December 28, 2008

Ice Storm Aftermath

I bought this electric Black & Decker Chain Saw Lopper (at Lowes) today and started the clean up of all the downed limbs on my property. It's really quite nice... I don't particularly like using a full-sized chain saw; I don't like the kick back and always have trouble propping up the wood so I don't dull the saw by digging it into the ground. The vast majority of the work I need to do is on branches 5 or 6 inches in diameter or less and this alligator jaw lopper works great for that. You just grab the branch with the jaws and the chain saw cuts through it.

The chain popped off a couple of times when I either twisted the saw while it was cutting, or when I grabbed onto too large a limb, but it was pretty simple to take apart the saw and rethread the chain. I was using vegetable oil to keep the blade running smooth -- the more the better. There's still a lot of junk I'll just have to burn in the burn pile, but I'm able to harvest at least some nice firewood for our fireplace.

2008 - The Turning Point

2008 - The Year Man-Made Global Warming was disproved

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

1)  Global Temperatures have dropped, a lot, against all models

2)  "Scientific Consensus" has collapsed, if there ever was one

3)  The global financial crisis has put political global warming agendas onto the back burner

If you click on the article, there are hundreds of comments... those, too, make interesting reading.

December 23, 2008

A Brighter Christmas

We got our power back Monday evening.  Even though I feel for those 17,000 or so families who are still without power, our Christmas will feel a little bit brighter this year.  Three and a half days without power, without water, reminds a person of just what luxurious lives we lead.  Flushing a toilet, washing a dish in warm water, taking a hot shower, seeing those thousands of twinkling little lights on all the Christmas trees -- there's  much to be thankful for.  I hope you all enjoy every little bit of your Christmas and New Year's Day.

December 21, 2008

Power Status

Click here for relatively recent information on the power outages in Ft. Wayne... next update is scheduled for 9pm.  This morning at 6am, there were 40,000 customers in Ft. Wayne without power,   By 11am it was up to 52,000 customers... by 3pm it was up to over 53,000 customers...

We're going the wrong way!

December 20, 2008

Icy Pics

For the benefit of those in warmer climates, here's a little Indiana weather. You can click on them to make them larger.

December 17, 2008

The Dodge

Some kind soul converted the Bush shoe toss into a Matrix Style animated gif... click on the picture to animate it.

Flickr Commons

Flickr Commons is an online collection of the world's public photo collections... wonderful browsing.

December 16, 2008

Ball State loses Football Coach

After a great 12-1 season, Ball State's football coach, Brady Hoke, is headed to San Diego State, turning down Ball State's $350,000 offer to stay.

Thanks a lot...  see ya, wouldn't want to be ya.

Movie Theater in Bluffton

Remember the talk, way back in January, of a movie theater coming to Bluffton?  It looks like the owner of the Bones Theatre in Columbia City is moving ahead with that idea:

"We don't have a location finalized yet, nor do we have a set timetable as to when it will be open," Jones told the News-Banner Monday afternoon.  But he added that he has obtained commitments from the architects, consultants and projection firms.

More details are due out Wednesday.

December 11, 2008

Area Basketball Rankings

Boys' Rankings

  • 4A:  Snider is 14th, NorthSide is 27th, Northrop is 37th, Homestead is 53rd, Carroll is 58th, SouthSide is 95th
  • 3A:  Wayne is 4th,  Bishop Dwenger is 6th, Elmhurst is 33rd, New Haven is 49th, Concordia is 55th, Bellmont is 66th
  • 2A:  Bishop Luers is 2nd, Bluffton is 13th, South Adams is 68th, Woodlan is 71st, Adams Central is 86th
  • 1A:  Blackhawk is 7th, Canterbury is 29th, Southern Wells is 38th, Keystone is 73rd

Girls' Rankings

  • 4A:  SouthSide is 15th, Homestead is 39th, Snider is 45th, Carroll is 63rd, Northrop is 77th, NorthSide is 82nd
  • 3A:  Emhurst is 3rd, Norwell is 4th, Concordia is 25th, Bellmont is 30th, Bishop Dwenger is 58th, Heritage is 68th, Wayne is 90th
  • 2A:  Bishop Luers is 15th, Woodlan is 65th, South Adams is 73rd, Bluffton is 81st, Adams Central is 98th
  • 1A:  Southern Wells is 9th, Canterbury is 15th, Blackhawk is 55th

It's a bit harder to follow the games this year since the News-Banner has gone to pdf subscription only format on-line.  But the Norwell girls are looking good and the Bishop Luers boys are averaging a 30 point blowout-win per game, they are averaging 90 points a game to their opposition's 60.  The Norwell Girls advantage per game is averaging nearly 22 points.

Best books of 2008

An long list of editors' top book choices for 2008

China and Music

The article, China's six-to-one advantage over the US, is an interesting read.

"Chinese parents urge their children to excel at instrumental music with the same ferocity that American parents [urge] theirs to perform well in soccer or Little League," wrote Jennifer Lin in the Philadelphia Inquirer June 8 in an article entitled China's 'piano fever'.

The world's largest country is well along the way to forming an intellectual elite on a scale that the world has never seen, and against which nothing in today's world - surely not the inbred products of the Ivy League puppy mills - can compete.

. . .

American medical schools accept more undergraduates who majored in music than any other discipline (excepting pre-med).

Any activity that requires discipline and deferred gratification benefits children, but classical music does more than sports or crafts. Playing tennis at a high level requires great concentration, but nothing like the concentration required to perform the major repertoire of classical music.

We live in interesting times.

December 10, 2008

Popular Mechanics -- Free Online

106 years of Popular Mechanics

Bengal Tiger Captured in Albion

Noble County 911 Director Mitch Fiandt said the 18-year-old female Bengal tiger escaped from the Black Pine Animal Park in Albion about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Park officials say the tiger returned to the property around 11 p.m. and was back in its enclosure about an hour later. 

They figured the tiger would return home after getting a taste of the Indiana weather... cold and wet.

Little Girl gets Christmas Wish

A very nice video

Ukulele Weeps


December 9, 2008

Want a quick headache?

Click here

The Bailout

Click on the picture to get a larger image of just how much money we're talking about.

December 8, 2008

The Soviet Collapse

The Soviet Collapse:  Grain and Oil is an interesting read, for those who have interest. 

December 4, 2008

Periodic Table

For those of you (or your kids) who have an interest in Chemistry... is a wonderful site.  If you go to the site, you'll see a picture like the one above, but each of the elements are clickable hyperlinks that show more information about the element.

