May 27, 2009

CAFE will give Detroit a heart attack

Dennis Kneale takes the new automobile CAFE standards to task  One point that Mr. Kneale makes is that the President just made a sweeping change to the automobile industry -- all on his own, no congress, no courts, just the executive branch reaching out and swatting Chevy, Ford and Chrysler with a demand for a 42% increase in miles per gallon.

Don't the people have a say anymore?

May 23, 2009

Down Syndrome Study May Cure Cancer

A very interesting article.  People with Down Syndrome rarely get cancer and scientists are starting to understand why.

May 21, 2009

CBS News: What if Cheney is Right?

D.C. Smackdown:  Advantage Cheney

It seems as if the Obama Administration is incredibly capricious about the evidence it chooses to release, and the evidence it chooses to keep under wraps. This capriciousness is puzzling; by calling for the release of memos detailing how successful enhanced interrogation might have been, Vice President Cheney is, in effect, inviting the Obama Administration to call shenanigans on his arguments. If enhanced interrogation was unsuccessful, the Obama Administration can show it through those memos and prove to the public that Dick Cheney was wrong.

Of course, it is entirely possible that the Obama Administration is refusing to release those memos because Dick Cheney was right. If so, the Administration's refusal to take up the Cheney challenge, while self-righteously claiming that Dick Cheney is wrong, is dishonest in the extreme. And if that dishonesty translates itself into policy, it will be to the detriment of us all.

It's too bad nobody had a debate like this last Fall.

Will California Cut Back Spending?

The L.A. Times says Arnold is planning to eliminate the welfare state in California.  This is exactly what needs to be done, and let American charity work where the government wastes.  Who, though, believes the President won't bail out the California before it comes to cuts.

May 20, 2009

Steal from owners, give to voters

Do you remember once working on your car? You know, back before the government forced cars to be computers? Back when you could set the timing and diagnose a problem based on a noise rather than a diagnostic code? Well, now Congress wants the car manufacturers to cough up the proprietary diagnostic hardware and software so owners can go where ever they want to fix.
The manufacturer of a motor vehicle sold, leased, or otherwise introduced into commerce in the United States must provide to the motor vehicle owner and service providers, using reasonable business means and on a non-discriminatory basis, all information to diagnose, service, maintain, or repair the motor vehicle. This information must include all information of any kind provided directly, indirectly, or wirelessly to new car dealers or any repair facility to diagnose, service, maintain, repair, activate, certify, or install any motor vehicle equipment (including replacement parts and equipment) in a motor vehicle.

The manufacturer of a motor vehicle sold, leased, or otherwise introduced into commerce in the United States must offer for sale to the motor vehicle owner and to all service providers on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis, any tool for the diagnosis, service, maintenance, or repair of a motor vehicle, and provide all information that enables aftermarket tool companies to manufacture tools with the same functional characteristics as those tools made available by the manufacturers to authorized dealers.

That sound so reasonable, doesn't it. If you buy a car, why shouldn't you be able to take it wherever you want to get it fixed? Well, one reason is that the information is protected and owned by the car manufacturers and Congress is trying to steal from owners and give to voters. Perhaps before passing this, Congress should rescind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act they passed in 1996. DMCA makes it a criminal offense to circumvent digital rights management (DRM) protections like they are proposing here.

Cheer it on, though... next they will circumvent DRM on printer ink cartridges and make that cheaper for the voters too... who could be mad? Just because the car manufacturers and the printer manufacturers employ people at good wages doesn't mean voters shouldn't get their products as cheaply as possible. Where do you work? And why shouldn't Congress give your company's products and services away, too? After all, as this bill (The Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act of 2009) states, "Owners are entitled to choose which service provider will diagnose, service, maintain, or repair [what they purchased]... and promoting competition in price and quality for the diagnosis of problems, service, maintenance... will benefit consumers."

Got that? If you buy something, you are entitled to choose where you will get it repaired and Congress will force the manufacturer to comply to your wishes.

Where do we live again?

