Saturday, December 27, 2008
I'll let you know when I get through this.
I can hear the wind and rain hitting the roof and its pretty bad. So far the trailer isn't shaking like it usually does with these storms.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
At NASA, there were growing concerns that the Soviet Zond program would prove triumphant over Apollo by at least placing a man around the moon in a Free Return trajectory or worse yet, into orbit around the moon. With that the Soviets could claim another space first in a string of firsts. So, the decision makers at NASA planned a bold step. With the ongoing integration problems with the Lunar Module, they decided to leave the vehicle behind, sending the Command Module alone to the moon. The flight was to take place over the Christmas holiday in 1968.
Once arriving at the moon, Apollo 8 took this spactacular picture which has become iconic;
For the first time in history, the majority of mankind could look upon the whole Earth, from a distance and realize how fragile and unique it was. We only had one and it need to be cared for. There is no other place to go.
On Christmas Eve, the astronauts, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, broadcast to Earth. They flew over the desolate surface and described it to their audience on the Earth. The lonely, stark, yet beautiful land was presented to the television viewers. Then, as they closed their broadcast, the Astronauts began to read. First Bil Anders, then Jim Lovell, and finally, Frank Borman:
- William Anders
- "We are now approaching lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
- Jim Lovell
- "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
- Frank Borman
- "And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."
For all my friends I would like to repeat what they said and bless all of you, all of you on the Good Earth
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I think the next level is more computerized like a little computer. I know there are probably phones like that out there. But I love my phone!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Might Hoax Call Have Triggered A War?
(CBS) By CBS News' Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad.
How close were India and Pakistan to war, when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice picked up the phone on Friday, November 28, to call India's foreign minister to convey Pakistan’s extreme anxiety after terrorists stormed luxury hotels and a Jewish center in Mumbai?
That was one of the key questions making the rounds of the Pakistani capital Islamabad today, as speculation grew in the country’s press over reports of a phone call which turned out to be a hoax.
The rumor was that last Friday India's foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee had called Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari and threatened Islamabad with dire consequences following the Mumbai attacks.
The fear of a wider conflict after the call was so intense that Zardari picked up the phone and called Rice, a top Pakistani government official told CBS News on condition of anonymity. "It felt like the clock was ticking away to doomsday," he said.
A European ambassador who also spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity said fears of a clash between the two nuclear-armed neighbors grew rapidly on November 28 after the call, prompting Rice's intervention to stop what the U.S. at the time may have considered a deepening slide in Indo-Pakistan relations leading to war.
According to the European ambassador, Rice told Mukherjee that the Pakistanis were "extremely worried that they were on a conflict escalation ladder with India which could provoke an all-out war."
During Rice's conversation with Mukharjee, she mentioned receiving a "distress message" from Pakistan, though she did not reveal to the minister the name of the Pakistani who called at the time, said the European ambassador quoting detailed information he had compiled together.
The call subsequently turned out to be a hoax, though the circumstances in which it was made have forced both Pakistani and Indian officials to investigate the matter.
A Pakistani minister who also spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity said the number used by the caller in Delhi to ring the operator at President Zardari's presidential residence in Islamabad "was one of the numbers from the Indian foreign minister's office in the Indian capital."
However, he quoted Indian officials denying to Pakistan that Mukherjee ever made the call and taking the position that "sophisticated technology must have been used to create an Indian number without anyone knowing that the caller was not Mukherjee."
Indian officials have said Mukherjee was in Calcutta, the southeastern Indian city, at the time he supposedly made the phone call.
Pakistani officials have also raised the possibility of a prankster in the Indian foreign ministry using the minister's official telephone, to provoke a crisis in Indo-Pak relations.
The case has also raised the possibility of lax procedures in President Zardari’s official residence. In normal times, such a phone call would have been diverted to a senior official at the president's palace, who would then have called back the number in Delhi to confirm that it was Mukherjee on the line, before connecting him to the Pakistani president.
Pakistani officials also revealed that the same caller from Delhi, shortly after calling President Zardari, then called up Secretary Rice's number in the U.S., but was not put through to her.
On Saturday, Pakistan's largest-selling English newspaper, the DAWN, in a front page report titled "A Hoax Call That Could Have Triggered War," wrote:
"Whether it was mere mischief or a sinister move by someone in the Indian external affairs ministry, or the call came from within Pakistan, remains unclear, and is still a matter of investigation. But several political, diplomatic and security sources have confirmed to Dawn that for nearly 24 hours over the weekend the incident continued to send jitters across the world. To some world leaders the probability of an accidental war appeared very high."The European ambassador who spoke to CBS NEWS warned that the hoax call raises the dangerous possibility of “the failure to follow procedure and tampering of communication systems, bringing these two nuclear armed countries close to war."
© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Aunt Judy is going to be taken care of by her family, Thank God. I called the County Adminstrator who is in charge of indigent care in the county. Apparently, they tried to get in touch with my brother Paul, but since he moved to Kansas City they didn't know his number. Apparently they don't have a phone book, but its all water under the bridge. Anyway, since all expences had been taken care of by the state we apparently could claim her ashes at no cost to us. We sent my brother Peter to get her ashes from the cemetary and now she is with family.
We will call the family together and have some ceremony to show our feelings. Dealing with someone with mental health issues is a chore and Judy was one in particular. In the end no one could afford the time and effort to work out her problems. The state took her over and that's what happened. When we were young and Judy was more lucid we could have a lot of fun and we did. She helped us and filled the gaps when Mom wasn't there. She loved us and took care of us. In the end though, the world does not look kindly upon those less fortunate. Alone, she finally was in the care of strangers when she passed. David knew there was something wrong. He wanted to visit last weekend but it was something we could always do later and put off. Taking it for granted has become a problem with me. I have to stop taking things for granted.
When you have a troubled spirit, and Judy was a troubled person it can wear you down and in the end we were all worn down. I know that lately I have become worn down. I feel like a car with all four tire flat but I still have a long road to go. I'm running on the rims now and I don't know how long I can keep going on those.
Plus I have my other friend who may or may not be with us still. I am getting bombarded by this on all sides.and I am getting overwhelmed. The only thing keeping me going is the fact that if I don't I die. I die of starvation or lack of care or being bereft of life.
I guess I am just takling out of my hat here. Its just the overwhelming feeling of just wnting to turn on the TV and give up and just exist. I need a life and can't figure out the way of getting out of the mess I am in.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I just found out today that my Aunt Judy passed away sometime in the past few days. She suffered from schizophrenia and was in a nursing home, a ward of the state. What really frosted me is that the state or anyone else never called us to let us know that she had passed. We had planned to visit last weekend but for reasons beyond our control we couldn't. I don't know if I am going to go to her funeral. We are trying to find out whats going on with the plans for her. Since no one told us, we have had to make numerous calls to find out anything. We finally found someone that told us something, but we didn't find out any times or anything. I suppose we will find out something tomorrow. If I am not her in the next few days, I will probably be out with my Mom. Anyway, I just don't know what else to say.
