April 30, 2009


Justice Souter is retiring at age 69 after 18 years in judicial power.
Should Congress follow his leaq? 25 US Senators are over 70.
Consider this court case:


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America is swimming in National Gas

U.S. Gas Fields Go From Bust to Boom  Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Alaska... massive natural gas discoveries are popping up all over. ,

Wabash Schools Evacuate Due to Flu

One middle school child has the flu, not even verified as the new flu, and the school evacuates... wow.

A letter on the district's Web site detailed the early release and said, "The best information we have is that there is no immediate risk to our community and there is no cause for alarm."

Health officials said the schools could stay open, but Shand made the decision to keep the kids home.

"We really wanted to be proactive and felt like it would not hurt to keep the kids home for a couple days," she said. "I don't believe there's reason to panic. We're taking all the measures we can."

April 29, 2009

Local Wal-Mart Crook Gambles with Cash

OK, all you supporters of gaming in Indiana... what did the guy who stole $100,000 from Wal-Mart do with the money?  He drove to Iowa to play the casinos.

On the other hand, if I read the article correctly, he won over $17,000...

Parker moves to AA

Norwell's own Jarrod Parker has been promoted to Double-A ball at Mobile in the Southern League.

Parker, considered to be the Diamondbacks' No. 1 prospect by Baseball America, left the California League after just four starts. But it was a dominant four-start performance by Parker.

Parker (1-0) ranks second in the Cal League in earned run average (0.95) and is among league leaders with 21 strikeouts. Opposing hitters were hitting well under .200 against Parker, who allowed 12 hits in 19 innings.

Parker pitches in the new league on Saturday.

Cruise Ship Attacked by Pirates

Cruise ship passengers fight off pirates

Tayler and the others rushed to the railing and also saw what he described as five or six men sitting in a roofless pirate boat. One started climbing a rope to the deck beneath them. "He was already halfway up," says Tayler. One passenger screamed: "Pirates!"

Without hesitation, passengers began to grab whatever they could find around them. "We immediately began throwing tables and deck chairs at the rope," said Tayler.

April 28, 2009

From The Corner

Koontz Lake wins Generational Lotto

Congratulations, Koontz Lake, Indiana, your Stimulus Number's been pulled out of the Generational Lotto!  Americans for generations to come will be paying for your new sewers.  Other big winners include:

Koontz Lake Regional Sewer District $14,312,000
Town of Carthage $4,390,000
Town of Dana $5,768,600
Town of Elnora $1,716,000

All you other towns, make sure you vote your current representatives back into office, perhaps you, too, will one day win the Generational Lotto!

Space Port Indiana

The creation of a space port in Columbus, Indiana had escaped my attention until recently. Space Port Indiana looks like a great addition to the Hoosier landscape... a space camp for kids, where they can lunch balloons and collect their own telemetry, a high tech test-bed for equipment which must operation in space... Excellent.

Senator Specter switches Parties

Arlen Specter, Republican senator out of Pennsylvania, saw that his support of the stimulus package was the last straw for many of his supporters, so he's switching and becoming a Democrat.   His fear was not that he wouldn't be re-elected, but that the Republicans would not nominate him for re-election.  Sitting congressmen and senators have little fear when it comes to elections, they have fine tuned the process for incumbency, but they have to be nominated to get there.

That this gives the Democrat party a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the senate doesn't mean too much since Senator Specter voted with the Democrats on the big money and big social issues anyway.

April 27, 2009

Mary Ann Glendon turns down the Laetare

Declining Notre Dame:  A Letter from Mary Ann Glendon

I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops' express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles" and that such persons "should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution's freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Mary Ann Glendon is a law professor at Harvard and was the US ambassador to the Vatican under President Bush. Notre Dame's Laetare Medal is an award given each year to someone's outstanding service to the Roman Catholic Church and society.  Last year, it was awarded to Martin Sheen.

Down goes MSM

I thought John Simpson's article about the media, From Fourth Estate to Fourth Branch of Government, was a fine read.

Raising Bill Gates

An interesting article about the early life and father of Bill Gates

Ron White Day

OK, I enjoy the Blue Collar Comedian Ron White, but Texas just passed legislation to make April 27th Ron White Day... I wonder if they've actually seen his act?