December 3, 2008

How to live on Mars

The other day, I wrote about "What we have learned in Space" and how manned space travel is likely too dangerous and too expensive for humanity to spread out to other planets.  Robert Zubrin disagrees -- in book form -- with "How to Live on Mars"

For us to say we can't go to Mars today is to basically say that we've become less than the people who got us to where we are today, and that's something that we can't afford. The risks associated with a human mission to Mars, given what we know today about Mars and about space technology, are much lower than the risks of the Apollo moon program were.

I think that this freedom to be the maker of your own world instead of simply being the inhabitant of one that has already been made is a truly grand form of human freedom. We had that during the period from Plymouth Rock through the closing of the American frontier in the late 1890s. There's a famous quote from a great historian, Walter Prescott Webb, that says "People will miss the frontier more than words can ever express. For hundreds of years they heard its call and bet their lives and fortune on its outcome." This is why we still look back today at the time of the American frontier as a great time, despite the fact that it was filled with all kinds of harsh experiences and heartbreak.

So with Mars, there will be grand successes and there will be heartbreak. Not everyone will strike it rich, but everyone will get a chance for a new start. There's a reason why millions of people in the Old World sold everything they had to get a ticket on a ship to get them to America. And for some of them it didn't work out so well. But it did for enough of them that they're still coming today.

I'm all for it, it's just that I doubt it will happen.  It's not that I believe the world lacks for Christopher Columbuses, no... no, the world lacks for Queen Isabellas.  Who out there can fund a trip to Mars?  Which country?  What people?

Grief Hallucinations

Scientific American has an interesting article this month titled, "Ghost Stories: Visits from the Deceased." The article contends that mourning is a time when people are quite prone to hallucinations:

Mourning seems to be a time when hallucinations are particularly common, to the point where feeling the presence of the deceased is the norm rather than the exception. One study, by the researcher Agneta Grimby at the University of Goteborg, found that over 80 percent of elderly people experience hallucinations associated with their dead partner one month after bereavement, as if their perception had yet to catch up with the knowledge of their beloved's passing. As a marker of how vivid such visions can seem, almost a third of the people reported that they spoke in response to their experiences. In other words, these weren't just peripheral illusions: they could evoke the very essence of the deceased.

Well... this leads me to ask. Why is Scientific American so sure that what eighty percent of people experience is unreal? Just how equipped are scientists in differentiation between hallucinations and visits from the great beyond?

The Night Sky

The Moon, Venus and Jupiter.  Nice.

November 29, 2008

It's raining deer!

Five deer leaped over the 224 I-69 overpass and landed on a semi windshield.

In a gruesome display of bizarre animal behavior, five deer leapt to their deaths off the U.S. 224 overpass and onto the northbound lanes of I-69 about 12:30 p.m. Friday. The last one went through the windshield of a tractor-trailer rig, the Huntington County Sheriff's Department said. The driver was uninjured.

The 20- to 30-foot fall killed all five deer.

Their 401K's must have looked really, really bad...

November 25, 2008

IU NCAA Rules Violation Timeline

Here's the timeline, but I'll make it simple: IU hired Kelvin Sampson, a known rules violator, from Oklahoma in 2006. He never, for a minute, stopped violating NCAA rules. IU finally bought him out (for $750,000) and he left in 2007, as did all but two IU players. NCAA gives IU three years probation, Sampson's on coaching in the NBA.

Higher Education? Not at IU.

November 24, 2008

What have we learned in Space

Instead of going forward to the next big challenge of space exploration, maybe it's time to take a break and think about the past three decades. After thirty years of Space Shuttle missions and ten years of International Space Station operations, what have we learned?

Never before in the history of humankind are we making so many discoveries about our neighboring universe. Never in the fifty years of space exploration have we seen so many probes exploring so many interesting places in our solar system.

The International Space Station is 10 years old and will likely only last another 10 years, the Space Shuttle program will be at the end of its life in 2010... is there a future for manned space flight?

When we were growing up, Space was pushed to the public. TV's were rolled into classrooms to watch launches, and we all knew the names of at least some of the astronauts. Now Space news is something you have to pull... all the news is out there, but you have to go find it, read it, pass it on. It will take major discoveries for manned space travel to ever be feasible. Don't count on there ever being such a thing as Warp Drive or Light Speed engines. Don't count on there ever being such a thing as artificial gravity or replicators capable of turning energy into matter -- electricity into a glass of water, nuclear power into a turkey dinner, matter-antimatter reactors into cups of Earl Grey tea. Don't count on there ever being transporters or teleporters or traversable wormholes or suspended animation or starships holding hundreds or thousands of people. These are the cold, hard facts of what we have learned: other worlds are far, far away and it's not only extremely dangerous, but nearly impossible to pack enough resources for people to go very far. We can learn a lot by sending remotes to go and take a look at different areas of our solar system, and we can guess even more from the little slices of information we get back, but those probes can't send information back from even the nearest star system, let alone another galaxy. The future of space travel is in what we can see with telescopes and radio emissions that reach us from the depths of space and even then we are looking at information that is millions, sometimes billions of years old (because it takes that long for light to reach Earth from deep space). In this, despite 50 years of exploration, we haven't changed since we first turned our eyes to the heavens.

Indiana Girl Sues to play Baseball

Logan Young has played baseball against boys since she was five years old and she wants to continue doing so in high school.

"In this day and age, a girl should have the opportunity to participate on an equal footing with the boys in high school sports and the IHSAA precludes that," Tae Sture, one of the family's attorneys, said Monday.

"Our feeling is, quite frankly, there's no rational reason for it," he said.

An IHSAA rule prohibits girls from trying out for baseball if their school has a softball team on the basis that the sports are comparable. But the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis argues that baseball and softball aren't the same sport, so girls should be able to try out for baseball.

I think there is a rational reason for the rule.  For every spot on the boys baseball team a girl takes, a boy doesn't play.  If you say, "That boy can just try out for the girls softball team."  Well, just how many boys can be on the girls softball team before it's no longer the girls softball team?  How long will a school keep two coed ball teams around?  Why not just have one?    Not everything is perfectly equal and perfectly fair and that's an important thing to learn, too.  How many boys would like to play volleyball if only the IHSAA would let them?

Bruce Lee plays ping pong -- with nunchucka

November 19, 2008

Life Pictures

Millions of Life Magazine pictures -- all online, all searchable.  I found the one above -- a picture from Market Street in Bluffton from 1962.  Looks like a pretty busy Saturday morning!

Where are my tools?

