not considered an embarrassment.

Comment: Another reason the UN doesn't matter!


Dinner guests

Aldolfo, Adrianna & Isabella. Kathee is on the right.

The "i before e except after c" rule

Exceptions to the rule 'I before E except after C'

Comment: Instructor in my business writing class (SkillPath) provided this link.

Conclusion: "Instead of trying to defend the 'rule' or 'guideline', "'i' before 'e' except after 'c'", why don't we all just agree that it is dumb and useless, and be content just to laugh at it?"

Our "non-energy" policy

George Will: The gas prices we deserve


One million barrels is what might today be flowing from ANWR if in 1995 President Bill Clinton had not vetoed legislation to permit drilling there. One million barrels produce 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel. Seventy-two of today's senators — including Schumer, of course, and 38 other Democrats, including Barack Obama, and 33 Republicans, including John McCain — have voted to keep ANWR's estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil off the market.

So Schumer, according to Schumer, is complicit in taking $10 away from every American who buys 20 gallons of gasoline. "Democracy," said H.L. Mencken, "is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." The common people of New York want Schumer to be their senator, so they should pipe down about gasoline prices, which are a predictable consequence of their political choice.
The U.S. Minerals Management Service says that restricted area contains perhaps 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — 10 times as much oil and 20 times as much natural gas as Americans use in a year.

Drilling is underway 60 miles off Florida. The drilling is being done by China, in cooperation with Cuba, which is drilling closer to South Florida than U.S. companies are.

Comment: We want to be energy independent, but we don't want to drill our own resources, or have our own refineries, or have any new nuclear plants.

A failure of our will?

Iran and the Problem of Evil


Never before had there been such an organized campaign to destroy an entire "race," and it was therefore almost impossible to see it coming, or even to recognize it as it got under way.

The failure to understand what was happening took a well-known form: a systematic refusal to view our enemies plain. Hitler's rants, whether in "Mein Kampf" or at Nazi Party rallies, were often downplayed as "politics," a way of maintaining popular support. They were rarely taken seriously as solemn promises he fully intended to fulfill.

The world is simmering in the familiar rhetoric and actions of movements and regimes – from Hezbollah and al Qaeda to the Iranian Khomeinists and the Saudi Wahhabis – who swear to destroy us and others like us. Like their 20th-century predecessors, they openly proclaim their intentions, and carry them out whenever and wherever they can. Like our own 20th-century predecessors, we rarely take them seriously or act accordingly. More often than not, we downplay the consequences of their words, as if they were some Islamic or Arab version of "politics," intended for internal consumption, and designed to accomplish domestic objectives.

Then there is anti-Semitism. Old Jew-hating texts like "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," now in Farsi and Arabic, are proliferating throughout the Middle East. Calls for the destruction of the Jews appear regularly on Iranian, Egyptian, Saudi and Syrian television and are heard in European and American mosques. There is little if any condemnation from the West, and virtually no action against it, suggesting, at a minimum, a familiar Western indifference to the fate of the Jews.

Even today, when we are engaged on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, there is little apparent recognition that we are under attack by a familiar sort of enemy, and great reluctance to act accordingly. This time, ignorance cannot be claimed as an excuse. If we are defeated, it will be because of failure of will, not lack of understanding.

Comment: How dangerous is Ahmadinejad? Perhaps we should just listen to his own words!

David Levy at house today

Comment: This is one hard-working kid! He cleaned up blowdown from our willow trees.

At the Plymouth yard waste site: I tell the attendant that it is waste from my willows and hand him my D/L. The guy says to me: "Did I ask you to talk to me"?


When employees go NUTS!

Aussie "Man Drought"

Comment: Be sure to click the link for the graphic!

Man Drought


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the national gender ratio is 98 males to every 100 females. Compare to a global average of 102 males to every 100 females, and to countries like China, which has 107 males for every 100 females. Australia might not be the worst off in this regard; America's ratio is 97 males to every 100 females, and Estonia's is a distressing 85:100. But within Australia, the differences can be pronounced. Six out of Australia's eight states and territories have lower numbers of males than females.

One of Australia's leading demographers, Bernard Salt, has labeled the phenomenon a "man drought," and he argues it could have serious repercussions, especially since there are also pronounced swings in the gender ratios within age groups. While overall there are 27,000 more men in their 20s than there are women in the same age range, among 30-somethings women outnumber men by 15,000. Once you hit the 40s, women outnumber men by 23,000. And again, regional differences pop up. In parts of Sydney, there are only 85 men in the 25-to-35 age bracket for every 100 women in that category.

Where have all the men gone? Part of the disappearance is due to the risk-taking male psyche. Men are statistically more likely to engage in dangerous activities in their teens and 20s, too often with tragic results. But this is nothing new, and Mother Nature has compensated for it since time immemorial: At birth, males outnumber females by about 105 to 100.


The end of the SUV?