Flu Outbreak World Map

View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map

Click and drag, zoom in and out, click on the outbreak dots for more info... This is a dynamic map, so new outbreaks should appear when they are identified.

April 26, 2009

More flu reports from Mexico

More first hand reports out of Mexico...

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes

Not quite the story we're hearing on the news... I wonder which is true?

Wal-Mart associate walks out with $100,000

Let me get this straight, he works for a Wal-Mart accounting firm, has keys and access to the safe, the robbery is all on videotape... and the article fails to mention his name... only gives a description. What's the deal with that?

Update: OK, I see Indiana Newscenter has added the suspect's name to the article now... Brett Singer of Huntertown.

Mexican Archbishop Cancels Sunday Mass Nationwide

I thought there was more machismo in Mexico than in America, but I guess not. Can't say it's not upsetting to see the Church turn tail to a flu bug.

April 25, 2009

Captain Trips

OK, so we don't have a cool name for this new swine flu -- should we start tallying ideas?  It's too bad the media gave up being grown ups and can no longer be trusted to accurately portray what's going on... This certainly sounds scary:
I work as a resident doctor in one of the biggest hospitals in Mexico City and sadly, the situation is far from "under control". As a doctor, I realise that the media does not report the truth. Authorities distributed vaccines among all the medical personnel with no results, because two of my partners who worked in this hospital (interns) were killed by this new virus in less than six days even though they were vaccinated as all of us were. The official number of deaths is 20, nevertheless, the true number of victims are more than 200.

Click on the link to read more from the actual folks down there... lots of canceled public events, lots of military presence.

RIP Bea Arther

I can't say that I found her put-down style of humor on Maude and Golden Girls all that funny, but I certainly enjoyed both shows.

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April 24, 2009

Wealth Chart

The chart shows the rise in American after-tax income by income group 1979-2006. Some say that this shows a radical redistribution of wealth in the United States. I don't think so... or at least I think a lot of other factors need to be considered. We all know, for example, that we are part of the Baby Boom generation... so in 1979 a lot us were flipping hamburgers, digging ditches, working on the line... learning our trade. 27 years later, you bet a lot of us are making more. A large part of our population (us) moved from the lowest fifth up to the forth or top fifth or above. The median age in America is now up around 36 years old, that's quite a bit higher than it was in 1979... a large group of the population (us) are further along in their careers. Also, for those who file a joint return, how many of us baby boomers were married in 1979? Two incomes certainly look better than one these days.

I'm not saying that the rich didn't get richer... I'm just saying there are a lot more social factors associated with that than just tax policy. I certainly don't see that chart being related to any distribution of wealth toward the wealthy -- how can anyone see it that way when the wealthy pay more taxes than the non-wealthy? Any redistribution is going the other way. In as much as the top one percent of earners in America are earning 256% more than they were 30 years ago, good on them, and I hope to join them one day, and if my numbers are correct, I'm earning around 2200% more than I was in 1979, how about you?

Update: I should also mention that when someone develops a chart like the one above, he (or she) picks a start date for the chart. In this case, 1979. Odd start dates like 1979 are always suspect... consider what was going on in 1979, we were in the depths of the misery index, the Carter years... I might guess that 1979 was a low point, which is why, perhaps, it was chosen for the chart.

Aboite New Trails

Brooks Construction just pushed ANT (Aboite New Trails) a little closer to this year's goal of connecting to the Rivergreenway and New Haven scenic trail system -- 41 miles of walking and bike trails that start (nicely enough) practically right outside my door.  Brooks Construction donated its own self, toward the construction of trail connections. 

Check out the Trails of Southwest Allen County, IN

April 23, 2009

World Population Increase

Interesting. See the Rate of Increase of the world population (not the actual population, the rate of increase) and the distribution of the world's population by continent over time.  Notice the green line of Europe has fallen sharply since 1900 until now there are less people in Europe than in Africa.  Asia holds 60% of the world's people.

April 22, 2009

Ghost Street in Detroit

60 of 66 homes on this one street in Detroit are abandoned.  This fellow took picture and stapled them all together... zoom and scan the street...