It seems like everytime I do a little home repair job, I end up misplacing at least one tool... they are never where they should be when the next job comes up. Now I finally realize what the deal is: when I'm not looking, they float off into space!

Living without a heart

I didn't know this was possible for such long periods of time.

"She essentially lived for 118 days without a heart, with her circulation supported only by the two blood pumps," said Dr. Marco Ricci, the hospital's director of pediatric cardiac surgery. During that time, Simmons was mobile but remained hospitalized.

When an artificial heart is used to sustain a patient, the patient's own heart is usually left in the body, doctors said.

In some cases, adult patients have been kept alive that way for more than a year, they said.

"This, we believe, is the first pediatric patient who has received such a device in this configuration without the heart, and possibly one of the youngest that has ... been bridged to transplantation without her native heart," Ricci said.

The Futile Quest for Climate Control

If you find yourself with nothing to do of an evening, read The Futile Quest for Climate Control, a very long and interesting article.

Don't have the time?  Here's a quick bit:

In 1990 the IPCC's first Assessment Report concluded that no human influence on climate was discernible. Despite the huge expenditure of research effort and money since that time, the boundary arguments to the debate have scarcely moved. We now have copiously more data and more powerful computers, have spent upwards of $50 billion on climate research, and are the beneficiaries of twenty years of hard thinking by some of the world's most accomplished scientists. Yet the protagonists in the debate remain in the same bunkers they occupied in the early 1990s, and a clear human-caused climate signal continues to elude us.

Kaylee Imel signs with Western Michigan

Congratulations to Norwell Senior Kaylee Imel, who has signed on to golf for Western Michigan University next Fall.  They have a pretty good golf program there, I hear.

November 18, 2008

Budget Shortfalls

There are a whole lot of states spending more than they're bringing in -- Indiana's not one of them, but I have heard of a novel solution: perhaps the states could cut back on their spending.

And the Feds should not borrow money to pay off the states overspending on their budgets. If the states can't meet their obligations, they have a recourse: they can cut back on their obligations... it's perfectly legal... they write the laws!

Look at California's budget up top... you can click on it to make it bigger. I totally understand paying for firefighters and policemen and prisons and road repair crews and the like... But 31% of the California budget going to K-12 Education and another 10% going to higher education? They're spending 41+ percent of their budget on education? Is that really the prime purpose of Government?

Now lest we Hoosiers feel all goody, goody about California -- Indiana spends well over 50% of our budget on K-12 and higher education. And what do we get for it? Complaints that our children don't know nearly as much as they should.

What is the worst that could happen if the Feds and the States kept the laws in place that enforce and document our K-12 educational needs, but drop all the money we're pouring into the effort? 1) Our shortfalls would go away, 2) our taxes would go down, 3) parents would have a windfall of the funds they need to send their kids to decent, private schools and 4) without state and federal funding, colleges would have to drop their prices.


For those of you with a scientific bent out there (perhaps it's in your genes?), spend a little time on this article from the New York Times last week.  Sometimes, based on pop science you see on TV and hear on the radio, you might get the impression that biologists have a pretty good understanding about the human genome and how genes work.  Well, not so... we are really just at the beginning and we're doing a lot of groping in the dark.

Athletic Decision Making

Here is an interesting science article on shaping up athlete's brains so they can make faster, better decisions during the heat of play.

Professor Jocelyn Faubert and postdoctoral student David Tinjust, put a dozen soccer, tennis and hockey players through multiple object-tracking exercises. The athletes' capacity to absorb a lot of information simultaneously and manage it efficiently increased on average by 53 percent.

In one of these exercises, subjects in the automatic virtual environment cave were asked to follow the increasingly rapid movements of a series of balls and identify those that quickly changed colour. After each training session, which lasted about an hour, results were recorded and athletes could note their progress. "It's like physical training, but for the brain," says Faubert.

We have one of those "virtual caves" at our house.  It's called a WII Fit and it throws soccer balls, spiked shoes and/or panda heads at you.

Norwell Girls Basketball 2008

A very nice article in yesterday's Journal-Gazette about the 2008 Norwell Girls Basketball Team

Having a pair of All-NHC first-team picks and a second-team selection who is entering her fourth year as a starting point guard should seem to make Norwell a contender, minimally, for a conference title.

"You start with three kids like that, it's pretty tough to screw that up," said coach Eric Thornton, referencing Andrea Vogel, Haley Chaney and Kylie Dial.

But add in a 6-foot-2 freshman, a junior sharpshooter and three sophomores who should contribute quality minutes, and the Knights could be a lock for a third straight NHC championship.

Go girls!

November 17, 2008

Buy American

I've heard that phrase since we were in high school, haven't you? "Buy American." It hasn't really panned out though. The last car I bought was a Kia. With cars, clothes, toys, electronics... we've really lost out, haven't we. For awhile it seemed like we were becoming a service economy rather than a manufacturing economy and that would be our future... and that would be OK. But you know how that's going, too... each time you call for support you know how that's going because your calls end up in some other country. Have you asked yourself why this is happening?

I heard today that Lutheran Health Network has decided to close down their medical transcription efforts and contract that effort out to a company in India. This has been a growing movement among doctors and hospitals. First the hospitals outsource their employees and hire contractors... you don't have to pay contractors benefits, you only pay them by the number of lines they type. You lose control, yes, but you save money. How can you reduce it further? Well, folks in India will work for much less than folks in America, won't they.

The thing you have to ask yourself is, just how much information about yourself do you give up to those people building cars in Korea? None, right? Just how much about you do those Chinese peasants know who are sewing your clothes and making your shoes? They know nothing about you, do they. Tell me, just how comfortable would you be buying a TV from Sony if you had to provide not just your social security number, not just your full name and birth date to them every time you shopped at Walmart, but also what drugs you're taking, what diseases you've had, how tall you are and how much you weigh... none too comfortable, I'd say.

So, the next time you stop by your doctor, the next time you do a little business in the Lutheran Health Network, why not ask them exactly what security they have in place to prevent those typists in India from stealing your identity and selling it on the International Market. At least, here in America, we have contracts, we have legal recourse, those who would steal are within reach. Overseas? Well, good luck with that.

And why is this happening? Congress, minimum wage, labor laws -- we have voted to protect ourselves from our employers and we've protected ourselves right out of our jobs. Way back when, back when Henry Ford started building cars, he had an idea that you should pay your employees enough so that they could afford to buy the product they were building. Back then, Americans were cheap immigrant laborers. Today, I would guess we make far more, especially once benefits are thrown in to the mix... and there are more and more laws being written every year to prevent American employers from reducing the cost of American labor.