G.M. Shifts Focus to Small Cars in Sign of Sport Utility Demise


And in a humbling admission that the S.U.V. era is all but over, G.M., Detroit’s leading automaker, said it was considering selling the gas-guzzling Hummer brand it once regarded as a pillar of future growth.

In announcing the changes, Mr. Wagoner said $4-a-gallon gas prices had forced a “structural shift” by American consumers away from large vehicles into more fuel-efficient cars.

“These prices are changing consumer behavior and changing it rapidly,” Mr. Wagoner said before G.M.’s annual meeting in Wilmington, Del. “We don’t believe it’s a spike or a temporary shift. We believe it is permanent.”

But the day of reckoning for the full-size S.U.V. and its 14-miles-per-gallon fuel consumption has been coming for some time.

“At the peak in 2002, G.M. sold 600,000 full-size S.U.V.’s, but they’re on pace this year to sell less than 250,000 of them,” said David Healy, an analyst with Burnham Securities. “And the nails in the coffin are getting screwed down a little tighter.”

Big Vehicles Stagger Under the Weight of $4 Gas


With help from Jake Fisher, a senior automotive engineer at the Consumer Reports test track in Connecticut, I crunched some numbers this week to see how much more expensive these big vehicles had become. The answer is pretty simple: a lot more expensive.

While the F-250 costs $100,000 and a fully loaded F-150 — the better-known, smaller Ford pickup — costs about $70,000, a Ford Focus still costs less than $40,000 over five years. A Honda Civic Hybrid does, too. A Toyota Prius costs only a little more. A Subaru Outback station wagon runs $50,000 or so.

To put this in perspective, the difference between a Focus and an F-250 over five years is $60,000. The annual pretax income of a typical family in this country is also about $60,000. So choosing a F-250 over a Focus is like volunteering for a 20 percent pay cut. The relative resale values might cushion the blow a little, but not much.

That’s why more people are deciding that towing capacity and the other benefits of pickup trucks and S.U.V.’s are not worth the costs. The F-250 may still make sense for some business owners. But, as Mr. Fisher says, on those few occasions when the rest of us need to move some horses, we can rent a truck. “The new economics of car buying is, ‘Don’t overbuy,’ ” he told me. “Buy something you’re going to need most of the time.”

Comment: The end of the SUV? I hope so! (4 years ago I almost bought one. Gas was on the verge of $ 3.00 per gallon. We bought an Impala instead).


Predictions: General election themes

Bad Idea


McCain’s going to outchange the candidate of change? Please… What next? McCainiacs screaming “Yes we can” at the top of their lungs? John McCain… HOPE???

My predictions for themes (we will hear these until we are ready to hurl!):

Obama positive:

  1. Change
  2. Hope
  3. Help the middle class
  4. Some protectionism (anti-NAFTA) stuff
  5. Save the environment (the global warming thing) (for Dems this means higher taxes as does most of their proposals
  6. Universal health care

Obama negative (against McCain):

  1. 100 years in Iraq
  2. Something that highlights the fact that he looks ancient
  3. 3rd term of Bush (there will be a lot of commercials showing McCain and Bush hugging)
  4. McCain is the "inside the beltway" status quo

McCain positive:

  1. Any photos of McCain with Reagan
  2. National defense and security
  3. His heroic service for our country
  4. No new taxes ... continuing the Bush tax cuts, etc

McCain negative (against Obama):

  1. Obama's inexperience
  2. Obama "too radical for America"

How about some interaction on this? What are your predictions?

VP thoughts: I think an Obama / Hillary ticket would be unbeatable for the Dems (but I don't think Michelle O would approve Hillary as a running mate for hubby). I also think an Obama / Edwards ticket would be very tough. A McCain / Huckabee ticket would be strong as would a McCain / Romney ticket.

1 year later: Prosper.com

Comment: more precisely 11 months later!

Earlier posts:

My first blog posting on Prosper.com

Prosper.com: first take

So far I've just broken even. I have one loan ($ 50) where the person made 2 payments and then filed for bankruptcy. While this loan is not technically "in default" I've mentally written off the $ 48.00 that she owes me. To date I've earned $ 51. I have beaten the S&P 500 over the last year (which is not saying much! It is down 9.29% in 1 year!). I'm also better than the Dow.

To date I've invested $ 1800 (my personal Prosper investment stats). My strategy going forward is to continue to invest $ 50 per month in Prosper. I am only loaning to AA and A rated borrowers (the one that will go into default is a C grade).

Here is the Prosper Marketplace Performance (Aggregate for all of Prosper!). Note that the default rate for AA's is .38%.

If any of my Christian friends are interested in forming a Prosper lending group, connect with me and we can discuss this.