Scientific Consensus and the Brain

An interesting review of the book "The Brain That Changes Itself" which is about training the brain to find alternate pathways after being damaged.  In addition to this being an interesting article in itself, it brings to light the dangers of scientific consensus:

The idea of brain plasticity has been discovered and forgotten many times over the centuries. The ancient Greeks accepted the idea, with Socrates believing that people could train their brains the way gymnasts train their bodies. Around the time of Galileo, the idea fell out of favour, as scientists began to see the world mechanistically, with each object, organ and even parts of an organ being attributed well-defined, unchanging roles. It was these ideas that led to the notion of our brains being "hardwired", an idea that today is steadily being overturned.

Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Brain That Changes Itself, says our ongoing belief that our brains are hardwired has held up medical progress. "Our best and brightest neuroscientists thought our brains were structured like complex machines, with each part performing one function in one location, and that had implications. If you were born with a part that was defective, and say it gave you a learning disorder, it meant there was nothing you could do, you had to learn to live with it. If you sustained a brain injury or had a stroke and part of your brain broke down, there was nothing you could do.

Not only did the best and brightest scientists believe our brains were hardwired, but they attacked those who disagreed with them and made sure those who weren't down with the consensus, didn't receive awards or recognition or grants or protection.

Makes you wonder about the current consensus on global warming...

Last Fort Wayne Krispy Kreme closes

Heyerly's always was better

Markle's Wayne Metals

The EPA alleges Wayne Metals in Markle has emitted excessive amounts of hazardous air pollutants.  The company has 30 days to answer the charge.

Our Quiet Sun

The Sun is the dimmest it's been for nearly a century and our nearest star is the quietest it has been for a very long time.  Some scientists believe we may be headed toward another "Maunder Minimum" type of cold spell on Earth because of this.  Other scientists believe this type of Solar activity has no effect on the temperature of the Earth.

Want to get away from it all?

The darker the area, the longer it takes to get there.  The center of Tibet is the most remote.

April 21, 2009

More Cassini Pics of Saturn

More wonderful pictures of Saturn, her moons and her rings from Cassini

Pedigree Dogs

If you have the time, watch this documentary from the BBC on what breeding has done, and is doing to dogs.

April 20, 2009

The President Cuts Spending!

President Obama has asked his Cabinet to reduce spending by 100 million dollars.   That would be the flea on the backside of his 2010 budget, above.

Rainbow over Southwest Fort Wayne

Gray belts a grand slam

Travis Gray (son of Sevens' member Kurt) hit a grand slam on Saturday to power the Knights to an 11 to 1 ten-run victory over Heritage.  The Norwell baseball team is 5-3 on the season.

Why the West is Boyle'd

David Goldman's analysis of East vs. West through the lens of Susan Boyle's celebrity is a devastating read.

April 19, 2009

Fort Wayne Tea Party

I didn't go to the Tea Party in Fort Wayne yesterday, but this article says that nearly 1,000 people did.  The picture above is from the "My Two Cents Worth" blog. 

The question "Who is John Gault" is from Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."  People ask the question, "Who is John Gault" in the book kind of like a replacement for "who can say?" or "Who knows why this is happening to America."  Simplifying the book more than it can, or should be simplified, the character, John Gault, represents a capable person who stops being capable, stops working so hard, stops trying because most of society allows, wants even, the government to take his money, his inventions, his profits to pay for those who are less capable, who aren't even trying, who are content to live off the energies of those who are driven to work hard and be successful.  In the book, successful people are vilified as "the rich" like so many today vilify CEO's... but as more and more successful people "go John Gault" (stop working so hard so they can lower their tax bracket or so society will stop hating them), society falls further and further apart.

I think Fort Wayne should have held the Tea Party on Tax Day like the rest of the country.

Here are some other's who wrote about it:

Fort Wayne Right Weblog

Fort Wayne Politics

Carol Rutz' Annexe and her pictures.

A twist on your normal motorcycle jump

Thanks to Seven's member Sherri Kumfer for the video... wow... I think the return trip took more guts than the first launch.

Universal Health Care

Regarding universal health care, everytime I hear the administration talk about it, they claim the government will not get between you and your doctor. A few minutes ago, on Meet the Press, White House economy adviser Larry Summers was talking about how to save money on Medicare costs and said something like this,

"...taking costs out of Medicare budget. But the really important issue for the long run, David, is changing the way we deliver health care in this country. You know, there's been a whole set of studies done, they look at health care frequency of certain procedures whether it's tonsillectomies or hysterectomies in different parts of the country. And what you see is, in some parts of the country, procedures are done three times as frequently and there's no benefit in terms of the health of the population. And by doing the right kind of cost effectiveness, ... we could take as much as $700billion a year out of our health care system."