Tell me... if someone is willing to work 60 hours a week at a flat rate below minimum wage -- why is that illegal in America. More important, why is it illegal for an American to do that job at that rate, but perfectly legal to hire someone in India to do the same job at that same low rate? As more people lose their jobs, just who is being protected here?

November 14, 2008

Top 10 NFL Kick Returns

These are nice kick returns, and entertaining, despite the ad pages, but aren't they way too focused on the last few years?  Were there no great kick returns prior to Devin Hester?  What about runs by Bo Jackson, or Gale Sayers, Deion Sanders (to name a few).

Here are some more good runs, and some great ones.

November 13, 2008

Palin Hits are a Hoax

So a couple of Hollywood types invented a character who eventually morphed into a top adviser to John McCain.  Martin Eisenstadt (who doesn't exist) was apparently the source for several Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin hits that MSNBC, Fox and other major media outlets fell for.

The big media types often downplay citizen journalists/bloggers because they have no editors, they are no filters, because no one checks their facts and stories.  Apparently, no one checks the facts or stories of the big guys either.

November 12, 2008

Glenbrook Mall owners going Bankrupt?

Are the owners of Glenbrook actually going bankrupt?  How is that possible.  I know they own a lot of different malls, but Glenbrook is nearly always swamped with customers.

Perhaps this is just one more company looking to cash in on the easy bailout money we taxpayers have so kindly agreed to provide?

Human vs. Chimp, October vs. September

Do you remember learning, or at least hearing, that humans and chimpanzees were over 98% identical at the genetic level? I certainly remember hearing that and finding it surprising. I remember reading articles with that information and the authors using it to say that humans are really not that different from animals.

Well, now that both the human and chimp genomes have been sequenced, we find that a better percentage is that we are around 72% similar to chimps, but even then, scientists are not yet sure how to compare Man's genetic structure to the chimpanzee's genetic structure. If you read at the link you'll see, too, that even to get to the 72% figure, scientists had to manipulate the chimp genome, bend and flex it, to even compare.

So, oops... forget the last 30 or 40 years... scientists do make mistakes, don't they... like NASA just reporting that October 2008 was the warmest October in 129 years only come to realize that they were using September data to calculate October temperatures. NASA says it's only reporting what was given to them -- I didn't realize we were paying NASA scientists to be reporters, I would have thought our good money would go toward, you know, them doing some science. If a private citizen can look at satellite data for free and realize immediately that October was not warmer than September, why are we funding NASA?

Suffice to say, October remains colder than September and humans are quite different from chimpanzees... and most children can tell you the same with very little funding.

November 10, 2008

Pandora's Music Box

Someone brought an interesting music site to my attention today.  It's called  If you register there (free and easy) Pandora allows you to create personal radio stations of music you like.  Not a broadcast radio station, mind you, you just type in an artist, or a song you like and Pandora turns it into a music station just for you that plays songs and artists similar to the one you chose.

The downfall of this is, of course, that you may miss a lot of music outside of the categories you've chosen that perhaps you might like if you'd only listen to them.  The benefit of this method is that you may find artists you love you never would have found otherwise.  There are lots of options on the site, allowing you to make many stations, share your song choices with others, keep bookmarks online of your favorites, etc.

The connections the software makes for you are often interesting... try it out sometime, you can always create a station and minimize the window, allowing your computer to play songs in the background while you balance your checkbook, or read the news.


Mini Nuclear Power Plants

I heard about these mini nuclear power plants, about as big as a garden shed, that would power around 20,000 homes.  The thing would have no moving parts and be encased in concrete and buried underground.   Hyperion, out of New Mexico, is the company licensed to create them.  A power plant of that size would put out 27MW -- not nearly enough to send a Delorean back in time (that would require 1.21GW).  They don't require water for cooling like a big plant does, you just dig it up every 10 years and replace the uranium.  They do not use weapons grade fuel.

There's already a six year waiting list -- and they only cost $25 million... so add that to your Christmas list!

November 5, 2008

Oh no... Michael Crichton has died

Author of Jurassic Park, Terminal Man, Andromeda Strain, Timeline, Congo,  the "ER" TV series and much, much more, Michael Crichton has passed away at 66 after a battle with cancer.

November 4, 2008

Obama Wins!

President Elect Barack Obama makes history... out performing expectations in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, to name a few states. This is a big hurdle for America and a big hurdle for the class of '77... the first time someone younger than us has been elected President.

What is clear is that Barack Obama will now be my President as well as the President of all those who voted for him. I will pray for him and respect his office. I will also do all that I can to influence him and his administration concerning the truth of this fundamental human right to life. I will also do something else. I will join with others in building a new movement which recognizes the failures of both major political parties and seeks to build a new alliance of Americans. This alliance will insist upon the primacy of the fundamental human right to life - not as a single issue - but as the very framework and foundation of a truly just society.

Indiana Votes

The Official Indiana Secretary of State Website Vote Tally for President -- numbers will start to show up after voting closes in Lake County.

For all Indiana Candidates

Ohio Secretary of State Vote Tally for President

Virginia Secretary of State Vote Tally for President

Florida Pennsylvania North Carolina Georgia

November 2, 2008

The Gap

Rasmussen has Senator Obama up by 5 points over McCain.  His analysis, though, is based on a model of about 40 percent of those voting next Tuesday being Democrats, about 33 percent being Republicans and about 27% being Independents.  In 2004, though, the gap between Democrats and Republicans who voted was only 2%, not 7%.

If McCain wins, you can bet the big news folks will cry racism -- but the fact has been, and remains, that the pollsters are over polling Democrats by 5 to 10 percent on most of these polls.  In each of the battleground states where Obama is polling under 50% and McCain is polling only 5 or 6 percent behind... look for McCain to win.

This is no "Bradley Effect," this is a failure on the assumptions of the pollsters, this is a failure of the art of the poll.  This is an unwillingness to recognize that one side, the Democrat side, always polls higher than they perform and one side, the Republicans, always polls lower than they perform -- quite likely due not only to hundreds of thousands of fake registrations, but also to conservative folks being less likely to sit for polls.

November 1, 2008

Senator Obama and his Aunt

So Senator Obama's Aunt is in the country illegally.... I personally don't really care, she's old and poor and her nephew's one of the most famous and perhaps one of the most powerful people in the world... let her stay.

