Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Away for a few days

I have finally made the time to see my friend in Dallas. If you have followed my blogs, then you know that my Friend in DFW, Stephanie, has cancer. It getting worse, and it doesn't look like she will be with us much longer. I am driving down today (if I can stay awake that is) to go see her and hopefuly make her a little happy. She is in pretty bad shape at the moment. Sh has a reached a point where she cannot eat or drink anything anymore. Even water makes her feel terrible. I don't know how long she can live like this as she is becomming very dehydrated.

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.

God bless.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What is wrong with this picture

I got to wonder really how they catch these pictures.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What HAVe I gotten myself into?

Today I attended my first "ham fest." I found out that Ham fests are a lot like the dealers room at a Sci-Fi convention. Lots of people from a huge area get together and talk and sell stuff to other aficionados of the hobby. En route to go inside, I came upon this curious sight. Apparently, the wife has told this gentleman that he is not to have his ham radios in the house! There were so many antenna's that I get the feeling that if the Space Station called, he could probably get them. (Truth is, any Amateur can get the Space Station as there is a Ham Radio on the Station, but I still have a little research to go before I can call them).

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

Not All Muslems are terrorists

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


This was taken by a Red Light camera in North St. Louis the other day. Apparently both fire trucks were answering different calls and ignored each other. The result is as you see here. All Eight Fire Fighters on the one overturned fire truck were taken to the hospital. Seven were released and one stayed overnight with a concussion. There is an investigation pending.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Up Yours from the Investor Class

I got this in an e-mail this mornig. This really said something to me about how the investor "class" sees us poor dupes who gamble their money in the stock market. We are "low hanging fruit" ripe for the plucking, too stupid to see how we are throwing our money into a well that we may never see again. Those who get out are smart and the moneyed elite are the dumb ones. His ending is great as well. Just read and enjoy.

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.

Dear Investor:

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,

Andrew Lahde"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Interesting story in the paper

Are you living in a former meth lab? is your state one that requires reporting that to a prospective home buyer? This is an intersting story I came across.

Are you living in a former meth lab?
Michelle DiLorenzo and her boyfriend Jason Dowdell talk about what they had learned about the history of their House Springs home once they were informed it had been used as a meth lab before they bought it. (.B. Forbes /P-D)

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.


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.


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.


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."


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.

It was.

"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

Whats in a Name

I found this in my inbox this morning and found it fascinating.

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.

Japanese Banking News


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

Post Turtle

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.’

New Financial Terms

(With thanks to Phill Procter)

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

Replies - Energy independence

1. There are wind generators for sale as well for homes. I have seen several 1 Kw generators for as low as $600. The installation of them, however is what the cost is. Also, you have to have a place to put the bank of batteries you will have to buy in order to store excess power for when you have no wind and to make up for variables in wind speed. The initial cost of $600 for the turbine will eventually go up to who knows what cost, but certainly under $10,000. With that, depending on where you live and the constancy of the wind, you can be independent of the power grid and in some cases you might be able to even sell back to the grid excess power generated by your turbine.

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.

Rambled Musings - my thoughts for the past couple of days.

Some things about the recent Presidential debate have left me thinking about things and one of these is energy independence. We do need to have energy independence and the fact ot the matter is if we don't do it soon, we will lack the political will and financial energy to be able to do so. Already, we owe so much to the banks in China and elsewhere that our debt has clogged the worlds financial system to the point where nothing is moving. Not only have our overpriced McMansions clogged the global banking system, but the $10 Trillion in debt that our nation holds in various banks overseas which have purchased our bonds has left the world in a quandry. We have a debt that is beyond the world's capability to finance and the collapse that has come is one that has been comming for decades.

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.

Asteroid Impact

For those interested there was a recent news item concerning the fact that a small Asteroid was going to hit the Earth. Here is the story about the eventual impact.