He says that will more than pay for our universal health care coverage. Boy, talk about intrusive! A kid can't have his tonsils out because Indiana is limited to the same number of tonsillectomies as other states? A woman's doctor can't decide for himself whether his patient needs a hysterectomy?

When I see balance sheets like, "health of the population" vs "savings" vs. a list of medical procedures it means to me that Washington D.C. is going to start deciding whether it's cost effective to fight any given person's disease.

Rather than letting Washington decide about and pay for our health care... why not let the people make those decisions with their doctors all by themselves.

April 17, 2009

Crazy Orange County Police Pursuit

Ryne Otis named Player of the Week -- Twice

For the second straight week, Taylor's Ryne Otis has been named the Mid-Central College Conference Baseball Player of the week.

Otis' second career Player of the Week title was awarded after he extended his hitting streak to 14 games when he recorded hits in all six of Taylor's games. The Ossian, Indiana native recorded two hits in five out of six games to give him 15 multi-hit games this season.

For the week Otis batted .647 with a slugging percentage of .941. He had two doubles, one home run, crossed the plate seven times, and drove in ten runs as the Trojans completed a 4-2 week against Huntington University and Goshen College.

Nice!  Otis is batting .429 on the season and playing 1st base.

April 16, 2009

Baptist pastor beaten + tazed by Border patrol - 11 stitches

I think I'll send this to my Congressmen and Senators and ask them what they intend to do about it.

It's only money

President Obama unveils $8 billion Rail Plan

It just never ends... plan upon plan, dollar upon dollar without regard to reality.  Why should our government be involved in developing high speed rail travel?

The government has identified 10 corridors of 100 to 600 miles in length with greatest promise for high-speed development.

They are: a northern New England line; an Empire line running east to west in New York State; a Keystone corridor running laterally through Pennsylvania; a southeast network connecting the District of Columbia to Florida and the Gulf Coast; a Gulf Coast line extending from eastern Texas to western Alabama; a corridor in central and southern Florida; a Texas-to-Oklahoma line; a California corridor where voters have already approved a line that will allow travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two and a half hours; and a corridor in the Pacific Northwest.

Yeah, D.C. to Florida... gotta improve our governments ability to get out of town for vacation, don't ya know.

Parkview Field

It would be a good study, don't you think, to analyze ballpark names over the years.  Does that fact that Ft. Wayne's new ballpark is named "Parkview Field" tell you anything about where money is flowing best in the Ft. Wayne economy?  Names like "Turner Field" in Atlanta tells you something about Atlanta -- that Ted Turner and CNN turned News on it's ear there.  "Citi Field" is where the Mets play now... Citibank, right?  New York, Wall Street and all that.  The Giants play in "SBC Park" which stands for Southwestern Bell Communications -- cell phones, communications.

Here's list of minor leage ballpark names... study on your own... essay test tomorrow.

Glenbrook Mall owner files Chapter 11

The owner of Ft. Wayne's Glenbrook Mall filed for bankruptcy today

D.C. Lords and we their Serfs

Here is an interesting account of how free men were turned into Serfs in Russia and Europe

The phenomena that were common to these land were the increase in the political power of the nobility, and especially of the lesser nobility; the grants by princes to seigniors of jurisdictional authority over the peasants who lived on their properties; the adjustments of the seigniors to the secular trends of economic life; and the failure of the urban middle class to establish itself as an economic and political force. All of these factors helped to bring on serfdom.

What is a serf? A serf is a person who had no other economic option but to work the job given him by his Lord and master. In return for his labor, the serf was given protection and the right to work, though his Lord took the fruits of the serf's labor. So, in the past, people set themselves up as nobility (let's just say a congressman who write laws and provides bribes of our tax dollars resulting in his own reelection forever), this nobility, this congressman, gets more and more political power while we middle class serfs continue to work -- we never organize or gather our own political power, we just continue to provide our Lord the money to keep him in power.