Aunt Judy was the one who helped raise us. She gave me the love of God that I have. I wouldn't have that without her. Judy was a lot of things to us. She was the one who was there when Mom wasn't and God blessed us with her. I just wish that circumstances allowed us to be closer to her. There are so many things we do and regret. There are also so many things we do not do and regret. I wish we had been able to see her more. Sometimes we take a lot of things for granted. This was one of those things and I want to hate myself for that.
I hope that Judy is finally at peace with God and in that peaceful place she always needed.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
“In the beginning God Created BROCOLLI”
In The Beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth. And the Earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Devil said, "It doesn't get any better than this."
And so God created Man in His own image; male and female He created them.
And God looked upon Man and Woman and saw that they were lean and fit.
And God populated the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach and green and yellow vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
And so God created the healthful yogurt, that Woman might keep her figure. But the Devil brought forth chocolate. And Woman gained five pounds.
And so the Devil created McDonald's. And McDonald's brought forth the 79-cent double cheeseburger. And the Devil said to Man, "You want fries with that?" And Man said, "Super size them." And Man gained five pounds.
And God said, "Try my crispy fresh salad." And the Devil brought forth Ben and Jerry's. And Woman gained 10 pounds.
And God said, "Why doth thou eatest thus? I have sent thee heart-healthy vegetables and olive oil with which to cook them."
But the Devil brought forth chicken fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained 10 pounds and his bad cholesterol went through the roof.
And so God brought forth running shoes. And Man resolved to lose those extra pounds.
And the Devil brought forth cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil to change channels between ESPN and ESPN2. And Man gained another 20 pounds.
And so God brought forth the potato, A vegetable naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition.
And the Devil peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fat fried them. And the Devil created sour cream dip.
And Man clutched his remote control and ate the potato chips swaddled in
cholesterol. And the Devil saw and said, "It is good."
And Man went into cardiac arrest. And God sighed and created Quadruple bypass surgery.
And the Devil canceled Man's health insurance.
So God showed Woman how to peel the skin off chicken and cook the nourishing whole grain brown rice.
And the Devil created light beer so Man could poison his body, while feeling righteous because he had to drink twice as much of the now-insipid brew to get the same buzz. And Man gained another 10 pounds.
And Woman ventured forth into the land of Godiva chocolate, and upon returning asked Man, "Do I look fat?" And the Devil said, "Always tell the truth." And Man did.
And Woman went out from the presence of Man and dwelt in the land of the divorce lawyer, east of the marriage counselor.
And the Devil said, "It doesn't get any better than this."
The Senility Prayer
Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
Three Wishes Granted
A woman was out golfing one day when she hit her ball into the woods.
She went into the woods to look for it and found a frog in a trap. The frog said to her, "If you release me from this trap, I will grant you 3 wishes."
The woman freed the frog. The frog said, "Thank you, but I failed to mention that there was a condition to your wishes - that whatever you wish for, your husband will get 10 times more, or better!"
The woman said, "That would be okay."
For her first wish, she wanted to be the most beautiful woman in the world.
The frog warned her, "You do realize that this wish will also make your husband the most handsome man in the world, an Adonis, that women will flock to?"
The woman replied, "That will be okay because I will be the most beautiful woman and he will only have eyes for me."
So, KAZAM - she's the most beautiful woman in the world!
For her second wish, she wanted to be the richest woman in the world.
The frog said, "That will make your husband the richest man in the world and he will be ten times richer than you."
The woman said, "That will okay because what's mine is his and what's his is mine."
So, KAZAM she's the richest woman in the world!
The frog then inquired about her third wish, and she answered, "I would like a very mild heart attack."
In the end, there was earth, and it was of form and beauty. And man dwelt upon the lands of the earth, the meadows and trees, and he said, "Let us build our dwellings in this place of beauty".
And he built cities and covered the earth with concrete and steel and the meadows were gone, and the man said, "It is good".
On the second day, man looked upon the waters of the earth, and man said, "Let us put our wastes in the waters so that the dirt will be washed away." And man did. And the waters became polluted and foul in smell. And man said "It is good."
On the third day, man looked upon the forests of the earth and saw they were beautiful. And man said, "Let us cut the timber for our homes and grind the wood for our use." And the lands became barren and the trees were gone. And man said "It is good".
On the fourth day, man saw that animals were in abundance and ran in the fields and played in the sun. And man said, "Let us chase these animals for our amusement and kill them for our sport." And man did. And there were no more animals on the face of the earth. And man said "It is good."
On the fifth day, Man breathed the air of the earth, and man said, "Let us dispose of our wastes into the air, for the winds shall blow them away". And man did. And the air became heavy with dust and all living things burned and choked."
On the sixth day, man saw himself, and saw the many languages and tongues he feared and hated. And man said, "Let us build great machines and destroy these lest they destroy us." And man built great machines and the earth was fired with the rage of wars. And man said "It is good".
On the seventh day, man rested from his labours and the earth was still, for man no longer dwelt upon the earth. - Anonymous
Note: I read this many years ago as a child. Shamefully its meaning has not changed in all those years and the lessons it tries to teach us are lost.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I don't know how accurate this is, but its a start
Even though the FDA is finally addressing the possible introduction of Melamine laced dairy into the US market from China, there is still no legislation forcing manufacturers to clearly disclose where products are made. Thankfully, consumers are no longer “buying blind.” There is one way to determine the originating country of a particular item – the barcode.
The next time you are are wondering where a product is made, check out the first three numbers of the barcode. If the digits are 690-695, then it is made in China. A more complete list is below:
00 – 13 USA & Canada
30 – 37 France
40 – 44 Germany
76 Switzerland and Liechtenstein
628 Saudi Arabia
629 United Arab Emirates
690 – 695 China
740 – 745 Central America
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Peruvian dog lovers say they have the ideal pet for US President-elect Barack Obama and his family - a bald breed that was once favoured by Inca rulers.
Mr Obama last week promised his two daughters a puppy but Malia, 10, is allergic to most dogs.
Members of the Peruvian Hairless Dog club say the breed, the only one native to South America, would be perfect as the dogs cause no allergies.
And they have a four-month-old puppy in mind, currently nicknamed Ears.
The head of Peru's Friends of the Hairless Dog Association, Claudia Galvez, says she believes Ears would be the perfect choice for the Obamas.
On Monday, she sent a letter to the US embassy in Lima to enquire whether the president-elect and his family would be interested in giving a home to Ears at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"They do not cause any type of allergy and are very friendly and sweet," Ms Galvez was quoted as saying by Reuters.
"We want to give a male puppy to Obama's daughters, so they get to experience all the joys of having a dog but without any allergies."
The Hairless Dog, or Viringo breed, is believed to date back some 3,000 years and the breed is depicted in pre-Hispanic ceramics.