May 19, 2009

35.5 mpg

Automakers and politicians laud 35.5 mpg fuel standards deal.  Despite the popular myth that Detroit is hiding a carburetor capable of upwards of 50 mpg, despite the urban legend that oil companies purchased up an engine that runs on water, this agreement isn't worth the paper it's printed on.  We're going to cut tailpipe emissions by 30 percent in six years?  We're going to raise the miles per gallon we get on cars to 35.5 mpg in 6 years even though only certain hybrids can reach that standard now?  There is no way our car manufacturers will meet those goals and whatever car gets close is going to be expensive and/or underpowered.

In the book "Atlas Shrugged," a railroad and a steel manufacturer were able to put out a product that ran rings around everyone else... super strong rails at a cheap price allowing long, fast trains.  Then Congress, in the guise of protecting workers, mandated a 60/60 law: no train could be over 60 cars long and no train could travel over 60 miles per hour... this meant more trains, so more workers; slower trains, more worker hours.  Congress continued by dividing up the country into regions and mandated that every railroad had to run the same number of trains in each region (whether the region used the rail fully or not).  The end result of this micro management is, of course, that everyone either quit or went bankrupt because their business purpose was no longer to create a profit, but to be a good member of society.

Yes, yes.  Atlas Shrugged in fiction... but how is the above any different from our real Congress mandating mileage standards without regard to engineering or customer desires?  If Congress wants Americans to use less fuel and be less polluting, then Congress should have the courage to tax fuel until we meet whatever arbitrary standard they're after.  Then the voters will have a better understanding of whose actually in charge in America.

May 18, 2009

Adam Baldwin and the "Cultural Fix"

It turns out Adam Baldwin is not only one of my favorite actors, but he's pretty decent at covering current events in the new media.  Witness, "A 'Cultural Fix'?:  Global Citizen Educators Rethinking Sustainability into Population Control vs. Academic Freedom"

May 15, 2009

Indiana Says 'No Thanks' to Cap and Trade

A nice article by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels in the Wall Street Journal today.  Daniels addresses the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act that's making its way through Congress now.  This is the Cap-and-Trade bill.  Governor Daniels has an interesting take:

The largest scientific and economic questions are being addressed by others, so I will confine myself to reporting about how all this looks from the receiving end of the taxes, restrictions and mandates Congress is now proposing.

Quite simply, it looks like imperialism. This bill would impose enormous taxes and restrictions on free commerce by wealthy but faltering powers -- California, Massachusetts and New York -- seeking to exploit politically weaker colonies in order to prop up their own decaying economies. Because proceeds from their new taxes, levied mostly on us, will be spent on their social programs while negatively impacting our economy, we Hoosiers decline to submit meekly.

The Waxman-Markey legislation would more than double electricity bills in Indiana. Years of reform in taxation, regulation and infrastructure-building would be largely erased at a stroke. In recent years, Indiana has led the nation in capturing international investment, repatriating dollars spent on foreign goods or oil and employing Americans with them. Waxman-Markey seems designed to reverse that flow. "Closed: Gone to China" signs would cover Indiana's stores and factories.

Read the whole thing... I think he's right, imperialism is the best description for the empires of California, New York and other states who look to suck the wealth out of the midwest to fund their own economies which they've taxed into oblivion.

Pouring Cold Water on Global Warming

An interesting article by  Terri Jackson

Nearly ten years into the 21 century it is clear that the UN IPCC computer models have gone badly astray. The IPCC models have predicted a one degree increase in global temperature by 2011 with further large temperature rises to 2100. Yet there has been no warming since 1998 with a one degree cooling this year being the largest global temperature change ever recorded. Nasa satellite imagery from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has confirmed that the Pacific Ocean has switched from the warm mode it has been in since 1977 to its cool mode, similar to that of the 1945-1977 global cooling period.

The evidence that the earth is in a cooling mode rather than a warming mode is there for all to see...

May 14, 2009

Feds Fund Ossian Downtown

Ossian has secured a half million dollar Community Focus grant from OCRA (Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs). Thus will people all over the United States of America be paying for downtown Ossian's sidewalks, streetlights and drains. The $500,000 comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The money is generally made available to slum areas.

Who knows, if the area folks keep dragging their feet on repairing Norwell, perhaps the Feds will step in and pay for that as well... or close it down.

Where have all the Kirks gone?