ASTEROID IMPACT: (Updated Oct. 8th) On Oct. 7th, asteroid 2008 TC3 hit Earth and exploded in the atmosphere over northern Sudan. An infrasound array in Kenya recorded the impact: map. Dr. Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario has inspected the data and he estimates that the asteroid hit at 0243 UTC with an energy between 1.1 and 2.1 kilotons of TNT. The explosion was imaged by the weather satellite Meteosat 8:

Image credit: Zdenek Charvat, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute

"The explosion was visible in all 12 of the satellite's spectral channels, covering wavelengths from 0.5 to 14 microns," says Jiri Borovicka
of the Czech Academy of Sciences, who is analyzing the data. "The satellite takes pictures every five minutes; the fireball appeared at 0245 UTC and had faded away by 0250 UTC."

So far, no ground-based pictures of the fireball have been submitted; the impact occurred in a remote area with few and possibly no onlookers capable of recording the event. The only report of a visual sighting comes from Jacob Kuiper, General Aviation meteorologist at the National Weather Service in the Netherlands:

"Half an hour before the predicted impact of asteroid 2008 TC3, I informed an official of Air-France-KLM at Amsterdam airport about the possibility that crews of their airliners in the vicinity of impact would have a chance to see a fireball. And it was a success! I have received confirmation that a KLM airliner, roughly 750 nautical miles southwest of the predicted atmospheric impact position, has observed a short flash just before the expected impact time 0246 UTC. Because of the distance it was not a very large phenomenon, but still a confirmation that some bright meteor has been seen in the predicted direction. Projected on an infrared satellite image from Meteosat 7, I have indicated the position of the plane (+) and the predicted impact area in Sudan (0)."

2008 TC3 was discovered on Oct. 6th by astronomers using the Mt. Lemmon telescope in Arizona as part of the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey for near-Earth objects. Asteroids the size of 2008 TC3 hit Earth 5 to 10 times a year, but this is the first time one has been discovered before it hit.

BONUS: 2008 TC3 was so close to Earth, different observers around the globe saw the asteroid trace different paths among the stars. This effect, called parallax, is beautifully illustrated in a compilation of 566 published observations prepared by Matthias Busch: image.

The Debate Last Night - Minute by Minute (From Alternet)

Editor's note: The folks over at Think Progress did a great job live-blogging tonight's debate, here's their minute by minute analysis:

10:29(EST): It's worth noting that if Iran attacked Israel, there would be no need to wait for a UN Security Council resolution even according to the UN Charter before responding. Article 51 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter enshrines the "inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations."

10:25: McCain said Russia has to understand that "they are facing a strong and determined America." Fortunately, from her well-positioned perch in Alaska, Sarah Palin has been keeping a close eye on Putin for any time he might "rear his head."

10:23: McCain said that when he looks into Putin's eyes, he sees the letters K-G-B. But in 2001, after President Bush looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul, McCain gave him "an A" for how he did in his meeting with Putin.

10:21: McCain argued that the U.S. needs to execute the "same" surge strategy in Afghanistan as we've had in Iraq, but Gen. David D. McKiernan, the new top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, "stated emphatically that no Iraq-style 'surge' of forces will end the conflict there."

10:17: Earlier in tonight's debate, McCain referred to Obama as "that one."

10:14: McCain chastised Obama for saying that he would strike Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan without Pakistan's permission if need be. Just recently, McCain defended Sarah Palin when she said essentially the same thing. (UPDATE: McCain "announced" on multiple occasions his desire to attack Iraq.)

10:13: McCain misquoted his "hero" Teddy Roosevelt tonight, quoting him as saying, "Walk -- Talk softly and carry a big stick. The exact quote is: "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

10:11: McCain suggested that he opposed Ronald Reagan's deployment of US forces to Lebanon. In fact, he initially favored deploying the troops and only later argued for their withdrawal making arguments, one should note, that sound an awful lot like the arguments for redeploying from Iraq that he now deplores.

10:08: McCain doesn't seem to understand that General David Petraeus currently heads up U.S. Central Command and is not at all the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

10:06: McCain just said that if we'd withdrawn from Iraq, Iranian influence would have increased and Al Qaeda would have set up a base. Both of these things happened because we invaded Iraq.

10:03: Discussing when to intervene militarily, McCain mentioned Kosovo. Back in 2000, McCain referred to the conduct of the Kosovo intervention as "the most obscene chapter in recent American history."

10:02: McCain criticized Obama's foreign policy background, saying the country can't afford a president who will engage in "on-the-job training." However, Laura Bush has said that Palin doesn't have any foreign policy experience, but "she's a very quick study."