What concerns me is the Senator's reaction. People call him calm, even cold -- but this is beyond cold. What would your response have been? I mean, he's a Senator, possibly the next president -- he didn't know about her status. He should have said, "I was unaware of my aunt's status, but will do everything in my power to help her remain if she wants to remain in this, the greatest country in the world, for the reminder of her life. I don't have a lot of family left and hope this can be worked out to everyone's best interest."

But to say that "any and all laws should be followed..." Man.. he wants his own aunt deported because it makes him look strong on the law? That's just cold. You know, it reminds me of that question Dukakis was asked in a presidential debate back in the 80's. Remember, he was against the death penalty and Bernard Shaw asked him what he would want done if his own wife were brutally murdered... Dukakis gave some cold, detached answer.

This isn't a presidential debate, though, and it's quite late in the process -- shoot, millions of people have already voted and millions more will never hear about the newest relative Senator Obama has thrown under the bus. Suffice to say, though, that I find The Senator's detachment quite troubling.

October 31, 2008

Making a list, Checking it Twice

From ABC, the length of the list of things Senator Obama has promised to deliver if he's put into the White House is astounding.

Just today in Sarasota, Fla., the Democratic presidential nominee said that he'd:

  • "give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week";
  • "eliminate income taxes on Social Security for seniors making under $50,000";
  • "give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks";
  • not increase taxes on anyone if they "make under $250,000; you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime –- not your income taxes, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax";
  • "end those breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas";
  • "give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States";
  • "eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country";
  • "create two million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, and schools -- by laying broadband lines to reach every corner of the country";
  • "invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new energy jobs over the next decade";
  • "reopen old factories, old plants, to build solar panels, and wind turbines";
  • build "a new electricity grid";
  • "build the fuel efficient cars of tomorrow";
  • "eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years";
  • "lower premiums" for those who already have health insurance;
  • "if you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves";
  • "end discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most";
  • "invest in early childhood education";
  • "recruit an army of new teachers";
  • "pay our teachers higher salaries, give them more support. But ... also demand higher standards and more accountability";
  • "make a deal with every young person who's here and every young person in America: If you are willing to commit yourself to national service, whether it's serving in our military or in the Peace Corps, working in a veterans home or a homeless shelter, then we will guarantee that you can afford to go to college no ifs ands or buts";
  • "stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq whole the Iraqis have a huge surplus";
  • "end this war in Iraq";
  • "finish the fight and snuff out al Qaeda and bin Laden";
  • "increase our ground troops and our investments in the finest fighting force in the world";
  • "invest in 21st century technologies so that our men and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home";
  • "No more homeless veterans"; and
  • "no more fighting for disability payments."
Why wait for Christmas?  Obama Claus is on the loose!

The Meaning of American Pie

October 28, 2008

Bluffton and Norwell in State Band Finals

Tigers and Knights are marching on


We shall see next week whether polling has been accurate.  If not, will anyone remember to ignore the polls next time?

October 24, 2008

Norwell finishes out against Concordia

Concordia 35, Norwell 14 -- Norwell finishes off at 2-8 on the season.

Why is the news so full of...

Why is the news so full of things that haven't happened? I mean, they all call it "news," but it isn't, is it. The papers and the networks write and write and talk and talk about polls showing what the news might be in another week. Senator Obama might win, he might be winning, there might be big news in another week. The papers and the networks write and write and talk and talk about the possible temperature in the future, about the possible rise in the ocean waters. The temperature is going down now and the oceans aren't pouring over their banks, but they might, there might be big news in another fifty years.

I even heard on the radio this afternoon that the Dow Jones average might have lost over a 1000 points today -- it only lost 321 points, yes, but this reporter said the Dow very well might have lost over 1000 had the selling continued at the early rate. What kind of crazy reporting is this? News about not only things that might happen in the future, but news about what actually didn't happen. And polling... endless polling until people stop talking or start lying to the pollsters.

Sometimes don't you just long for the days when it took awhile for the news to make itself known across the country? Polls couldn't be news then -- who would want to read about a poll taken weeks ago when the election is already over. Back then, the news was more about what had happened and a lot less about what was about to happen.

When all reports are about what's going to happen, people get upset when it doesn't play out the way it was played up. If Senator McCain wins the election (which he easily might, just by carrying the same states President Bush did in 2004), Democrats will demand answers -- and they won't demand them from the folks who predicted the news instead of reporting it; they'll demand them from the courts and from Congress because they are being assured, today, that the unowned future is theirs, as if the future were a public bridge being sold to a gullible tourist.

October 20, 2008

30 years of Warming goes Poof

An article discussing why the Earth is cooling against all hype that it is warming.  Some quotes:

  • the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly. Because a funny thing is happening to global temperatures -- they're going down, not up
  • worldwide manmade CO2 emission each year "equals about 0.0168% of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration ... This results in a 0.00064% increase in the absorption of the sun's radiation. This is an insignificantly small number.
  • while manmade emissions may be having a slight impact, "variations in global temperatures since 1978 ... cannot be attributed to carbon dioxide."

And then, of course, there is the graph at the top, showing that we have cooled all the way back to 1978.

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights

An article on the Financial Crisis by author Orson Scott Card

Isn't there a story here?  Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout?  Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal.  "Housing-gate," no doubt.  Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

October 19, 2008

Powell endorses Obama

Ex-General, Ex-Secretary-of-the-State Colin Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama for President this morning... he seemed none to happy with the McCain camp going negative on Obama's past. 

This is a big endorsement.  My only disagreement with General Powell is that McCain has been hamstrung throughout the campaign by a national press corps that is willing to say and print anything and everything about McCain-Palin and anyone remotely connected to them, while ignoring similar coverage of Obama-Biden.  I mean, the NYT has gone to town, printing front page stories about false accusations of a McCain affair, stories about McCain's wife's past addictions and endless analysis into the Palin family and Alaskan politics.... but they have printed nothing similar about Obama's past illegal drug use, Chicago politics, or his past associations.  With the table slanted so far in one direction, McCain has often had to play the part of the press in this campaign, to his own detriment, at times.

October 18, 2008

Norwell 35, Columbia City 6

The Knights end the season with Victory, beating Columbia City 35-6 and going 2-7 on the season.

I guess that keeps our 1975 "one victory" season untied and unequaled.

October 17, 2008

Palin Rally Notes

I was not at the GOP Palin Rally at the Verizon Center in Indy today, but apparently she drew somewhere between 15 and 20 thousand people into the Center (I didn't think it could hold that many, but the official capacity goes up to 24,000). Here are some sites reporting on what it was like:

Update: Terre Haute says over 25,000 were at the rally

Call me Ahab

Saving Social Security

From Reason TV, via Instapundit

Norwell defeats Bluffton

There's nothing like a good "Norwell defeats Bluffton" title to make your Friday.  This time, it was girls volleyball in straight sets.