I liked the new Star Trek movie, but Heather Smith has a good point in "Where have all the Kirks gone?"

New Lincoln Cent

The US Mint unveiled a new penny today in Lincoln City, Indiana.

May 13, 2009

Roger Simon: Amadinejad Made me a Believer

I thought this was a wonderfully interesting piece of new media by Roger L. Simon.

Norwell announces new Principal

Current math teacher Mark Misch will replace Greg Mohler as Norwell High School principal after school lets out this year.

Verizon sells all Indiana Land Lines

All Hoosiers should pay close attention to their next few phone bills to see what happens since Verizon has sold all Indiana land lines to Frontier for over $5 billion dollars.

"Consumers would be well-advised to watch their phone bill to see if it changes in format or amount," says Martha Buyer, attorney and regulatory counsel for the Society of Telecommunication Consultants. It's entirely possible that customers with bundle discounts might wind up paying a la carte prices for each service. Since any changes will take between three and 12 months to implement, Buyer says, check the inserts in your phone bill in the upcoming months to see what, if any, deals Frontier will offer former Verizon customers.

Lucky for me, we're on FIOS, Verizon's fiber optics line for phone and Internet (not for TV, though).

Update: This article makes me wonder if all Verizon in Indiana is under transition... maybe I'm not so lucky after all.


I read an interesting little article about the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. I'm working my way through the book "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand which covers some of the same ground -- the book is fiction, but it describes an America where the little guys use the government to put all the big guys out of business... and where are we then? Where are we now?

General Motors Corp. has plans to sell Chinese-made cars in the United States two years from now, making it the first major automaker to import vehicles from China into the U.S., according to a report by Automotive News. The auto industry trade publication cited a document it obtained that GM (NYSE: GM) has been circulating among lawmakers. It said GM would look to sell more than 17,000 vehicles made in China to American consumers in 2011, and boost that to more than 51,000 by 2014. The United Auto Workers have been critical of GM for wanting to sell cars made overseas, particularly at a time when it is taking taxpayer money.

That's not so different from Nike, is it? Headquartered in Oregon, Nike uses cheap overseas labor to make shoes. RCA headquarters is in New York, but they don't make TVs in America anymore... so now goes the American auto industry... where taxes and the cost of labor are low, there jobs flow.

Update: East Chicago, Indiana based ArcelorMittal Steel laying off nearly 1000 workers this summer. ArcelorMittal is the world's largest steel maker and is based in Luxembourg, Belgium.

I'm telling you, reading the news is little different from reading Atlas Shrugged these days.

Update: Intel socked with $1.45Billion fine by European Union... you see, when taxes dry up, the government can just fine successful businesses to make up the difference.

Update: Obama eyes Google as a monopoly. Please, I thought the President was Internet savvy... Google is no a monopoly at all, there are plenty of search engines. What Google has is a good product and like all good products, like Intel, Google has money and the government wants it and the little guys want to knock down the big guys.

May 11, 2009

The Fascination of Dijongate

Why the media killed the audio when President Obama ordered Dijon mustard for his hamburger and the crazy reaction of the President's supporters when somebody reported it.  Remember, this isn't about mustard, it's about a media.

May 10, 2009

The "Chuck" factor

After being robbed nearly every week, a bakery in Croatia put sign in the window saying the store was under the protection of Chuck Norris"  -- they haven't had a robbery since.

Indiana Cell Phone Law

Beginning July 1st, those Hoosiers caught using their cell phones while driving on Indiana roads and while under 18 years old will be in trouble.  From the twisted wording of the bill it seems clear that legislators like to chat on their own phones while driving, otherwise, why not just outlaw it outright for everyone.   I don't know what the fine is for violating the bill.

Hydrogen Fuels Cells Thrown Under the Bus

Not only has the Obama administration stripped funding for Yucca Mountain (thus putting a damper on furthering our nuclear energy production), it has now stripped funding for hydrogen fuel cells for future cars.  The Administration prefers to focus on projects that will bear fruit more quickly.

On the other hand, experimenting on human embryos (which have resulted in little but cancer in the recipients while adult stem cells have resulted in actual cures) is just fine and dandy.