Their lack of hair may not make them the most cuddly pet but their fans say they make up for it by having a higher than average body temperature, says the BBC's Dan Collyns in Lima.
General Growth Properties plunges on viability concerns
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Shares of General Growth Properties Inc (GGP.N) fell 73 percent on Tuesday after the second-largest U.S. mall owner expressed doubts that it could continue operating due to its looming near-term debt.
The Chicago-based retail property company has $1.13 billion in debt coming due, including $900 million in secured mortgage debt on the two of its Las Vegas shopping centers due on November 28 and $58 million of corporate debt due on December 1. It also faces another $3.07 billion due next year, the company said on Monday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
"In the event that we are unable to extend or refinance our debt or obtain additional capital on a timely basis and on acceptable terms, we will be required to take further steps to acquire the funds necessary to satisfy our short term cash needs, including seeking legal protection from our creditors," the real estate investment trust said in the filing.
"Our potential inability to address our 2008 or 2009 debt maturities in a satisfactory fashion raises substantial doubts as to our ability to continue as a going concern."
Shares of General Growth Properties were down $1 at 37 cents in early morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. About a year ago, the stock sold for as high as $51.24.
(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas and Helen Chernikoff, editing by Dave Zimmerman)
Why should someone be concerned about this? GGP owns or operates over 200 mall properties in the United States, making it the largest operators of shopping centers in this country. If they default, this might result in the temporary or permanant closure of those shopping centers at the height of the Christmas shopping season. They may have to file for bankruptsy or petition for a merger with another mall ownership company like Australia's Westfield or Indianapolis based Simon Associates. Simon has made some inroads according to rumor, but there is nothing in the pipline yet.
I am concerned for obvious reasons in that the mall I work at is owned by GGP. I have seen maintenance work deffered, hiring frozen, people being laid off, etc. We are undergoing a major renovation which I think is being funded outside of the company (Nordstroms), but I have to wonder if they would continue the work if the mall is closed. I don't have any illusions about what my future may hold. I got my paycheck a day early so I have to wonder if that has anything to do with what is going on. The end of the month may tell some things about what is going on.
God bless the people working at the other malls around the country. Lets hope this Christmas isn't too bad.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Political Science for Dummies
DEMOCRAT You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
You push for higher taxes so the government can provide cows for everyone.
REPUBLICAN You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
SOCIALIST You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.
COMMUNIST You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.
CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.
BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows.
Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.
AMERICAN CORPORATION You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.
FRENCH CORPORATION You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.
JAPANESE CORPORATION You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.
GERMAN CORPORATION You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.
ITALIAN CORPORATION You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.
RUSSIAN CORPORATION You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.
TALIBAN CORPORATION You have all the cows in Afghanistan , which are two.
You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.
You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.
IRAQI CORPORATION You have two cows.
They go into hiding.
They send radio tapes of their mooing.
POLISH CORPORATION You have two bulls.
Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.
BELGIAN CORPORATION You have one cow.
The cow is schizophrenic.
Sometimes the cow thinks he's French, other times he's Flemish.
The Flemish cow won't share with the French cow.
The French cow wants control of the Flemish cow's milk.
The cow asks permission to be cut in half.
The cow dies happy.
FLORIDA CORPORATION You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.
CALIFORNIA CORPORATION You have millions of cows.
They make real California cheese.
Only five speak English.
Most are illegal.
Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.
Shocked, the man flipped more pages, and pointed -- "And whatsover you do, do heartily" (Colossians 3:23).
Distressed, he flipped more pages - "Go thou, and do likewise" (Luke; 10:37).
They found him in his garden shed that afternoon.
Moral: Don't take everything literally.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I left St. Louis on Tuesday morning later than I wanted to, at about 10 am. Working nights I should have gotten some sleep, but I just wanted to be sure I was at least going after all the times in the past I have bailed on her. Outside of Cuba, MO (yes there is a Cuba, MO and it does have a "Peoples Bank of Cuba" LOL) I had started to nod of and I was hoping to get to Rolla before I pulled over to nap. However, there were diferent plans. I had that nods, and nodded and slipped onto the shoulder and recovered just before I hit a State Trooper. Said State Trooper then pulled me over and suggested I pull over and get some sleep! I pulled over at the next exit and slep for about 6 or 7 hours. I then went back on the road after stopping in Cuba and getting me a Hardee's burger.
I went on down and stopped in Springfield, MO for Gas. It had been the cheapest I would encounter on the way down, at $1.98. Before I got started I knew that Springfield had the least expensive gas in the state. I topped off there and then again in Oklahoma at $2.06. Throughout the Choctaw Nation, gas averaged about 10 cents more than what I had encountered earlier. I didn't get gas till later on the other side of the Texas border at $2.03 a gallon. Driving continued through the night passing into Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday morning, I arrived at Stephanie's apartment with a rather humerous phone call. Its one of those things. You get directions and sure thing you are walking into the door talking on the cell phone listening to someone else talking on the other end of the conversation. :-) Anyway, we got aquainted again and had a little fun watching movies on her DVD player. It got a lot of use this weekend as it always does. She has a lot of DVD's and watches a lot of her favorite TV series on DVD. We watched some Alton Brown and I listened to her complain about a lot of the bizarre changes they have done over at the Food Network.
I got aquainted with her cats again. She has a couple of sweet cats who are her constant companions and really break the loneliness she has. She does nothing really but sit in a room all alone and watch TV all day. Sometimes she has a visit from a nurse. She said that one came by to pull blood for a test on Monday. She was really jaundiced, very yellow in color and looked so pitiful. I dont know what her family and church should be thinking. I feel guilty about this as well. I should be down there but am not. I got my Mom and family here and we have or problems to worry about. Just not as life threatening as Stephanie's are.
Anyway, I ran some erands on Thursday and then got some rest. Friday I ran her computers in and got them set up to work on. The nice guys at Circuit City in North Ft. Worth should be commended on their dilligence and courtesy as well as their quick work on fixing Stephanie's laptop so that she could use it again. What they said was a three day job turned out to be a days job and I picked it up on Saturday Morning. The rest of Friday was spent detail cleaning and vacuuming her apartment, something in her weakened state she had been unable to do in months.
I left to go home on Saturday, but the Alternator on the Victor/Victoria failed outside of Sherman, Texas. No way I was going to make it home. Got a used one installed from a bubba towing service in Sherman. I called into work and let them know, and returned to her apartment. I left from there on Sunday morning and about 1 in the afternoon, I noticed that the tempature gage was high and then I noticed the smell. Oh that sickening sweet smell of coolant and then I nursed it to the next exit which turned out to be Checotah, OK.
Checotah (pronounced like Dakota) is a small town south of McCalister, OK. I was at a wide spot on the road essentially, but pulled it into the Walmart parking lot that was there. They have a fairly large Walmart and I hoped that maybe filling it with coolant would let me nurse it to some place that would have an auto repair place open on Sunday. I put the coolant in the recovery bottle and there just didn't look like a place to put it into the radiator directly. The water didn't take and wasn't flowing into the engine so rather than risk making it worse, I parked it at the O'Riley Auto Parts store and went in to ask them about what a water pump would cost. They pulled one from the store in McCalister and it would be back at the store about 2 in the afternoon on Monday.