9:59: McCain said Americans should be able to go across state lines to purchase health insurance. But this approach would erode important consumer protections and allow companies to exclude from coverage pre-existing conditions, deny claims, and increase premiums.

9:57: While McCain said health care should be a "responsibility," Obama said, "I think it should be a right, for every American."

9:55: McCain is disparaging the idea of government involvement in the health care system, but he's enjoyed government-provided health care all his life and appears to trust it fine to deal with his own health problems.

9:54: McCain said he would give every family a $5,000 tax credit to buy health insurance. But McCain's credit would not cover the average price of a family health care plan. According to the latest Kaiser Foundation Benefits Survey, "premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose to $12,680 annually for family coverage" in 2008.

9:49: Obama just warned of the threat of the "climate crisis," Al Gore's preferred terminology for global warming. McCain referred to it as "climate change" earlier.

9:45: McCain said that Obama voted 94 times for tax increases or against tax cuts. Using the same methods that the McCain campaign used to calculate that number, McCain has voted for 477 tax increases.

9:44: McCain claims that the best way of "fixing" global warming is nuclear power, which he also praised as a job creator. McCain's nuke here, nuke now plan is estimated at "$315 billion, with taxpayers bearing much of the financial risk" and would tie our energy future to a toxic, deadly fuel that is mined in nations like Kazakhstan, Russia, Niger, and Uzbekistan -- and would only generate 10,000 jobs a year.

9:44: For the second time tonight, McCain just repeated the attack that Obama has "never taken on" members of his own party, whereas he has. However, McCain has voted with Bush 95 percent of the time and once said, "I don't have to show I'm different from Bush."

9:43: McCain's plan for Medicare is to . . . appoint a commission. What happened to leadership? Doesn't he have any substantive thoughts on this issue?

9:42: McCain said, "I'm not in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy." A recent analysis from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center found that McCain's plan "would primarily benefit those with very high incomes, almost all of whom would receive large tax cuts that would, on average, raise their after-tax incomes by more than twice the average for all households."

9:41: Tonight, McCain is wearing a red striped tie that appears wavy and distorted on television. He apparently hasn't learned his lesson. During the last debate, McCain wore a similarly dizzying red and white striped tie.

9:40: Brokaw editorialized that we can all agree in a "bipartisan way" that entitlement programs are "a big ticking time bomb." In fact, in 2005 - as President Bush tried to "reform" Social Security with a privatization scheme - "barely one in four Americans believe[d] that a crisis exists." (UPDATE: As Paul Krugman explains, "No matter how many times you try to kill the mythical Social Security crisis, it just keeps coming back.")

9:39: McCain said that the last president to raise taxes amidst a downturn was Herbert Hoover. But of course Bill Clinton was elected amidst a weak economic situation, passed an Obama-esque tax increase on wealthy people, and ushered in an era of broadly shared prosperity.

9:37: Obama said that McCain's tax cut proposals would give corporate CEOs a $700,000 tax cut. McCain's tax proposals would also give his own family a $300,000 tax cut.

9:35: While discussing health care, McCain said, "I'm not going to tell that person without health insurance, I'm sorry you'll have to wait." Ironically, under McCain's Guaranteed Access health plan, individuals with pre-exisiting conditions would have to wait months for coverage of their illness.

9:33: Obama just mentioned the need for "volunteer corps all across this country." McCain has no national service plan.

9:32: In addition to reducing many vital services, John McCain's proposed spending freeze - a cut in inflation-adjusted terms - would serve as an anti-stimulus to the economy at a time of recession.

9:31: McCain said that he wants to eliminate some government programs. In the 1990s, he said that he would support "doing away" with both the Department of Education and the Department of Energy.

9:30: Discussing earmarks, McCain said he wanted to eliminate not just bad programs, but also some "really good projects" as well. But if the programs are really good, why eliminate them?

9:29: By mocking the Chicago planetarium earmark, McCain has twice mocked federal spending on science education, despite saying he recognizes the need for more scientists and engineers in America. Upon becoming the Republican nominee, he has advocated offshore drilling and selected global warming denier Sarah Palin to be his running mate - despite saying he recognizes the threat of global warming. As Lawrence Krauss said, "McCain risks becoming the anti-science candidate."