Yucca Mountain, which would benefit all parts of America, is a decent project for federal research grants (or tax breaks).  Experimentation if hydrogen fuel cells, also, would benefit all.  Both efforts would increase our energy independence and both projects are green.  Just like states that find themselves short of funds always threaten to cut police, firemen and teachers, Obama cuts the needed projects first, so everyone will understand increased taxes are needed.

May 9, 2009

Excuse me, Governor Daniels?

Indiana Governor Daniels, addressing the graduates at Butler University:  Boomer generation "self-centered, self-absorbed, self-indulgent and just plain selfish."

Daniels said he hoped today's graduating class would be part of a generation that would "live for others, not just yourselves. For fulfillment, not just pleasure and material gain. For tomorrow, and the Americans who will reside there, not just for today.''

We Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.  We haven't had "greatness thrust upon us," that's for sure, but on the other hand, here we are (Governor Daniels included) in full control of the United States.  Are we voiding our parents' social security or medicare?  No, even though most of us realize we will never take out of it what we have put in, were aren't ditching it and kicking "The Greatest Generation" to the side of the street, are we.  And what is the root cause of our current financial problems?  The government loaned too much to those who didn't have the ability to repay.  Is this a self-centered act?  No, even though we have learned now, the hard way, that not every American can live the American dream of home ownership.

Perhaps the Governor has forgotten the scenes of the Greatest Generation turning fire hoses on Black protesters who only wanted equal rights under the law as they were guaranteed under the Constitution. Perhaps he has forgotten the riots caused by the desegregation of schools.  We, the Boomers, are a far more tolerant generation than the one preceding us don't you think?  Isn't tolerance nearly the opposite of self-absorption, Governor Daniels?

How is it that we who are running America, we who give nearly $300 billion annually to charities throughout the world, can be described as self-indulgent and just plain selfish?  After the Asian tsunami, individuals in America gave over two billion dollars in relief.  As individuals we give seven times more than German citizens do, fourteen times more than Italian citizens do.  We volunteer, we pray for the sick, we pay for the poor, we care for our parents and our children... selfish, Governor?  Perhaps you're hanging around too many politicians.

Fort Wayne Komets win Turner again

Komets beat Jacks, claim back-to-back Turner Cup titles

For the first time in their 57-year history of professional hockey, the Fort Wayne Komets are back-to-back champions.

The Komets, the regular-season champions in the International Hockey League, added the Turner Cup championship on Friday night with a 4-1 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The Komets won the best-of-seven series 4-1 and that set off a celebration among the 10,480 spectators at sold-out Memorial Coliseum.

American Ancestry

We here in Indiana claimed our German heritage on the 2000 census, but notice the yellow Kentuckians and Tennesseans... yellow stands for those people who refuse to call themselves anything but Americans. Perhaps we should all remember that for this, the 2010 census. I think "yellow America" is much better than "blue" and "red" America.

May 8, 2009


RIP Dom Dimaggio

If you're a baseball fan, go out to and enjoy.  Dom was a 92, a great player for the Red Sox, nemesis of his brother Joe's team, the Yankees.  Dom, like his brother, missed a few of his best years in the league to serve America in World War II.  Dom and Joe's brother Vince also played for the Red Sox.

May 7, 2009

Nefertiti bust a fake

I always thought this bust of Queen Nefertiti was the most beautiful of ancient artifacts, right up there with King Tut's golden funerary mask, but where Tut's mask is all golden excess, Nefertiti was understated beauty.  Ah, sadly, the Nefertiti is a 1912 fake.

One teaspoon weighs 100 million tons

The outer surface of neutron stars are likely to be 10 billion times stronger than steel and one teaspoon would weigh 100 million tons.

Can't build with that stuff on the Ft. Wayne soil...

May 6, 2009

Senator Lugar's Conflict of Interest

It appears Senator Lugar backs cap and trade laws that end up making him money since he has over 600 acres of farmland. So the Senator, like so many other congressmen, stands to personally profit from his climate votes that will push Indiana businesses further down the pit.
Three years ago, Lugar, who grows corn, soybeans and trees on his family's 604 acres of property in Marion County, Ind., became the first farmer in his state to sign up with the new commodity market called the Chicago Climate Exchange, which is likely to play a major role in President Obama's $650 billion cap-and-trade initiative. In the process, Lugar became what the exchange called an offset producer, entitling him to a financial reward in return for keeping his part of his property untouched.