So, resigned to the fact I would be in the town all night, I decided to check into the local hotel. I walked a mile and crossed under the highway to the hotel. The bridge would make this wonderful sound whenever a vehicle would cross over it. I had to wonder if the bridge would hold. But it held and I arrived at the hotel. It cost me $50 and would get me my first night in a bed in many days as I had to sleep on the floor at Stephanie's since she had no bed. I slept a while and then woke up and went to my car to gather some belongings so I could have a decent shower. After that, I went to the Flying J Truck Stop across the road and got me some dinner. then went back to watch some TV and went to sleep.
I woke up and called one of the repair places that was recommended to me by Dave at O'Riley. I actually got them befor they opened and the nice guy at D & J Auto Repair picked me up at the hotel and took me to the car. We took a look at it for a minute and we started it to look at the engine. At the outset it wasn't the water pump but then we figured we could drive it to the shop. After getting it to the shop we hooked up a presurization pump to see where the leak was. The coolant must have been low because it took at least a couple of gallons before we could get enough coolant to see what was leaking. The pump forced teh water out an literally gushing it onto the ground. Not a good sign. So I went back to the hotel to pick up my stuff, checked out and returned to the shop.
Turned out eventually that it was a manifold resouver which sits atop the engine. The front of it had developed a split which probably started out small. The mechanic told me there was really nothing I could do maintenance wise to detect this. It was something hidden that just showed itself now. The split was so large that no amount of coolant I put in would have allowed me to get anywhere. I kept the part and have it in my trunk.
The nice guys at D & J, in spite of being McCain supporters, made the afternoon go by nice. My real problem was that I didn't have enough money to help me get the repair done. I actually had to borrow part of it from my Mom and then get my sister-in-law to take her to Walmart to send it to me. I got the call I had been waiting for at almost 4:15 and ran over to Walmart to pick it up. Paying for my repairs, I hoped into my now repaired car and finally could get onto the road. I spent the night driving and arived at home around 5 in the morning. Thanking God, I went to sleep.
I am glad that everyone put me in their prayers and I am sure that all you did helped. Things have really turned bad here and this trip took a lot of things out of me. I don't know if financially I will be able to get out of this. God will help, I am sure. I have a lot of stress and I at the point of just wanting to give up. I have muddled through on life, but I can't just seem to find the energy to go on. Helping Stephanie was a nice thing, but it cost me so much.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thanks all for the nice comments on my last blog. I was thinking I should give you all an update on what is going on. Stephanie is alive, but not too well. At least I could help her with a few things and that your prayers helped. I cleaned her apartment, as she has not been able to detail it in months. Got her a new vacuum cleaner and did her rugs. I got her computer fixed and now she can get back online and maybe she will see here, I dunno. This is kinda private for me and sort of a sounding board for my ideas and feelings. I hope she is not offended by reading what is here. Anyway, this morning I left her in the best shape she has felt in a few weeks because of just the idea that she has help.
Well, thinking my car was in her best shape in years was not to be founded. Yesterday my alternator failed in Sherman, Texas. Today I am writing this from the video game section of the Flying J Truck stop in Checotah, OK. (I swear to God I am ready to take a shotgun to this video game behind me. The sound is driving me crazy). Anyway, about 5 or 6 miles out of Checotah, I started getting that characteristic smell of boiling coolant and noticed that the temp gage was in the higher end of the register. Pulled over and the stuff is sprayed all over the engine. I was able to nurse it to the Walmart here and bought some coolant. I hoped I could get to Muskogee, OK where was hoping that there was a place open. Alas, the engine started to make a clacking noise and that is not a good sound. I pulled into the O'Riley Automotive Parts Store here and asked about auto service. I got the answer I expected. No shops open today. I figure its the Water pump and the earliest they can get a water pump is tomorrow at two in the afternoon.
Only thing I can do is wait till tomorrow and hope for the best. I also have to hope I have enough money to pay for this. My funds for this trip were limited and now a big chunk that was supposed to go paying my brother back for the loan he gave me to fix my car originally is now going to be eaten up by this. This is so frustrating. I also have to hope that I still have a job as this is the second of three days I have had to call off. Its more likely I will have to call off tomorrow and that is three days pay lost to the winds.
Please, all my friends here, pray for my job and my frind as you all have done. For those of you who don't believe just snd a lot of positive energy my way. Thanks again for all your help and prayers.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Anyway, I will spend three or four days with my friend and hope that she can come through this OK for a while. I know its wishful thinking. she probably won't last til Christmas if at all the way things are going.
My car is in the best shape its been in for a long time. She purrs like a dream and that annoying rattling that used to be from the front end, well that was fixed as part of the major repairs long ago. Now with gas prices going down like a stone, I think this is the best time to travel if I am going to get a chance.
I should be back blogging or at least checking on you all Monday. I have to get back Saturday during the day and probably wont have time to do anything but sleep. Then I have to get to work and then I will probably be wasted then too. So Monday will be it. Feel free to drop me a line if you wish.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I saw a lot of stuff there I couldn't use. Things old as the hills, with vacuum tubes no less! The old tube radios were still working though, and in a nuclear war, they are more resistant to EMP than IC based systems. Not quite sure why, but I am sure there is a 10 page detailed explanation for those interested. I saw a couple of $275 laptops which were pretty good. I wanted to get them so bad but could not afford at the moment. I will probably regret not getting these as I really could use them later.
I did end up getting a couple of books, a guide to talking to the Space Station or using the Amateur Satellite communications system, a repeater guide which lets you know all the good channels to talk to if you are in you car and want to or need to talk to someone, my name tag with my call sign, and a few things off the freebie table. I got a good tip on where to install my mobile unit in my car. I think I will set something up with them.
Anyway, that's all I have for life today.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Enough Joe the Plumber; here's to Kareem the Soldier
Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: October 21, 2008 08:53:54 PM
WASHINGTON — "Joe the Plumber" was only one of two Americans injected into the presidential election this past week. The other was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, whom former Secretary of State Colin Powell invoked in his endorsement Sunday of Barack Obama.
Khan was a 20-year-old soldier from Manahawkin, N.J., who wanted to enlist in the Army from the time he was 10. He was an all-American boy who visited Disney World after he completed his training at Fort Benning, Ga., and made his comrades in Iraq watch "Saving Private Ryan" every week.
He was also a Muslim who joined the military, his father said, in part to show his countrymen that not all Muslims are terrorists.
"He was an American soldier first," said his father, Feroze Khan. "But he also looked at fighting in this war as fighting for his faith. He was fighting radicalism."
Khan was killed by an improvised explosive device in August 2007 along with four other soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter while searching a house in Baqouba, Iraq. He's one of four Muslims who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, where 512 troops from those wars now rest.