From Gatling to the AK-47

Point and Shoot


Sgt. Mikhail Kalashnikov ... in 1947 built an automatic rifle with just eight moving parts, so stoutly put together that it proved almost impervious to dirt, sand and mud. This was the AK-47, which Michael Hodges celebrates in words as lyrical as Ms. Keller's: "Sublime," he gushes of its design, remarking on "the curve of the magazine, the parallel lines of the barrel and the gas tube."

the AK-47 eventually showed itself to be ideal for peasant armies, rebel guerrillas, child soldiers and drug lords. There are millions of Kalashnikov's automatic rifles in combat around the world. So iconic is the gun that it appears on the flag of Mozambique, crossed with a hoe as one of the essential implements of national liberation. For all we read of weapons of mass destruction, the homely AK-47 – costing as little as $100 from a Bulgarian factory – is the true WMD. It has killed far more human beings than all the nuclear, bacteriological and chemical weapons ever employed.

But it is not true, as Mr. Hodges would have us believe, that the AK-47 is the nemesis of American warfighters in Iraq. Most casualties there are inflicted by roadside bombs. "Small arms fire" now ranks third as a slayer of our soldiers and Marines, behind such mundane traumas as traffic accidents.

Comments: I have a close relative (unnamed here as it is not prudent to publically state who has a gun!) who has a beautifully restored M-1 Garand.

More on the:

  1. AK-47
  2. M1 Garand
  3. M16
  4. Gatling gun

The driving force for weapons technology has been to quickly end war or prevent war. The author of the linked article cites this:

Gatling's patent was filed during the U.S. Civil War. With the naiveté of inventors everywhere, he urged the gun's adoption by the Union army on the grounds that it would not only crush the rebellion but "save lives, wounds and sickness, by lessening the number [of soldiers] subjected to the perils of war."

"a structural change, not just a cyclical change"

GM to Close Four Truck Plants, Shift Output to Cars


Gasoline exceeding $4 a gallon represents ``a structural change, not just a cyclical change,'' Rick Wagoner, chief executive officer of the largest U.S. automaker, told reporters today before its annual shareholders' meeting in Wilmington, Delaware.

The four plant closings will save $1 billion annually and cut North American capacity by 700,000 for trucks and, with added shifts at car factories, by 500,000 overall, he said. At Hummer, ``we're considering all options from a complete revamp to a partial or complete sale of the brand,'' Wagoner said.

A doubling of U.S. gasoline prices since 2004, including a 31 percent surge this year, is forcing Wagoner to accelerate production of more fuel-efficient vehicles as he tries to end three years of losses. Cars will account for 60 percent of Detroit-based GM's North American production in three years, up from about 50 percent now, he said.

``It is significant, but this is a late reaction to changing market dynamics,'' said Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ``The plans really should have been in place a number of years ago.''

Comment: When we moved to Plymouth 12 years ago (12 years ago this week!), gas was under $ 1.00 a gallon. Four years ago $ 2.00 per gallon. Now $ 4.00 per gallon. This acceleration of fuel cost increases will force a huge "structural change" on our economy: where we live (closer to work), worship (closer to church), the car we intend to buy the next time. Re cars: I doubt I would buy a 240 HP Impala the next time. Perhaps the next time will be a 4 cylinder Malibu.

More on the "wayback machine". When I started driving (1965) gas was in the 20-25 cent a gallon range.

Hummer & image above from GM to close 4 truck plants, may sell or close HUMMER

Updated (More on this "structural change"): Honda Civic, Toyota Camry and Corolla all outsell Ford F-150 for the first time


... after 17 years worth of being this country's best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150 full-size pickup (42,973) has fallen for the first time to fourth place behind the Toyota Camry (51,291), Corolla (52,826) and your new best-selling vehicle in the U.S., the Honda Civic (53,299). Note to automakers: that would be the sound of the canary in your coal mine hitting the floor.


A Michelle O "whitey" tape?

Rumored transcript of Michelle Obama's Whitey tape

The alleged quote:

“Once again, the white man keeps us down, what’s up with Whitey, Why’d he attack Iraq, Why’d he let Katrina happen, Why’d he leave millions of children behind. This is the legacy the white man gives us”

Comment: Keep in mind this is still a rumor! Maybe this is why Hillary stays in the race! The unpledged (and even the the pledged!) should ask Obama if there is credence to this story!

Mad man alert

Ahmadinejad says Israel will soon disappear


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted on Monday that Muslims would uproot "satanic powers" and repeated his controversial belief that Israel will soon disappear, the Mehr news agency reported.
"I must announce that the Zionist regime (Israel), with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene," he said.

"Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started."

Since taking the presidency in August 2005, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly provoked international outrage by predicting Israel is doomed to disappear.

"I tell you that with the unity and awareness of all the Islamic countries all the satanic powers will soon be destroyed," he said to a group of foreign visitors ahead of the 19th anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Ahmadinejad also again expressed his apocalyptic vision that tyranny in the world be abolished by the return to earth of the Mahdi, the 12th imam of Shiite Islam, alongside great religious figures including Jesus Christ.

"With the appearance of the promised saviour... and his companions such as Jesus Christ, tyranny will be soon be eradicated in the world."

Ahmadinejad has always been a devotee of the Mahdi, who Shiites believe disappeared more than a thousand years ago and who will return one day to usher in a new era of peace and harmony

Comment: I'm sure that a President Obama could reason with this man!