Notice that the news is from a Bluffton based Blog named "On the Beat in Bluffton" by Jerry Battiste.

October 10, 2008

100 Economists

100 Economists (included five Nobel Prize winning Economists) have released a statement saying that, ""Barack Obama's economic proposals are wrong for the American economy." The proposals "defy both economic reason and economic experience."

Read the linked statement for more of the details... we'll see if Senator Obama can come up with a hundred of his own.

ABC: Ballot Battle in Indiana

October 9, 2008

Just a reminder

Just a reminder that yes, the Dow is down... but think about it over time, not in the little snippets of graphs you'll see played on the news to make everyone more scared (and more likely to tune in).

Voter Registration Problems in Lake County

County rejects large number of invalid voter registrations

CROWN POINT | Lake County Republican Chairman John Curley wants a federal investigation into hundreds of voter registrations bearing fictitious signatures or the names of dead and underage people.

"Fraudulent applications are the workings of ACORN groups operating from Milwaukee and Chicago who are getting out the vote for Obama. I'm Republican, but I want everyone who should vote to vote. But I want a clean election," Curley said at a Wednesday news conference.

Lake County elections officials acknowledged they have found problems and had to reject a large portion of the 5,000 registration forms turned in recently by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, an activist group that conducted registration drives across the county this summer.

An ACORN spokesperson couldn't be reached Wednesday for comment. Telephones to ACORN offices in Gary, Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee were reported to be disconnected.

ACORN is under fire in in most of the battleground states.  If you look at their registration effort, most of their focus has been in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida (they've registered about 865,000 names in those three states); they have registered only 23,000 people in Indiana.  Personally, I'm not quite sure how much of a danger the fraudulent registrations are -- I mean, even if you register fake names/addresses, you have to keep track of those fake names and addresses and find people to pretend to be those fake names and have those fake addresses.

I find it more likely that these ACORN workers are paid by the registration form, so they make up names and addresses -- and fake signatures (as is the case in Lake County where 5000 signatures seemed to be written by the same hand).  Their intent is to make money by turning in forms, not to come back on election day with fake voters to stuff the ballot box.  One thing this does do, though, is push the number of registered Democrats (ACORN seems to focus on heavily Democratic areas for their voter turnout efforts) way up and this figures into the polling companies -- which weight their polls based on registration numbers.

In short, (and we'll find out on November 2nd) the polls could be way off because of both fake registrations and Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" (where he prompted Republicans to register as Democrats to vote for Hillary in the Democrat Primary).  Thus, based on registration numbers, Gallup and the other polling agencies overpoll Democrats -- they poll 45 Democrats, 35 Republicans and 20 Independents out of every 100.  The more Democrats you poll, the further ahead the Democrats in the poll (and vice versa).

October 8, 2008

Starling Clouds

Flocks of Starlings in Denmark make formations in the air... click on the pic for a larger image.

Sports Roundup for 10-8-2008

The Banner rounds it up, including this

The Norwell Lady Knights battled back to force a fifth and final game Tuesday night against the East Noble Lady Knights but came up short losing 3-2 in Northeast Hoosier Conference volleyball at Norwell.  East Noble won 23-25, 25-11, 25-10, 23-25, 24-22.

Lauren Klansek led Norwell's hitters with 11 kills. Haley Chaney added eight, while Lindsey Dahn and Amanda McAfee each had seven. Andrea Vogel added five and Kelsey Kline three. Vogel also had five blocks and Chaney three.

Mallory Bushee had 32 set assists and Elizabeth Ault had 49 digs. Rachelle Rodenbeck had 18 digs, Cassie Rice 17, Bushee 16, McAfee 14 and Breanna Wilson 10. Ault and Kline each had one ace serve.

Also, the boys Tennis Team came up short in the Regionals, but had a great season.

Kudos to Wells County EMS

EMS Daily News has a nice article about the Wells County EMS crews

At the end of September, however, Wells County EMS was in the spotlight not only here but across the state. Indiana's Emergency Medical Services Commission honored Wells County EMS with the 2008 Paramedic Provider of the Year. The prestigious award recognizes Wells County EMS for its contributions to patients and employees.

With four stations around the county, 41 employees (including 21 paramedics) and five ambulances, these men and women responded to 3,016 emergencies last year, which averages out to more than eight runs each day.

But their work in the community extends far beyond responding to 911 calls. Wells County EMS officials created a program to put Automatic External Defibrillators in city and county police vehicles to give officers the tools they need to save a life in case they arrive to an emergency scene before paramedics. Police have saved lives because of the AED program Wells County EMS implemented here.

Its for all of these reasons and more that Wells County EMS personnel have earned and deserve a big pat on the back from us. We commend them for a job well done and thank them for always looking ahead to make Wells County a safer place to live.

Read the whole thing, it includes the amazing 2006 crash into the beehive-tree on 1050N just north of Ossian.

2nd Debate Scorecard

October 6, 2008

50 Great Art-House Videos

The 50 Greatest Art Videos on YouTube, including the Beatles rooftop performance, Streisand's first appearance on TV, The Who and Jimi Hendrix smashing their instruments, and many more.

China Doll

Just because I like it...

Norwell Band Advances

Bluffton, Norwell advance to marching band sectional at Lafayette Jefferson High School Oct. 18

The Norwell “Marching Knights” began their campaign for a 10th successive ticket to the State Finals by winning a gold rating. The Knights took the caption awards for Best Music, Best Visual and Best General Effect.

Over the past nine years, the “Marching Knights” have won three State Championships from their nine appearances in the finals. In order to repeat that success this year, they still must progress through the Regional Champs at Lafayette, the Semi-State Champs at Pike High School on Oct. 25, and the State Finals on Nov. 1.

This Saturday, the “Marching Knights” travel to Carmel High School for the Carmel Invitational.

Quite a Speech...

Wishful thinking on Meet the Press

No, there's no bias on NBC...

October 5, 2008

Congratulations Knights

For winning their first, ever, Tennis Sectional

NORWELL 4, HUNTINGTON NORTH 1 : The host Knights dominated the Vikings to win the school's first boys tennis sectional title.