About 3,700 of the U.S. military's 1.4 million troops are Muslims, according to Defense Department estimates.
Khan, a child of immigrant parents from Trinidad, was 14 when the Sept. 11 attacks happened. Feroze Khan said he remembered his son watching in stunned silence: "I could tell that inside a lot of things were going through his head."
Three years later, Feroze honored his son's request and allowed him to enlist him in the Army. "I told him: 'You are going to the Army.' I never said there is a war going on in a Muslim country. I didn't want him to get any ideas that he was fighting (against) his religion."
Feroze kept his fears for his son's safety to himself.
His son was assigned to the Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Lewis, Wash., deployed to Iraq in 2006 and fought on Baghdad's Haifa Street, a Sunni insurgent stronghold.
His tour was extended as part of the surge of additional U.S. forces to Iraq, and he called or messaged home often until he was deployed to restive Diyala province, where he was under fire too often to contact home regularly.
But he prayed every day, his father said.
One Sunday morning, his son sent an instant message: "Hey Dad. Are you there?" Feroze Khan was out, and he saw the message when he returned.
A few hours later, his ex-wife called. Soldiers had knocked on her door in Maryland. Their only child was dead.
A few minutes later, soldiers appeared at Khan's door. "I guess it helped that I knew beforehand," he said. "There are no words to describe it."
Kareem Khan was a month from finishing his tour when he was killed.
On Sunday, Powell said that Khan's sacrifice and service had swayed him to discuss the way that Muslims have been portrayed in the presidential campaign, and the contention that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Obama "is a Christian," Powell said. "He has always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, 'What if he is?' Is there something wrong with being Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That is not America." He added: "I am troubled that within the (Republican) Party we have these kinds of expressions" suggesting that Obama is a Muslim, and that if he is, he likely associates with terrorists.
Powell said that he felt strongly about the issue after he saw a photo of Khan's tombstone in the New Yorker magazine. In the black-and-white picture, Khan's mother is resting her head on her son's tombstone. On each side of the stone are flowers, and in between is a copy of the Quran. On the face of the tombstone is a crescent and star, indicating that the soldier buried there is a Muslim.
"He was an American," Powell said.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Andrew Lahde: Goodbye!
Posted: 17 Oct 2008 01:00 PM PDT
Now, this is how you close a fund!
Andrew Lahde, manager of a small California hedge fund, Lahde Capital, burst into the spotlight last year after his one-year-old fund returned 866% betting on the subprime collapse. Last month, he took his ball and went home. Tired of the stress, he closed the fund.
Today, Lahde passed along his "goodbye" letter (via FT Alphaville and Portfolio.com) , a snarky "Up Yours" to those who do deserve it.
Today I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding. Instead, I am writing to say goodbye.
Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, "What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it." I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.
There are far too many people for me to sincerely thank for my success. However, I do not want to sound like a Hollywood actor accepting an award. The money was reward enough. Furthermore, the endless list those deserving thanks know who they are.
I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.
So this is it. With all due respect, I am dropping out. Please do not expect any type of reply to emails or voicemails within normal time frames or at all. Andy Springer and his company will be handling the dissolution of the fund. And don't worry about my employees, they were always employed by Mr. Springer's company and only one (who has been well-rewarded) will lose his job.
I have no interest in any deals in which anyone would like me to participate. I truly do not have a strong opinion about any market right now, other than to say that things will continue to get worse for some time, probably years. I am content sitting on the sidelines and waiting. After all, sitting and waiting is how we made money from the subprime debacle. I now have time to repair my health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as my entire life - where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management - with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not. May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established.
On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal. First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have reigned in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government. Capitalism worked for two hundred years, but times change, and systems become corrupt. George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be remembered as a philosopher. My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common man's interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft's near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken.
Lastly, while I still have an audience, I would like to bring attention to an alternative food and energy source. You won't see it included in BP's, "Feel good. We are working on sustainable solutions," television commercials, nor is it mentioned in ADM's similar commercials. But hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products. Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa. Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term. The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp. It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won. At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country? Ah, the female. The evil female plant - marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other additive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers. This policy is ludicrous. It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign energy sources. Our policies have other countries literally laughing at our stupidity, most notably Canada, as well as several European nations (both Eastern and Western). You would not know this by paying attention to U.S. media sources though, as they tend not to elaborate on who is laughing at the United States this week. Please people, let's stop the rhetoric and start thinking about how we can truly become self-sufficient.
With that I say good-bye and good luck.
All the best,
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Jason Dowdell and Michelle DiLorenzo thought the three-bedroom ranch along a quiet, winding Jefferson County road would be the perfect place to start their life together.
They envisioned a nursery in one bedroom. Toys in the backyard. Perennials in the planters.
But all that was put on hold two years later when they learned the home was contaminated with enough methamphetamine residue to be condemned in more than a dozen states.
Under Missouri law, they were supposed to be told before they bought it that it was once a meth factory. But they weren't — a common failure in Missouri and Illinois, the heart of America's meth labs.
"There are so many other houses like this out there," said DiLorenzo, 24. "Why aren't they doing anything about it?"
A Post-Dispatch investigation found that both states have failed to protect residents from moving into former meth labs that can lower property values, and, some experts believe, make people sick.
The newspaper found:
— Toxic residue from meth labs has lingered in area homes for as long as four years after busts.
— Home sellers and landlords routinely violate Missouri's law requiring residents be told before moving into former meth labs. Illinois has yet to adopt such a law.
— Residents have nowhere to easily find out whether a home was ever a meth lab, unlike in other states that publish lists of addresses and flag property records.
One out of every five of the country's more than 100,000 meth labs has been found in Missouri and Illinois, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Police have found remnants of meth-making equipment and toxic byproducts inside homes, apartments and hotels, as well as dumped along roadways, in yards and cars.
But once officers box up the evidence, the homes are left virtually untouched.
A LINGERING PROBLEM
For the past 10 years, national health experts say they have linked exposure to meth residue to adverse health effects.
The research hasn't convinced Missouri or Illinois legislators to require that former meth labs be cleaned. But it has convinced 18 states to require that homes be decontaminated before people can move back in.
In 13 of those states, the requirements are so strict that homes remain condemned until testing shows barely a trace of meth. The acceptable level is the equivalent of spreading no more than one sugar packet of meth residue across 23 football fields.
The Post-Dispatch tested five homes police busted for meth and where new families are living.
They ranged from a recently rehabbed one-story in north St. Louis County to a split-level anchoring a cul-de-sac in O'Fallon, Mo. Months and, in some cases, years had passed since meth labs in the homes were busted, according to police reports. The tests revealed residue levels in all five homes high enough to be condemned in 13 of the 18 states.
"If five of five homes came back positive, imagine if you tested 100 homes," said Dowdell, whose home was tested. "And then imagine how many times those homes have been sold and resold."
Cleanup companies along with national and local health experts say it's common for meth labs that haven't been cleaned to test positive for residue — no matter how long after police busts.