I'm sure he'll click glasses over lunch with all the other of his kind who enrich themselves while in office.


May 5, 2009

RIP Dom Deluise

Dom DeLuise has died at 75

Who doesn't remember him from Cannonball Run

Love and "The Seven Samurai"

The article, I Could Never Love a Woman Who Didn't Love 'The Seven Samurai' by Robert Avrech is a very nice read.

Spring Flu, Fall Pandemic

Scientists dig for lessons from past pandemics

In each of the four major pandemics since 1889, a spring wave of relatively mild illness was followed by a second wave, a few months later, of a much more virulent disease. This was true in 1889, 1957, 1968 and in the catastrophic flu outbreak of 1918, which sickened an estimated third of the world's population and killed, conservatively, 50 million people.

Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at George Washington University, who has studied the course of prior pandemics in both the United States and her native Denmark, says, "The good news from past pandemics, in several experiences, is that the majority of deaths have happened not in the first wave, but later." Based on this, Simonsen suggests there may be time to develop an effective vaccine before a second, more virulent strain, begins to circulate.

Mayhaps I'll take that shot this time.

Cinco de Cuatro?

President Obama, playing host to Mexico's Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan yesterday, said May 4th was "Cinco de Cuatro" -- sound's kind of like a Fifth Third bank thing, to me... He meant to say, "Cuatro de Mayo," the 4th of May.

And if President Bush had such a slip of the tongue?

May 4, 2009

Wells County Voice If you like to follow goings on in Wells County and Wells County Schools.  I'll add it to the rail on the right when I get a chance.

9 of every 10 weather stations fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements

Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?  A two year study of 850 of the National Weather Service's 1221 climate monitoring stations reveal:

"We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas.

"In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations--nearly 9 of every 10--fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements ..."

The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable. And the U.S. record is thought to be "the best in the world."

Cost of Stamps Drive Global Warming: Chart

Hmmm... it actually tracks better than Carbon Dioxide.

May 3, 2009

Musical Interlude from Rio Bravo

Rio Bravo is on TCM this Wednesday evening... thought I'd post the above performance by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson since it's mentioned in this wonderful review where Leo Grin explains that Rio Bravo came about as an answer to Gary Cooper's "High Noon"

In his now-famous 1971 Playboy interview, John Wayne recalled his own loathing for the film:

Everyone says High Noon was a great picture because [Dmitri] Tiomkin wrote some great music for it and because Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly were in it. In the picture, four guys come in to gun down the sheriff. He goes to church and asks for help and the guys go, “Oh well, oh gee.” And the women stand up and say, “You rats, you rats.” So Cooper goes out alone. It’s the most un-American thing I ever saw in my whole life. The last thing in the picture is ole Coop putting the United States marshal’s badge under his foot and stepping on it.

Some critics like to nitpick and remind us that Cooper doesn’t actually step on his discarded tin star, but Wayne’s then-twenty-year-old memory is plenty close enough for government work. The conclusion of High Noon (former President Bill Clinton’s favorite movie, natch) has marshal Will Kane casting his badge into the dirt with a sneer, his features oozing contempt for the yellow-bellied townsfolk he defended. “That was like belittling a medal of honor,” Wayne seethed privately to his friends.

May 1, 2009

400 Schools, 245,000 Students

Is this really necessary?  From all accounts, this new flu seems to affect people less than the old flu.

The government issued new guidance for schools with confirmed cases, saying they should close for at least 14 days because children can be contagious for seven to 10 days from when they get sick. That means parents can expect to have children at home for longer than previously thought.

The Education Department said that more than 400 schools had closed, affecting about 245,000 children in 18 states. That was about 100 more schools reported closed than reported on Thursday.

Have we become so afraid of illness that all must stop, everyone must hide at home for fear of the earps?

RIP Danny Gans, Man of 1,000 Voices

Las Vegas entertainer Danny Gans dead at 52

Skinny and Fatty

Anyone else remember this show from when we were kids ourselves?