The lords, armed with public powers, levied for their own use obligations originally imposed for the benefit of the prince, tightened the restrictions on the freedom of movement of their peasants, demanded increased amounts of goods and services from them, changed the terms of peasant tenures, and evicted peasants from their holdings to build up their own demesnes. Thus, through entirely legal means, the lords were able to set themselves up as despots of their villages, and to press their peasants into a condition of subjection and dependence upon them.

In Western Europe, enough people stood up for themselves and revolted against the Lords -- a new era of freedom and liberty resulted. In Eastern Europe, the Lords were too strong and there was not a strong enough middle class... the Lords put more and more restrictions on their serfs, levied bigger and bigger taxes on them, prevented them from traveling until a tradition of servility, an acceptance of the right of a few men to hold millions in bondage, was just the way everyone lived.

April 15, 2009

Reparations: Yet another way to spend our money

Did you know that John Conyers, Democrat Congressman from Michigan, has introduced a Reparations for Slavery bill? Why? Well,

To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.

My ancestors didn't even arrive in America until the end of the civil war... I'd bet that most current taxpayers' ancestors had nothing to do with slavery in America. In fact, President Clinton already issued a national apology for slavery in America and Congress issued their own apology for slavery in America just last year. Now why, why should the tax money (including the taxes of Chinese Americans and African-Americans) of people who had nothing to do with slavery be paid to people who have never been slaves... who's parents were never slaves,.. whose grandparents were never slaves...

And if you believe taxpayers should pay reparations for slavery, why pick now, when we're trillions of dollars in debt and sinking, to bring it to the front burner? And if you believe taxpayers should pay reparations for slavery, how will we decide who the recipients are? Should the President get a reparation check? Even though his father was from Africa and his mother was white? How much African American blood and how much proof of that will each person need to get their check? What a can of worms, what a sad time to introduce this bill. And doesn't Michigan have other problems upon which Representative Conyers should be focusing?

Here's a nice read regarding this bill.

Balance Sheet

Even though the government has made 14% less in the last six months than in the same six months last year, they have spent 33% more than they did last year.  Make less, spend more... and they never, ever cut back.

Norwell Searches for a New Principal

Norwell is actively looking for a new principal... and yes, that is our own Sevens' school board member Scott Elzey in the pic.

News-Sentinel Faith Poll

The News-Sentinel is running a poll on how religious we are...the agnostics and atheists are way ahead in the polling.  Perhaps the faithful don't know about it?

Here it is

Congress has re-introduced reparations for slavery

Sure, why not... we have plenty of money laying around to pay for the sins of past centuries.  But didn't the nation pay a might cost already in the civil war?

April 14, 2009

Regarding Adam Lambert

If we'd had the Internet, hundreds of TV channels, video iPods, talk radio and the like in the 1970's... what would we have thought of Freddie Mercury?

Conversely, if we would have encountered Adam Lambert as a disconnected voice, drifting from an FM radio as we cruised the streets of Bluffton some Saturday night and not through his minute-and-a-half-a-week American Idol videos... would our perception of him be different?

Hoosier wind farming

Did you know that in 2008 Indiana is the fastest growing state for wind energy installations?

"Two more wind farms are breaking ground this week and Governor Mitch Daniels has proclaimed April 13-18, "Indiana Wind Energy Week."

American Tea Party Anthem by Lloyd Marcus

Whose a radical?

I heard at work today that the Department of Homeland Security had put out some kind of memo that effectively labeled a whole lot of people radicals. I thought it was exaggerated, but then I read the memo:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

OK, I don't consider myself a radical or someone who hates... but I am a Catholic and I am opposed to abortion. I also think we should protect our borders. Are there no "haters" on the left? The paragraph above certainly reads as if all hate emminates from the Right. I certainly don't like the wording chosen for this document by the Department of Homeland Security. Along with he above lumping of everyone on the right in with hate-mongers, you have wordings like this:

Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.

I certainly don't like the coining of the word "rightwing" rather than the proper "right wing." And don't you think nearly everyone in the country, right or left, are chattering about the economy from their own perspectives? Crazies on both sides will do crazy things.

Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.

Debates over immigration generally fall within the realm of the First Amendment? Generally? Ain't that a kick in the pants kind of statement.... the Department of Homeland Security is deciding now what free speech is?

Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms.