"It doesn't just go away over time," said Michael Frakes, who co-owns Chicago Crime Scene Cleanup LLC, a company the newspaper commissioned to collect samples.
The newspaper's findings shocked the residents, who said they did not know they were living in former meth labs until they were contacted by the Post-Dispatch.
Luke and Amy Probst's home yielded the highest levels. The fully rehabbed two-bedroom home along a tree-lined street in Belleville has a new kitchen, carpeting, paint — and average levels of meth contamination 140 times those allowed in 13 states. Amy Probst was furious.
"If I would have known these test results, we would have never bought the house,"・she said.
Contamination levels were the worst in the Probsts' basement, where Luke Probst, a St. Clair County sheriff's deputy, spends most of his time.
"What if someone with kids had moved in here and made the basement a play area?" Amy Probst asked.
NO WAY TO KNOW
Illinois has never required home sellers or landlords to tell new residents of a property's history as a meth lab. A proposal to do so stalled in the state Legislature this year.
Missouri passed its law in 2001.
Former state Rep. Dennis Bonner of Kansas City said he proposed the law because a family told him they had moved into a home and started suffering from allergies. They learned it was a former meth lab only after it tested positive for residue.
"Meth labs put all types of chemicals in a house. That's why, when you see police in them, they're in hazmat suits," said Bonner, who left the Legislature in 2002. "Imagine buying a house and not knowing what it had in it."
But Missouri's law carries no criminal penalties, and few have paid attention.
The Post-Dispatch interviewed more than 30 Missouri families living in former meth labs. Only three said they had found out before moving in — and one of them was told by future neighbors, not the home seller.
The law also requires landlords to tell new tenants if a home or apartment was ever busted for meth. But there is no form landlords are required to provide renters.
Home sellers commonly fill out a disclosure form, which asks about the presence of meth labs next to questions about mold and radon. But it's not required in all sales.
That includes homes sold in foreclosure, because banks have no way to know a home's history.
Home buyers can hire home inspectors, but most lack training to spot the signs of former meth labs or know how to test for contamination.
The only option left for home buyers or renters is to file a civil lawsuit and prove a seller or landlord knew, but didn't tell.
Area lawyers say lawsuits could be costly and hard to prove.
So far, legal experts can point to only one successful lawsuit — in Washington state — where a judge found that home sellers failed to tell buyers about a former meth lab.
Recognizing weaknesses in disclosure laws, several states, including Oregon and Tennessee, require that meth lab reports and cleanup certifications be attached to property deeds. As a result, standard title searches reveal a home's meth lab history even if a seller lies.
NOWHERE TO LOOK
In Missouri and Illinois potential home buyers can't easily find information about former meth labs.
The DEA's website lists only labs busted since 2006. And the Post-Dispatch found that half of all homes busted in Illinois are missing from the list.
Dozens of states have made comprehensive and independent databases of meth lab addresses available online. But not Missouri and Illinois.
In Illinois, police report about three-fourths of busts to state health officials, who said they couldn't afford to post the list online. Residents must file a public records request to get the list.
In Missouri, police don't report lab busts directly to state health officials — but do fill out DEA reports that are funneled through the Missouri Highway Patrol. However, the highway patrol doesn't post the addresses online and won't release them to the public.
In September, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department became the first and only Missouri police agency to post addresses of meth busts online. But the list goes back only to January 2007.
"I would be too cumbersome to go all the way back,"・said Sheriff Oliver "Glenn" Boyer.
Comprehensive databases are key in states without cleanup laws, said Sherry Green, executive director of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws. The congressionally funded group promotes effective state drug policies. Green said states should not rely on the honesty of sellers or landlords alone.
"There is financial motive on the part of certain individuals to lie," Green said.
Another option for Missouri and Illinois homeowners: Ask the police.
But although police in Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties released reports of meth lab busts to the newspaper, the Illinois State Police would not.
The agency said a state law requiring the release of public records applied to police reports involving meth labs only if the suspects named in the reports agreed to it.
That infuriated the Probsts, who can't get a police report of the July 2005 bust at their home. All they know is that one took place about a year before they moved in, because it is listed on the Illinois database.
"It's ridiculous," said Amy Probst, a lawyer. "I'm so mad right now and the lawyer in me is asking, 'OK, who do I sue?' But there's nothing we can do, and we did nothing wrong."
NOWHERE TO TURN
DiLorenzo cried at the news that her home was contaminated. Her live-in boyfriend, Dowdell, bowed his head and wrapped his arms around her on the front porch of what was supposed to be their dream home.
They cannot afford to hire professional cleaners, or sell their home at a loss.
Doctors can't say for sure that the meth residue in their home is causing DiLorenzo's headaches, wheezing and nausea, but the couple won't take a chance with loved ones. Their younger siblings are no longer allowed to stay the night.
"My headaches get so bad sometimes that I throw up," DiLorenzo said. "That never happened before I moved in here."
They tried to plant perennials in the front yard earlier this summer, but stopped when they unearthed needles, foils, funnels and bottles of fuel additives. Jefferson County detectives confirmed the materials were once part of a meth lab.
The couple also have stopped investing in home improvement projects. They worry how their home's toxic history will affect their bottom line because they must disclose it to future buyers. Real estate appraisers can't say how much it will lower a property's value, only that it will.
DiLorenzo and Dowdell wondered whether anyone else has unknowingly bought a home with a meth lab in its past.
They didn't have to look far.
DiLorenzo recently checked the federal database to see if a house with a "For Sale" sign along her street was listed.
"Hmm," DiLorenzo said, as she looked down the street. "I wonder who is going to tell them."
The "For Sale" sign came down in May.
A young couple moved in.
The couple told the Post-Dispatch that they hadn't been informed. The home sellers and their real estate agent didn't return a reporter's phone call.
The couple, embarrassed at their fate, asked not to be named in this story.
It's their first house, but it wasn't their first choice. They said they passed on another house because of mold, fearing it might harm their disabled toddler.
Now the child's toys sit in their new front yard.
Friday, October 10, 2008
This is an edifying bit of history of Semitic names in English and the US, in case you haven't seen this:
Smearing Obama for various things (including merely his name) is rearing its ugly head. Apropos:
At Cincinnati, Bill Cunningham, according to the LAT, who "introduced presidential candidate John McCain accused Barack Obama of sympathizing with 'world leaders who want to kill us' and invoked Obama's middle name -- three times calling him 'Barack Hussein Obama.' " John McCain repudiated Cunningham's low tactics and said that using the middle name like that three times was "inappropriate" and would never happen again at one of his rallies.
To say something about Barack Hussein Obama's name: It is a name to be proud of. It is an American name. It is a blessed name. It is a heroic name, as heroic and American in its own way as the name of General Omar Nelson Bradley or the name of Benjamin Franklin. And denigrating that name is a form of racial and religious bigotry of the most vile and debased sort. It is a prejudice against namesderiving from Semitic languages!
