February 26, 2009

Honk if you're paying my mortgage

Gotta get me one of these bumper stickers...  some say it should read, "Honk if I'm paying you're mortgage," but I like it this way just fine... besides the defaulters are mostly in California, Nevada, Florida, etc. and I doubt they'd honk anyway.  It's the 92% of us who are paying our mortgages who feel like honking!

February 25, 2009

Dilbert makes my point

Go here to read the Dilbert comic strip online.  The content today is exactly what I was blowing off steam about in my last post.

February 24, 2009

Obama just said...

"I intend to hold these banks fully accountable for the assistance they receive. This time This time CEO's won't be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over."

I guess padded paychecks and fancy jets are just for Congress and the Administration now. Washington D.C. is full of hypocritical, posturing, blowhards. They fly everywhere in the world without a thought to the cost or energy but complain when anyone else does. They pamper themselves to every little thing, feeding at the public trough, and then belittle CEOs their office drapes. They work a few days a week and spend all their free time pandering and writing bribes-for-votes into bills. They clap and smile at each other and then make snide remarks behind their hands. Under penalty of law, they force non-politicians to sit below them so they can brow-beat whoever they want on national television.

The road to recover lies in term limits and cleaning these people out of Washington D.C... but they've turned the nation's capital into a place where normal people can hardly function, where few non-lawyers can see themselves working... so who is out there who can replace them?

Yes, President Obama just said, ""I intend to hold these banks fully accountable for the assistance they receive." and later he told all American's our tax cut "checks on on the way." Well... when you open your check, remember... Washington "intends to hold you fully accountable for the assistance you receive." Washington intends to enter your life and set your priorities and they won't stop until enough people have had enough of Washington "accountability."

Kudos to the Headline Writer

Back in 2006, the Atlanta police executed a no-knock raid on the residence of a 92-year-old woman.  The whole thing was a mistake, an informant had given the police the address claiming it was a drug house.  When the old woman heard her door being broken down, she shot through the door and then she was shot many times in a hail of 39 bullets,   Rather than admit they were wrong, and before they called an ambulance for the old lady, the cops planted drugs in the house to make it look like it was a good killing.  Anyway,  the trial is over now and three cops are going to jail, prompting this great headline at the Agitator:

Tearful Atlanta Cops Express Remorse for Shooting 92-Year-Old Kathryn Johnston, Leaving Her To Bleed to Death in Her Own Home While They Planted Drugs in Her Basement, Then Threatening an Informant So He Would Lie To Cover It All Up

What a great headline -- you could hardly make it shorter and still get the feel for the dirtiness of these police... and, if you read the article, there's a lot to be said for the futility of the war on drugs.

LastFM

I wrote about Pandora's Box last fall, a nice web site that offers up music based on what you like to hear.  Well, LastFM is another site that does about the same thing.  Just type in an artist or band and it creates a radio station that plays their music and offers links to similar sounding artists.  Very nice.

February 21, 2009

Mortgage Crisis?

The New York Post has a very nice article on what politicians are calling "The Mortgage Crisis," but read the article and find out that this isn't a crisis all across the country, only in five states.... and even in those states a lot of the people who can't pay their mortgages are quite well off.   Why is it that we have to pay for them again?

The beneficiaries of taxpayer charity will be highly concentrated in just five states - California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Michigan. That is not because the subsidized homeowners are poor (Californians with $700,000 mortgages are not poor), but because they took on too much debt, often by refinancing in risky ways to "cash out" thousands more than the original loan. Nearly all subprime loans were for refinancing, not buying a home.

Boosting the Obama team's selective mortgage subsidies, Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com recently told NBC, "either you can help your neighbor, and help them so they can stay in their home. Or don't help them, and they'll lose their home, and it will cost you money, because . . . your home will have just dropped in value." On the contrary, federal subsidies for over-indebted homeowners will not often involve helping "neighbors" but rather those who live thousands of miles away, mainly in just five states.

I, for one, find paying for some Richie-Rich in California who screwed up his own finances hard to swallow.

February 18, 2009

Very Nice Comercial for a Stereo System

Finally made it!

You can click on the image above to make it bigger. Sevens started on August 1st, 2007 for the express purpose of funneling Google Ad money into the class reunion fund for the Norwell class of 1977. Here, eighteen months later, we have finally broken Google's minimum $100 barrier which means we should be getting a check in the mail sometime in late March or early April. In other words, Sevens is an incredibly slow way to make money. It only brings in $5 a month... but hey... we finally got there. And to those of you who find interest in and click on the ads on the right hand side every now and then -- thanks!