Jason Isch won a three-setter at No. 1 singles, beating David Ballard 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

CBS Joins the AP, says all criticism is Racist

CBS has joined the Associated Press. They are in agreement that any criticism of Barack Obama is racism. Just what was the racist remark Sarah Palin made against Barack Obama? Well, here it is:

"Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country," Palin told a group of donors in Englewood, Colo. A deliberate attempt to smear Obama, McCain's ticket-mate echoed the line at three separate events Saturday.

"This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America," she said. "We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism."

Can you believe the racist content of her remarks! Palin is talking about William Ayers, who bombed Federal buildings in the 60's to protest the Vietnam war. Ayers worked with Obama on several educational initiatives in Chicago and Ayers hosted Obama's coming out party when he first started out in politics.

Because McCain/Palin points out that Obama is closer to Ayers (who is a white man) than Obama's past remarks claim, because McCain/Palin point out that Obama is friendly with a domestic terrorist who said he "didn't do enough" back then when he bombed the Pentagon and the Capital, well, it's clear isn't it, that McCain/Palin are racists.

What's clear is not that McCain will regret this Ayers/Obama tack (as CBS claims in the link at the top), but that CBS and AP will regret their racists harping -- should Obama become President, I suspect all news organizations will end up having "RACIST" tacked to their forhead whenever they criticize an Obama Administration.

Palin endorsed by L.A. President of N.O.W.

October 3, 2008

What Just Happened?

The End of an Era

The End of an Era -- a nice article about where we find ourselves.

Well, what's done is done... Bailout Bill passes

263-171 -- the sweetened bailout bill has now passed the House and the Senate... on to the White House now for the President's signature.

I'm just a bill.
Yes, I'm only a bill.
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it's a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It's a long, long wait
While I'm sitting in committee,
But I know I'll be a law some day
At least I hope and pray that I will
But today I am still just a bill.

Parker's 1st Season

Jarrod Parker building on a solid foundation

The Arizona Diamondbacks' first pick (ninth overall) in the 2007 Draft and a late sign that summer, Parker just completed his first pro season at Class A South Bend, just a two-hour drive from his hometown of Ossian, a suburb of Fort Wayne with a population of roughly 3,000.

The debut was, by anyone's estimation, a hugely successful one.

In 24 starts, Parker went 12-5 with a 3.44 ERA, tying for third in the system in both wins and ERA, striking out 117 over 117 2/3 innings while showing impeccable control with only 33 walks.

A nice article... read the whole thing.

Norwell Homecoming Tonight

Events slated at Norwell homecoming

Fans and alumni coming to Norwell's homecoming football game Friday night [against Dekalb] are invited to take advantage of several events taking place during the evening. Game time is 7 p.m. The events are as follows:

• Girls basketball pork chop dinner 4-6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria;
• Tailgate party from 5-6:30 p.m.;
• Class floats on display outside the stadium from 6-7 p.m. (instead of at halftime);
• Norwell dance team performance before the game;
• Norwell Marching Knights halftime show;
• Parade of the classes at halftime;
• Coronation of king and queen at halftime.

VP Debate Scorecard

Katie's Restaurant

BIDEN: Can I respond? Look, all you have to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie's Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years.

Oops... Katie's restaurant wasn't on Union Street and hasn't been "Katie's" for about 20 years.

Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again."

ps:  picture of Senator Biden at the Home Depot was from "The Keebler" on Flickr.

Joe won that debate

I like Rich Hailey's take on the VP debate last night (read the whole thing, but here's a bit): 

Joe won his debate, totally eviscerating President Bush. Unfortunately, Bush wasn't actually at the debate, so it was kind of an empty victory, but Joe takes 'em where he can get 'em.

Joe was also very adamant that he and Obama will end the war in Iraq. If only I could be sure that they were just as adamant about winning it.

The O'Biden plan for ending the war appears to be to cut off funding and move the troops to Afghanistan. And Darfur. And Pakistan. Ending a war by starting two's almost as if Obama was a neocon or something.

Gov. Palin flabbergasted Joe when she corrected his mistakes on Afghanistan policy, when he claimed that the commander of the forces on the ground there said the Iraqi surge strategy wouldn't work. It turns out she knew more about what the general said than Joe did, and he was reduced to repeating irrelevant numbers.

By the way, if you watched you saw Senator Biden repeated saying we spend more in three weeks in Iraq than we have in seven years in Afghanistan.  According to the Congressional Research Service, spending on the war in Afghanistan since 2001 has been $172 Billion.  Spending in Iraq is, as the Democrats repeatedly mention, a little under $10 Billion a month.

CRS Report for Congress:

The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War
on Terror Operations Since 9/11

Covers FY2001 - FY2009
Afghanistan war $172 billion (8 yrs)
Iraq war $653 billion (6 years)

Let's just take average / year / week

AF: $21.5 billion / yr
IR: $109 billion / yr

3 weeks of IR $6.3 billion
7 years of AF $150.5 billion

Fewest Sunspots in a calendar year since 1954

From the NYT:  The Sun has been strangely unblemished this year. On more than 200 days so far this year, no sunspots were spotted. That makes the Sun blanker this year than in any year since 1954, when it was spotless for 241 days.

With 90 days left to go yet this year, the Times may have to revise that headline.

October 1, 2008

Dave Ramsey's Three Steps

I was listening to 100.1 FM, which is the old Bluffton Station, but seems to have switched to talk radio recently.  A guy named Dave Ramsey was on, talking about common sense things the government could do to fix this financial crisis... he made a lot of sense and I see this morning that a lot of folks have picked up the ideas and are promoting them.  Here they are (the ideas are inside the second step):

Three Steps to Change the Nation's Future

September 30, 2008

Imel headed back to State

Kaylee Imel's three over par 75 takes her back to the State Championship again this year.

The Bailout vs. Global Warming

Obama votes "Present"

Speaker Pelosi had help...

Before the suspension of the McCain campaign last week, there were four Republicans on record supporting the language in the bill as it was.  Senator McCain went back to Washington, got the House Republicans a seat at the negotiating table over the weekend, and their input in the bill for Monday's vote got sixty more Republicans to commit, far more than Pelosi should have needed to get the bill passed.

Senator Obama, on the other hand, showed up to the White House only when invited, spoke in platitudes, left, got beat in the debate Friday night, spent the weekend speaking in more platitudes, and did not lift a finger to dial the phone of any of his Democratic colleagues in the House to try and persuade them to consider supporting a bill Obama was half-heartedly on board with for the good of the country....