Christian, Western heroes have often been bequeathed Middle Eastern names. Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, the medieval Spanish hero, carried the name El Cid, from the Arabic al-Sayyid, "the lord."
Barack and Hussein are Semitic words. Americans have been named with Semitic names since the founding of the Republic. Fourteen of our 43 presidents have had Semitic names (see below). And, American English contains many Arabic-derived words that we use every day and without which we would be much impoverished. America is a world civilization with a world heritage, something Cunninghamism will never understand.
Barack is a Semitic word meaning "to bless" as a verb or "blessing" as a noun. In its Hebrew form, barak, it is found all through the Bible. It first occurs in Genesis 1:22: "And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth."
Here is a list of how many times barak appears in each book of the Bible.
Now let us take the name "Hussein." It is from the Semitic word, hasan, meaning "good" or "handsome." Husayn is the diminutive, affectionate form.
Barack Obama's middle name is in honor of his grandfather, Hussein, a secular resident of Nairobi. Americans may think of Saddam Hussein when they hear the name, but that is like thinking of Stalin when you hear the name Joseph. There have been lots of Husseins in history, from the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, a hero who touched the historian Gibbon, to King Hussein of Jordan, one of America's most steadfast allies in the 20th century. The author of the beloved American novel, The Kite Runner, is Khaled Hosseini.
But in Obama's case, it is just a reference to his grandfather.
It is worth pointing out that John McCain's adopted daughter, Bridget, is originally from Bangladesh. Since Hussein is a very common name in Bangladesh, it is entirely possible that her birth father or grandfather was named Hussein. McCain certainly has Muslim relatives via adoption in his family. If Muslim relatives are a disqualification from high office in the United States, then McCain himself is in trouble. In fact, since Bridget is upset that George W. Bush doesn't like her "because she is black," and used her to stop the McCain campaign in South Carolina in 2000, you understand why McCain would be especially sensitive to race-baiting of Cunningham's sort. The question is how vigorously he will combat it; he hasn't been above Muslim-taunting in the campaign so far. (And, the McCains really should let Bridget know that she is Asian, not "black." The poor girl; Bush and Rove have done a number on her, and Cindy's confusion can't help.)
The other thing to say about grandfathers named Hussein is that very large numbers of African-Americans probably have an ancestor ten or eleven generations ago with that name, in what is now Mali or Senegal or Nigeria. And, since so many thousands of Arab Muslims were made to convert to Catholicism in Spain after 1501, many Latinos have distant ancestors named Hussein, too. In fact, since there was a lot of Arab-Spanish intermarriage, and since there was subsequent Spanish intermarriage with other European Catholics, more European Americans are descended from a Hussein than they realize. The British royal family is quite forthright about the Arab line in their ancestry going back to Andalusia.
Obama, being a cousin of Dick Cheney on one side and having relatives in Kenya on the other, is just more and more typical of the 21st century United States.
So, anyway, Obama's first two names mean "Blessing, the Good." If we are lucky enough to get him for president, we can only hope that his names are prophetic for us.
Which brings me to Omar Bradley. Omar is an alternative spelling of Umar, i.e. Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph of Sunni Islam. Presumably General Bradley was named for the poet Omar Khayyam, who bore the caliph's name. Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat, in the "translation" of Edward FitzGerald, became enormously popular in Victorian America.
Gen. Omar Bradley, who bore a Semitic, Muslim first name, and shared it with the second Caliph of Sunni Islam, was the hero of D-Day and Normandy, of the Battle of the Bulge and the Ruhr.
Would Mr. Cunningham see Omar Bradley as un-American, as an enemy
because of his name?
What about other American heroes, such as Gen. George Joulwan, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe? "Joulwan" is an Arabic name. Or there is Gen. John Abizaid, former CENTCOM commander. Abizaid is an Arabic name. Abi means Abu or "father of," and Zaid is a common Arab first name. Is Cunningham good enough to wipe their shoes? Is he going to call them traitors because they have Arabic names?
What about Congressman Darrell Issa of California? ("`Isa" means Jesus in Arabic). Former cabinet secretary Donna Shalala? (Shalala means "waterfall" in Arabic).
I won't go into all the great Americans with Arabic names in sports, entertainment and business, against whom Cunningham would apparently discriminate on that basis. Does he want to take citizenship away from Kareem Abdul Jabbar [meaning "noble the servant of the Mighty"] and Ahmad Jamal [meaning "the most praised, beauty"]? What about Rihanna ["sweet basil," "aromatic"]? Tony
Shalhoub [i.e. Mr. Monk]?
Let us take Benjamin Franklin. His first name is from the Hebrew Bin Yamin, the son of the Right (hand), or son of strength, or the son of the South (yamin or right has lots of connotations) . The "Bin" means "son of," just as in modern colloquial Arabic. Bin Yamin Franklin is not a dishonorable name because of its Semitic root. By the way, there are lots of Muslims named Bin Yamin.
As for an American president bearing a name derived from a Semitic language, that is hardly unprecedented.
John Adams really only had Semitic names. His first name is from the Hebrew Yochanan, or gift of God, which became Johan and then John. (In German and in medieval English, "y" is represented by "j" but was originally pronounced "y".) Adams is from the biblical Adam, which also just means "human being." In Arabic, one way of saying "human being" is "Bani Adam," the children of men.
Thomas Jefferson's first name is from the Aramaic Tuma, meaning "twin." Aramaic is a Semitic language spoken by Jesus, which is related to Hebrew and Arabic. In Arabic twin is tau'am, so you can see the similarity.
James Madison, James Monroe and James Polk all had a Semitic first name, derived from the Hebrew Ya'aqov or Jacob, which is Ya`qub in Arabic. It became Iacobus in Latin, then was corrupted to Iacomus, and from there became James in English.
Zachary Taylor's first name is from the Hebrew Zachariah, which means "the Lord has remembered."
Abraham Lincoln, of course is, named for the patriarch Abraham, from the Semitic word for father, Ab, and the word for "multitude," raham,. Abu, "father of," is a common element in Arab names today.
So, Mr. Cunningham, Barack Hussein Obama fits right in this list of presidents with Semitic names. In fact, we haven't had one for a while. We are due for another one.
A blessed and good one.
Because of the market crash, Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches. Yesterday, it was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song, while today shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after they nose-dived.
While Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks, Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black. Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that staff may get a raw deal.
“The stock market dropped 777 points. You may not know that 777 is the jackpot of the beast.” ~ Harry Anderson
While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle.'
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was. The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle.'
The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued: 'You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.’
CEO - Chief Embezzlement Officer.
CFO - Corporate Fraud Officer.
BULL MARKET - A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.
BEAR MARKET - A 6-18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.
VALUE INVESTING - The art of buying low and selling lower.
P/E RATIO - The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.
BROKER - What my broker has made me.
STANDARD & POOR - Life in a nutshell.
STOCK ANALYST - Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
STOCK SPLIT - When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.