The Stimulus Bill and you

If you thought nobody read the monster stimulus bill that just passed, you'd be wrong. Click here for a nice pdf brochure describing difference aspects of the bill and how you might use them. For example, did you know you can deduct the sales and excise taxes of any new vehicle you purchase in 2009 from your 2009 taxes? Nice!

OK, so I'm not a big fan of the bill... but I'm not a big fan of the digital conversion of TV's and that didn't stop me from taking advantage of two of those credit card thingies the feds gave out for converter boxes. So I'll take advantage of whatever portions of the bill help me out. What else can we do?

February 16, 2009

If Kansas can't pay her bills

Maybe Kansas should cut back on her services

Kansas has suspended income tax refunds and may not be able to pay employees on time, the state's budget director said Monday.

The state doesn't have enough money in its main bank account to pay its bills, prompting Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to suggest transferring $225 million from other accounts throughout state government. But the move required approval from legislative leaders, and the GOP refused Monday.

Budget Director Duane Goossen said that without the money, he's not sure the state can meet its payroll. State employees are due to be paid again Friday.

Goossen said the state stopped processing income tax refunds last week.

Why is Kansas spending $12 billion a year when they bring in under $6 billion in taxes and how long did they think that could go on? Why is Kansas spending over $5 billion a year on Education? Nearly every state in the union is spending half their budgets on education and what, what are they... what are we getting for it? The Education System of America is out of control, I tell you. We are throwing money down holes and showing nothing in results for it.

NASA's "Constellation" pictures

NASA's manned Constellation Program will be replacing its Shuttle Program around 2012.  No, the picture above isn't a flying saucer (even though it sure looks like one), it's a heat shield for re-entry.  Click here are some very nice pictures of the Constellation program development.

Worth a good chuckle


Ready, Set...

I like that even though the current administration in Washington D.C. has delayed the mandatory switch to digital TV, Channels 21, 33 and 39 are switching over tomorrow (2-17) anyway.  Good for them!  I don't particularly like that this is happening at all, but if it's gonna happen, let it happen.

Question:  What happens to all the old broadcasting gear?  I mean, I personally have several little, old televisions that will be useless after this switch.  (Why would I hook up a $70 digital converter box to a 2 inch, handheld color TV?  Why would I hook up a converter box to a cheapo 6 inch black and white television monitor?)  I imagine some future where someone pirates the old broadcast channels and people continue watching on their old, obsolete TVs.  The government may feel it can control the electronic spectrum, but how hard is it, really, to broadcast analog on UHF?  More realistically, I imagine some small companies or schools could set up small stations on the cheap with all this old gear and broadcast privately for communications and training purposes.

February 15, 2009

When Satellites Collide

I didn't think the colliding satellites a few days ago was such a big deal, but reports of fireballs, space debris, sonic booms and even earthquakes show I may have been wrong... here's a weather service report out of Kentucky on the 13th:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSON HAS RECEIVED CALLS THIS EVENING FROM THE PUBLIC CONCERNING POSSIBLE EXPLOSIONS AND...OR EARTHQUAKES ACROSS THE AREA. THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION HAS REPORTED TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT THESE EVENTS ARE BEING CAUSED BY FALLING SATELLITE DEBRIS. THESE PIECES OF DEBRIS HAVE BEEN CAUSING SONIC BOOMS...RESULTING IN THE VIBRATIONS BEING FELT BY SOME RESIDENTS...AS WELL AS FLASHES OF LIGHT ACROSS THE SKY. THE CLOUD OF DEBRIS IS LIKELY THE RESULT OF THE RECENT IN ORBIT COLLISION OF TWO SATELLITES ON TUESDAY...FEBRUARY 10TH WHEN KOSMOS 2251 CRASHED INTO IRIDIUM 33.

How about that...

See also: Space Debris Falling in Texas

Swimming, by Carmel

It seems like only a year ago I was writing here that Carmel had won 22 Indiana Girls Swimming Championships in a row. Well... make that a national record 23 years in a row that Carmel has won the Indiana Girls Swim Meet.

The greatest high school sports dynasty on record, the boys swimming team of Honolulu Punahou (President Barack Obama's high school), whose streak reached 29 years until it fell short in 1986.