Barack Obama has done what he's done throughout his entire career, which is vote present, not offer any leadership. We don't even know what part of the plan he supports or doesn't support. John McCain delivered sixty Republican votes. When he went to Washington last week, only four Republicans in the House were in favor of this. They ended up with 64. There were enough Republican votes for the Democrats to get this done, but a third of the Democrats abandoned Nancy Pelosi. I have a feeling that if Barack Obama were at the table rolling up his sleeves, taking the same risk that John McCain took, they could have gotten that other twenty or thirty Democratic votes.

If it's a real crisis, then we see how each candidate will focus on a crisis.  If it is not a real crisis, then Senator Obama is lying by saying it is.  Actions speak louder than words.

September 29, 2008

Off the record...

From Instapundit:

A READER AT A MAJOR NEWSROOM EMAILS: "Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in arizona. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its working." I asked permission to reprint without attribution and it was granted.

Many believe the "new media" can balance the books, but that would take a set of candidates willing to ignore, boycott and ridicule the demands of the old media. Instead, Senator McCain and Governor Palin go on ABC, CBS, the View, etc. and let their words and selves be twisted into caricatures of the people they are.

In their own words

Down goes Bailout

Some are questioning the motives of House Leader Nancy Pelosi's partisan rant just before the vote:

To the extent any Republican voted against the bill because of Pelosi's speech, it may not be a question of them being offended by her partisanship, but the perspective that if Pelosi thinks that the situation calls for partisanship, it must not be a serious emergency, because leaders simply don't engage in such antics when a true emergency is at hand. For that matter, if I were a Democrat skeptical of the bill, Pelosi's speech may have discouraged me from voting for it for the same reason.

Could it be that she couldn't deliver her side of the votes? Or could it be that she'd rather keep the crisis on the table to help her party?

Watch for yourself, does it appear to be speech measured to maximize votes for the package? Remember, she's the third most powerful person in the country, third in line for the presidency, the Speaker of the House just before the big vote.

Update: Responsibility falls on the Speaker:

Responsibility falls on Speaker Pelosi not just because of her specific actions in this matter (which were deplorable), but because elections have consequences, and the consequence in 2006 was to give her more than ample institutional power to swing at least another 12 members of her party to produce the opposite outcome on this vote.
Speaker Pelosi and Barney Frank, etc. are out blaming the Republicans, of course, despite the fact that the Republicans are the minority party and despite the fact that the Democrats were too fearful to pass the bill themselves.

September 28, 2008

The Bailout, Graphically. Click on the image to make it bigger.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday

An Indiana Pastor defied the IRS today and picked a candidate for president from the pulpit.

It's hard enough to keep lifelong friends who disagree politically with you... throwing religion into the mix as well can only lead to more conflict.  I don't think Churches should be afraid to lose their tax-free status, they should stand up for what they believe in, but why not keep the focus on principles and not candidates.

Here's our $700 Billion Christmas Present

Pirates suffer radiation Burns?

How strange, how scary, it this?

A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates.

Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill "within days" of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died.

Andrew Mwangura, the director of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, told the Sunday Times: "We don't know exactly how many, but the information that I am getting is that some of them had died. There is something very wrong about that ship."

If it turns out that the Pirates hijacked an Iranian vessel with Uranium on board... man, what a smoking gun -- and talk about luck!  Not that the pirates were lucky, mind you...

A Comparison of the old plan and the new

Changes to the bailout plan

Of course, it's not written yet.. this is just an outline.

The End Price

The Wall Street Journal estimates the end-cost to taxpayers of the bailout.

Are Anti Gouging Laws causing the Gas Shortage?

We don't seem to have a shortage in Indiana (knock wood), but for those areas down south that are having a hard time finding gasoline, perhaps it's the anti-gouging laws that are the root cause of the shortages.  If the price rose as the supply of gas decreased, fewer people would buy and the supply would last longer.... if the price is prevented from rising, the supply runs out quickly.

No Bailout...

For those so inclined, you can sign a petition against the bailout here:

Barney Frank is on C-Span this morning, blaming Republicans, blaming Greenspan, blaming CEO's and private institutions, blaming everyone but his own blameless, sinless self... even though he's in charge of the House Finance Committee that should have been overseeing the institutions (Freddie and Fannie) that caused this whole thing.

Read about it in the Boston Globe

Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape. Five years ago, for example, when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that "these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis." When the White House warned of "systemic risk for our financial system" unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

Now that the bubble has burst and the "systemic risk" is apparent to all, Frank blithely declares: "The private sector got us into this mess." Well, give the congressman points for gall. Wall Street and private lenders have plenty to answer for, but it was Washington and the political class that derailed this train. If Frank is looking for a culprit to blame, he'll find one suspect in the nearest mirror.

September 27, 2008

Plastic Jesus Cool Hand Luke

Paul Newman...

Bailout Profits

The theory goes that if we taxpayers bail out all these failing mortgages, eventually we'll see a profit and get some, most, all, or more than our money back.  We evidently made a profit when we bailed out the savings and loans in the past (on a smaller scale).  But whenever there's money and politicians together in the same room -- watch your pockets.  If you read the link, you'll see that two of the folks who were heavily involved in letting this mess go nuclear (Democrats Chris Dodd and Barney Frank) are trying to sneak in earmarks for their buddies from any profits off of our money.

Are Republicans any better?  This crew in the house seems to have learned a lesson when they lost their majority for just that kind of backroom greed and selfishness with others money.


You know, what really makes me mad about this bailout plan is all the people saying, "I told you so."  Bush told us so, trying to get the problem fixed with new legislation in 2003, but was blocked. McCain told us so, trying to fix the problem with new legislation in 2006, but was blocked.  Last night Obama told us so, saying he, "sent a letter to warn the Treasury Secretary (which is a lame way for a Senator to try to fix a problem, why wouldn't he introduce legislation to fix it?).  And there's countless more in Washington, everybody's claiming they told us so, that they saw the financial world crumbling but couldn't get agreement to do anything about it.

It's as if they want us to believe they are powerless.  Where was Bush's press conference when his legislation was blocked, why didn't he go on National TV and explain the problem and ask people to call their Congressmen to fight to get it passed?  Where was McCain's press conference, why didn't he buy some commercial time on the air and call out those who were allowing this crisis to build?  And what did Obama do besides send a letter to try to cover his own failure to do anything.  Do they think everybody watches their daily yammering on C-SPAN, where they all start out each comment saying they reserve the right to "revise and extend their remarks" -- the right to change whatever they're about to say before they even say it? 
Yeah, yeah... they all saw it coming and all these rich, powerful politicians who have had the world's ear for the last two years as they travel the country and the world displaying their qualifications and plans just happened to forget to make a point of telling us the sky falling.