FINANCIAL PLANNER - Guy whose phone has been disconnected.
MARKET CORRECTION - The day after you buy stocks.
CASH FLOW - The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.
YAHOO - What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.
WINDOWS - What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR – Investor now locked up in a nuthouse.
PROFIT - An archaic word.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
2. Nuclear plants on the ground are dangerous but how about putting the Nuclear Power Plants into orbit and save the middle man. That way the waste can go directly into the sun. My concern is launching the waste into orbit invites an accident with highly radioactive waste being distributed somewhere. There were Solar Power Satellites proposed in the late 1970's as part of the Space Colonization movement. These would work on the same principle to get the generated energy to the ground by microwave transmission.
The Iraq War may end without honor simply because we cannot afford to sustain it. Its a simple matter of mathematics. Terrorist threats are nothing compared to the ability to afford to fight against it. One argument for the end of the Cold War was that the bloated Soviet economy simply could not sustain itself against the ability of the West to finance its military buildup that occoured under the Regan Adminstration. Simply put, President Regan put us into even greater debt to save us from the Soviets and it worked. (Although perhaps the 30 to 40 years of the work of previous adminstrations from Truman to Carter befor him cannot be overlooked). The sustained, consistant military spending which isolated and contained the Soviets was what won the Cold War and cannot be really put to any one man or President. Regan happend to be on the watch when the Cold War thawed to Peristroika and finally to the Collapse after his Presidency.
The Iraq War will end not because we vanquish Al Queda, but will end because we can simply not afford to sustain such a prolonged siege. This probably was the goal of Al Queda all along and is a tool that insurgent forces all over the world have used throughout history. The economic collapse will certainly cause us to rethink many budget priorities and many programs will face the chopping block with the next adminstration. The choice facing the next President is this - do we sustain the war and leave the Homeland suffering in economic misery? Or do we concentrate on our own problems and leave Iraq to disentergrate?
The fact of the matter is that the decision will probably be made for us and soon. The thing overlooked in the debates and that rhetoric on both sides is the simple fact that the we have certainly overstayed our welcome in Iraq and even most of our ardent suporters have said we must leave soon. The Iraqis no longer want us there certainly. The Sunnis and Shities have come to a realization that increased violence will not get us to leave. The present cooperation between them and us is really not an aspect of the Surge, but the fact that they have realized this. We can put our whole Army in Iraq and people will continue to fight. Our soldiers would die even if we did this. The Surge worked not because of the surge, but because we have the opposition knowing that we will not leave their country in turmoil.
So, what they will do and have done is taken our money to be passive, worked with us and will probably continue to do so until we get the hell out. One of the programs in the Surge has been to give money to the various militias in order for them to stop fighting. This has worked so far, but what happens when the money dries up? Iraq has rampant unemployment and the only people paying anyone to do anything really are the militias and the various religious organizations. We bombed Iraq into an economic collapse and now it has to rebuild an infrastructure so it can sell oil again. However, with the general economic conditions, the oil that might have brought economic prosperity has been stedially dropping in price. So, the price at the pump will drop for us, but with that, any hope of economic progress for Iraq will erode.
So, what happens next. Well, with the economic conditions, Isreal's status as the 51st state will probably not be sustainable. What will happen is that the next President will have to more than likely withdraw from the Middle East entirely with the provisio that any attack on Isreal with weapons of mass destruction will cause an in-kind use of weapons of Mass Destruction by the US on that state. Thus, Iran might be allowed to continue to develop its nuclear program and prove to the world that it is for peaceful purposes. (My thinking is that it is for peaceful purposes because they know the oil is running out and that any future power generation capability will have to be Nuclear in nature since it has Uranium). I realize this goes against conventional thinking but one should be aware that there are a lot of Iranians that age getting sick of the religious fanatics running the country. They hate Achmanajinadad as much as we hate Bush.
Non state attacks would be defended by Isreal itself. Isreal has a sustained program of anti-terrorism and that should continue. We should also continue such operations as well. Terrorism is not going to be fought with large, sustained deployments of military forces in foreign lands. Terrorism is fought with intellegence gathering, stealth operations, and the like. We fight by using many of the tactics of the terrorists themselves against them. Apart from torture, kidnapping and the like, we use those tactics to selectively target key operators around the globe and maintain surveylance and take them out when necessary. It has worked in the past. The operations are faster, better and certainly cheaper than having our forces being demolished peacemeal in Iraq. The sad fact is that, like Vietnam, our armed forces will not recover from this conflict for many years - either morally, spiritually, or in material costs. Suicides are up in the military in levels that have not been seen at all. Depot level maintenance on HUMVEE's and attack helicopters used in the conflict has been defered and overall, the military will need to spend billions to replace this overused and overtaxed equipment. It will be many years before we have a solid working force again.
As an asside, another thing that this conflict in Iraq has left us unable to deal with things of even greater concern to us. One enormous opprotunity Obama missed in the debate was a failure to point out that the conflict in Georgia was a result of the war. We cannot deal with Russia becase we are bogged down in Iraq. We cannot deal with the conflict in Sudan and tell the torturers of the world because we lack the moral will to confront them because of Guantanamo. In many ways, we like to say we want to hit back at them and strike them like they hit us. For years we could say that we were above that because we practiced morality in our affairs between nations. Now we lack that morality because we have sunk to the level of the terrorists. We are even below that because we like to think we are the good guys. Maybe its nice to see Jack Bauer on "24" torture a guy to get information out of him, but we forget that waht we see on the screen is a writers imagination. Under duress a tortured person says anything to get the pain to stop and what comes out may not be actionalble intellegence. We never see Jack Bauer being led on the wrong path because he tortured someone and they told him something just to make the pain stop. That wouldn't be a good episode.
Now there will be failures in a program where we confront Al-Queda indirectly. The September attacks on the Trade Center was one of them, but economically can we hope to sustain a multi-trillion dollar war on terror? The choice that our future leaders have to make will have to take the economic problems we have into account.
What was going to start out as a compliation of replies on varous posts grew into something else and this kinda drained my brain of things I suppose I have been thinking about. I know there are some "interesting" things I have said here and I write here to get comments so have at it.
- ► 2010 (104)
- ► 2009 (99)
- ▼ December (7)
- Life Update - Judy's ashes
- My Aunt passed away.
- They aren't replaceable
- The Creation as written by Man.
- Barcodes you should know
- Stages of Drinking
- This just isn't right
- A "First Dog?"
- Something to be concerned about....
- The Cow as a political scientist
- Religion joke, stolen from Cal's page
- Back home and Alive
- Down and out in Checotah, OK
- Away for a few days
- What is wrong with this picture
- What HAVe I gotten myself into?
- Not All Muslems are terrorists
- Up Yours from the Investor Class
- An Interesting story in the paper
- Whats in a Name
- Japanese Banking News
- Post Turtle
- New Financial Terms
- Replies - Energy independence
- Rambled Musings - my thoughts for the past couple ...