Ya think? Do you notice how people are being lumped together? If you're against abortion, if you're against gun control, if you're against illegal immigration... extremist! This is really a ham-handed, self-fulfilling document. What is the goal in releasing a document like this? It scares and angers the very people it identifies as paranoid and angry. If the government describes your positions as radical and warns law enforcement about you... are you being paranoid? The evidence is right there, in black and white! Doesn't it make you angry to be described as an angry person by some government bureaucrats you've never met?

Update: A nice analysis from Powerline

Update: Another nice analysis from Big Hollywood's John Romano

Update: Yet another interesting analysis

Where do tax dollars go?

Where does all the money go?  As I've said before, it's a shock to see that states spend nearly (and some more than) half our tax dollars on grade school and college education.

April 13, 2009

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych has died

Mark Fidrych, the crazy pitcher for Detroit in the late seventies, has died in an accident, pinned under his own truck.

Marilyn Chambers has died

Marilyn Chambers, whatever anyone thinks, and for better or worse, was an American cultural icon... and it's sad to see anyone pass away at 56.

There can be only one

Two die in Indianapolis sword fight

April 8, 2009

The Salt Nanny

New York City's Mayor Bloomberg has decided, all on his own, without the scientific method to back him up, to reduce salt in foods sold in New York City.

You might, for instance, take note of a recent clinical trial in which heart patients put on a restricted-sodium diet fared worse than those on a normal diet. In light of new research suggesting that eating salt improves mood and combats depression, you might be alert for psychological effects of the new diet. You might worry that people would react to less-salty food by eating more of it, a trend you could monitor by comparing them with a control group.

But if you are the mayor of New York, no such constraints apply. You can simply announce, as Michael Bloomberg did, that the city is starting a "nationwide initiative" to pressure the food industry and restaurant chains to cut salt intake by half over the next decade. Why bother with consent forms when you can automatically enroll everyone in the experiment?

Read the whole thing for interesting facts about salt in your diet... including the fact that scientists have not been able to prove that lowering your salt intake lengthens your life or your health.  But if your the Salt Nanny, all you care about is controlling the babies in your charge.

I heard a caller on the radio the other day, on a different subject ask, "What am I allowed to decide for myself?"  The government plans to pick the kind of car you drive, determine it's gas mileage, enroll you in some health care plan... and at some levels of government you'll be told not to eat Trans Fats, not to eat too much salt, not to carry this or that gun, not to speak out about this or that subject... yes, what am I allowed to decide for myself?

MAD: The Infrastructure Wars

It's rather well known in IT circles that China and Russia have been creeping around in the bowels of our nation's computers for years.  It's way too late to shut the barn door on computer security.  The Wall Street Journal reports today that our enemies have socked away sleeping timebombs, ready to do their bidding, in our electric grid. 

Many of the intrusions were detected not by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.

Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, "If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on."

Officials said water, sewage and other infrastructure systems also were at risk.

"Over the past several years, we have seen cyberattacks against critical infrastructures abroad, and many of our own infrastructures are as vulnerable as their foreign counterparts," Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair recently told lawmakers. "A number of nations, including Russia and China, can disrupt elements of the U.S. information infrastructure."

One thing America has over these countries is really, really good, inventive programmers.  If we haven't already, I think we should set them loose as cyber warriors... unleash our cyber hounds to hack China and Russia and whoever else we're worried about.  One thing that has prevented China and Russia from trying to Nuke America is MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).  We need to make sure our enemies know that if our electric grid goes down because of them, their software systems will be destroyed as well.  MAD:  The Infrastructure Wars.

April 6, 2009

Austrian is not a language

OK, so once again President Obama has handed Letterman and Leno a gift of a gaffe... saying that he doesn't know how to say a particular phrase (wheeling and dealing) in Austrian.  Hey, they speak German in Austria, man!  Letterman and Leno are professional comedians, so I guess I must leave it to their judgement whether Obama's gaffes are funny or not.  Regardless, the Prez has no end of material.

Indy Mayor Robbed in Detroit

The mayor of Indianapolis was robbed while in Detroit to see the NCAA games. He stopped to help someone who was faking a seizure and was surrounded and had his pocket picked of his cell phone.

An elusive bird with a siren song

From the Augusta Chronicle: A Corrupt Washington is Paying Us Hush Money

Career politicians are spending the country to near-bankruptcy as they feather their own nests, tighten their leash on our necks and pat us on the head. They take our money, bend it to their will, then return small portions of it at their discretion to make us feel it has all been worth it...