With No. 23 in the bag -- the team walked around the pool with "Be Like Mike 23'' T-shirts, a reference to Michael Jordan's No. 23 -- Carmel passed the Punahou girls swimming team for the most consecutive titles in a girls sport.

Congratulations to the Norwell girls who participated in the meet: Logan Brinnk, Brooke Cossairt, Stephanie Bussey and Kelley Brewer.

February 14, 2009

Norwell falls to Elmhurst

It wasn't Norwell's night on Saturday. After taking Elmhurst to halftime with a 24-24 tie, the girls couldn't outrun, outrebound or outscore Elmhurst in the last two periods. The Lady Knights ended a great season just short of a sectional title, losing 43-61 in a fast-paced game. The Knights were 21-2 on the season.

February 13, 2009

Norwell wins 18th straight game

video

The Norwell defense did a great job blocking out and going after Peru throughout their semifinal game tonight. Peru averaged 53 points a game this season and the girls held them to just 30 points while the Knights scored 63.. They'll be facing off tomorrow evening for the sectional title against the winner of today's Elmhurst-Wayne game (update: Elmhurst defeated Wayne 70-34). The Knights were expected to defeat Peru, Elmhurst is a tougher ticket -- the only surprise tonight was how few students and fans turned out for the game. The gym at Bellmont had room for three times more people.

Perhaps that's the major difference between the games we used to attend in 1976-77 and today. Oh, sure, some seasons our teams didn't draw too many fans, but when Norwell was ranked and moving through the sectionals and regionals -- the students, parents and fans got out and turned up the volume. Where have they all gone?

February 11, 2009

February 10, 2009

Stimulate Indiana

No, that's not our new license plate motto.  It's the motto of the Indiana legislators

The Indiana House approved two massive spending bills Tuesday -- a job-creation proposal that would funnel $1 billion toward local road projects and an education budget that would give schools a 2 percent spending increase....

The funds would come from three sources: $250 million from expected federal stimulus money, $250 million from federal money the state holds in several highway accounts and $500 million from an interest-generating trust fund created from the lease of the Indiana Toll Road in 2006.
 

Spending our savings, and federal money we don't even have, to improve our roads and schools... I don't understand how this is supposed to get the Hoosier economy rolling.  I'm not adverse to working on a road crew, should it ever come to that... it might even do me some good... but any money made working on the roads by baby-booming, fifty-something, middle-managing men and women who have lost their jobs, their 401K's and their medical insurance is certainly not going to be spent on luxury items like RVs or Ford F150's.  It'll be spent paying off loans to bankers -- one little monthly payment at a time, even though our representatives have already given those same bankers hundreds of billions of our tax dollars.

Green Lulin Approaches Earth

Superman must be quaking in his red boots at the thought of a green-comet headed this way.

The comet makes its closest approach to Earth (0.41 AU) February 24, 2009. Current estimates peg the maximum brightness at 4th or 5th magnitude, which means dark country skies would be required to see it. No one can say for sure, however, because this appears to be Lulin's first visit to the inner solar system and its first exposure to intense sunlight. Surprises are possible.

Lulin's green color comes from the gases that make up its Jupiter-sized atmosphere. Jets spewing from the comet's nucleus contain cyanogen (CN - a poisonous gas found in many comets) and diatomic carbon (C2). Both substances glow green when illuminated by sunlight in the near-vacuum of space.

The comet will rise a few hours before the Sun, maybe 3am, in the southern sky.  February 16th and 24th will be the best days, but no one really knows how bright Lulin will be since it's never passed this way before.

February 9, 2009

The Deniers

Read this nice review of "The Deniers" by Lawrence Solomon, a book about scientists who disagree with the human-caused, CO2 global warming meme that's forced its way into all of our lives.  One paragraph of a long, detailed review is below.  The review is an interesting read in itself!  I may need to get this book...

Lawrence Solomon, the Canadian environmentalist and anti- nuclear campaigner, sought to find well-regarded scientists who disagreed with the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) hysteria promoted by Al Gore and the IPCC. The result was astonishing in that for all of the headline issues of the AGW hypothesis, he found dissenting scientists who were consistently the most accomplished and eminent people in their respective fields of expertise. In fact, the more he searched, the more there seemed to be, complete with data and analysis to support their positions. Chillingly, several of them, despite their substantial expertise and reputations, declined on-record interviews for fear of losing their funding and, in some cases, their jobs.