Washington is over $10 trillion in debt already. The Obama budget blueprint calls for adding another $9 trillion to that debt in the next 10 years. And the country is already facing untold trillions -- $60 trillion or more -- in Medicare and Social Security promises we've made to future retirees, money for which we have no identifiable source. Meanwhile, with the power to give out our money as they wish, congressmen take campaign money from lobbyists and industries they regulate.

Do you know where your Tea Party is being held in April? In Fort Wayne, there's one on April 18th, starting at 11am at the Courthouse. In Indy, it's at 2pm on April 15th.

April 5, 2009

Shutting Down Detroit

John Rich just gave a rousing rendition of his populist song "Shutting Detroit Down" on the Academy of Country Music Awards. A whole lot of millionaires stood on their feet cheering as he changed his lyrics and from

Cause in the real world they're shutting Detroit down
While the boss man takes his bonus pay and jets out of town


Cause in the real world they're shutting Detroit down
While the boss man takes his lazy ass and jets on out of town

I've been on every side of a job and have never thought my bosses, co-workers or those who worked for me were lazy... all the lazy folks were fired long ago. I suspect the CEOs would much rather be working the line than the folks on the line would want to be CEOs. You work the line, get a lot done, you go home, usually after eight or nine hours, and little that happens is your fault. You're a CEO, you work all the time, all the time... there's seldom a sense of accomplishment, nothing is ever done, everything that goes bad is ultimately your fault and even when things go well you're dealing with problems all day, all week, all damn year.

In the real world, the government is meddling with Detroit, forcing unrealistic CAFE standards, causing uncertainty with coming CAP and TRADE taxes that will force factories to lose even more money and not protecting the boarders, which is their primary job. In the real world, Detroit auto workers make far more money than any other auto workers in the world and unions have forced health care and pension deals for their retirees that are driving Detroit to bankruptcy.

Not that a song should reflect real life, but a catchy refrain like "In the real world they're shutting Detroit down" only riles people up.

Pay for Performance

The House has passed their "Pay for Performance" bill which gives the Feds control over performance reviews and how much people get paid in companies receiving bailouts. I haven't read much analysis of it yet, but if this eventually passes, doesn't it make Washington DC the nation's HR department?

I mean, why not decide how much defense contractors should be paid, regardless of contracts? They're taking federal money, aren't they? And aren't the Democats against pay based on performance when it comes to teachers because there are so many factors involved that aren't under the teachers' control? How is that different for a CEO or any executive?

Should Washington decide how well road construction crews are performing if federal dollars are involved? Whether police are getting paid too much since they've taken so much federal money? Should the Feds set the price of corn since farmers take federal money in subsidies? And if the President and the Democrat Congress push through universal health care -- won't they also get to decide how much each doctor, each nurse, each orderly deserves to be paid based on the political whims of a few hundred two-bit politicians who made it to the golden ring in Washington?

And why shouldn't the president and the treasury secretary in Washington decide how much pay Gov. Mitch Daniels or State Rep Jeff Espich or any other Indiana State workers get paid since Indiana took TARP funds? Why shouldn't President Obama, or some Senate committee in Washington decide whether our governor is performing well enough or should be removed from office?

If Washington decides pay and performance for banks and CEO's who take federal money, then they can, given incentive and a dark night to vote, control nearly every service, void nearly every contract, and decide who are good performers and who are bad throughout the country... With one glaring exception: Washington itself is above all that and woe to anyone who holds their feet to the fire of accountability.

Take a step back and bow to your Senate Lords.

April 2, 2009

Obama's European Presser

I just caught the tail end of President Obama's press conference at the G20 in Europe. He said,

"I'll take one more question from a foreigner."

Oh, he covered a bit, saying that he was joking (his voice was not changed at all, so it wasn't a joke) and that he meant, of course, a question from a non-American reporter... But where's the joke in an American acting like everyone else in the world is a foreigner? Do Europeans really find that funny? I think not.

You can bet that had this been Bush, it would have led the Tonight Show and Letterman and would never have been forgotten. Since it was a democrat, since it was Obama, just so, you can bet it will make no copy at all, on any network show.