Logan Brink heads to State

Logan Brink won the 100 yard freestyle and the 100 yard backstroke and helped Norwell break the Jay County Sectional meet record in the medley relay.  She's headed to the State meet on Friday and Saturday in Indy.  The Norwell girls placed third in the sectional, despite spotting the rest of the field a race and some swimmers -- Norwell was disqualified in the 400 after finishing first in its prelim heat -- team members jumped back into the pool to warm down before the last relay finished its swim -- drawing the disqualification.

Kindle 2

The 2nd generation Amazon Kindle Reader was announced today.  Nothing radically new, but here's a description of the differences.  I may have to save up and buy one, one of these days.

Fort Wayne Bandits

The Fort Wayne Bandits, a local Wheelchair Basketball Team, defeated defending National Champions "Hill on Wheels" to win the "Bluegrass Invitational this weekend and are headed to Denver for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association National Tournament beginning March 18th.

Go guys!

February 6, 2009

Norwell ends season with Southern Wells

Just for the record, the Norwell Girls' Basketball team of 1976-77 went 20-4 on the season, losing to Leo, to Bellmont, to Eastside and (in the final four) to Mount Vernon. East Chicago Roosevelt then beat Mount Vernon to win the old-style, all-class, State Championship.

The 2008-09 Norwell girls defeated Adams Central on Wednesday and Southern Wells this evening, ending their regular season with a great 16 game winning streak and going 19-1 on their way to the Sectionals, which start next week at Bellmont.

Go Knights!

Chaney wins Courage Award

A very nice article from the Indiana NewsCenter about Norwell's Haley Chaney

In the last twelve months Haley Chaney has defied the odds time and time again. She survived an accident that left her on life support and even though the doctors said it wasn't likely, just a couple months later Haley was back on the hardwood doing what she loves. Sadly, Haley took an elbow to the head a couple weeks ago, ending her career as a basketball player. Then, on Wednesday night, a moment Haley will never forget.

Haley's Coach Eric Thornton came up with a plan to get her on the court one more time. Coach Thornton said "I think everyone wanted to see Haley out there on the floor one last time."

It was senior night, a night that would not be complete for the Lady Knights unless Haley was on the floor. She got that moment. One play with no contact, Kylie Dial dribbling up the floor, the pass to Haley, and an outstanding career is complete. Haley's close friend Kylie Dial said that moment was amazing. "Dribbling down the floor and looking for Haley was just unbelievable. And then passing her the ball and her making it and then the crowd cheering, it was an amazing experience."

Twelve hours later, another moment that will forever live on in Haley's memory. She was chosen by the National Federation of High Schools as their courage award recipient.

And read also, The last layup, from the Bluffton News-Banner and the Banners article (and pictures) regarding the courage award.

February 4, 2009

Norwell girls roll over Whitko

The Lady Knights moved to 17-1 on the season and won their 14th game in a row on Tuesday by rolling over Whitko 67-39.

February 2, 2009

Google Earth... and Mars!

The new version of Google Earth includes sea floor maps and maps of the surface of Mars.  Cool!

Cassini Explores Saturn


Cassini switching to backup thrusters.  Nice pic, eh?

Martha Revisited

A while back, scientists analyzed what George Washington would have really looked like at different ages... now they've done the same for Martha...  nice couple, don't you think?

7th Coldest January

Fort Wayne had its 7th coldest January on record this year, and the groundhog saw her shadow, meaning six more long weeks of winter to go.

Norwell girls sweep through NHC for title

Norwell won the NHC Conference Title again this year for their third straight title.  The girls won their 13th straight game Saturday night, defeating 4A East Noble 47-41.  The Knights are 16-1 on the season and went 7-0 in the conference.  It looks like a big showdown is coming in the Bellmont Sectional between Norwell (#1 in the Jeff Sangarin's 3A rankings) vs. #5 Fort Wayne Elmhurst (17-2).  Norwell opens Sectional play against Maconaquah (0-18) on Tuesday February 10th.

Class 3A
Sectional 22
At Bellmont
Game 1 – Maconaquah (0-17) vs. No. 2 Norwell (15-1)
Game 2 – No. 2 Fort Wayne Elmhurst (16-2) vs. Bellmont (10-8)
Game 3 – Peru (10-5) vs. Winner of Game 1.
Game 4 – Fort Wayne Wayne (5-12) vs. Winner of Game 2.
Championship – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4.

Hang tough, girls!