9:27: Speaking about entitlements, John McCain said "we are not going to be able to provide the same benefit for future retirees that we have today." In other words, he wants to cut entitlements. And yet, it was just earlier today that Sarah Palin said: "John McCain and I will protect the entitlement programs that Americans depend on - and above all, Social Security." (UPDATE: McCain's top adviser admitted on Sunday that McCain would slash $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years.)

9:26: McCain praised investments in solar and wind energy. A few minutes before, he challenged the audience to look at his record as well as his rhetoric. Despite his words in favor of renewable energy in recent months, McCain has a clear record of opposition to clean energy.

9:25: McCain highlighted his support for campaign finance reform as an example of his "clear record of bipartisanship." However, he has called Justices Roberts and Alito "model justices," even though both oppose campaign finance reform.

9:23: McCain said that he worked across the aisle with Joe Lieberman on climate change, but he refused to endorse Lieberman's climate change bill when it came up for a vote in the Senate last year.

9:21: McCain claims he warned about the coming economic crisis. However, in 2007, he admitted he was "surprised" by the crisis. "So, I'd like to tell you that I did anticipate it, but I have to give you straight talk, I did not," he said.

9:20: McCain spoke of the need to end "cronyism" that corrupts Washington. Perhaps he had in mind things like when Freddie Mac decided to hire a close McCain associate specifically in order to influence McCain's actions and then, after he succeeded, McCain tapped him to serve as his Senate Chief of Staff.

9:19: McCain said he wanted to "get rid of" the "special interests" in Washington to solve the economic crisis. Roughly 164 former lobbyists, however, run his campaign, raise money for him, and set his policy agenda.

9:16: When asked who he would potentially name as his Treasury Secretary, McCain did not mention his previous leading candidate -- Phil Gramm, who called America a "nation of whiners" in a "mental recession."

9:15: McCain is saying that two years ago, he stood up and warned against the excesses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. NPR has fact-checked this claim as an exaggeration, saying that it was Sen. Chuck Hagel who actually took the lead to tighten regulation in 2005.

9:14: McCain repeated the conservative myth that problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at the root of the financial crisis. In fact, Fannie and Freddie were late to the subprime party and had been losing market share to other firms who plunged ahead more recklessly. It's true that better regulation would have been a good idea, but regulators -- members of the Bush administration -- declined to use the authority they already had.

9:13: McCain once again claimed to have suspended his campaign to deal with the crisis, but in fact his surrogates continued to appear on television attacking Obama.

9:12: McCain decries sending billions of dollars "to countries that don't like us very much," by which we assume he means, among others, Iran and Russia. But because of the rise in oil prices resulting from the Iraq war, Iran and Russia are raking in billions of dollars in oil revenues. It's a simple equation: War John McCain supports waging indefinitely = regional destabilization = increased oil prices = higher revenues for regimes John McCain wants to contain.

9:11: McCain said he supported helping homeowners renegotiate the terms of their mortgages. However, he opposed a proposition to allow bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgage payment terms on first homes.

9:09: McCain asserted that he doesn't want to raise taxes on "anybody." But last month, he admitted his health care plan may raise taxes.

9:08: McCain says we've got to "stop the spending spree" here in Washington to deal with the economic crisis. But reducing spending during a recession - especially at a time when the Fed is maintaining low interest rates -- is a pro-cyclical measure likely to deepen a recession.

9:05: McCain smiled and made prolonged eye contact when he greeted Obama -- already making more eye contact than the last debate.

9:03: Like the first presidential debate, McCain isn't donning a flag pin on his lapel. Barack Obama is.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Figure I will jump in this one since I haven't posted a thing aboutmy life lately.

1. My Victor/Victoira is running again. OH, how I missed my car and I will never complain about her again. The front end is completely rebuilt thanks to my wonderful brother and his $1400 loan. (I have such a wonderful brother). While I appreciate his generosity, his Neon (formerly mine and formerly his before it became mine) leave a little to be desired. I have been driving around the Neon for ages it seems. Its noisy, has no radio, no Air Conditioning, and I hve to take my brother to work every morning I had to use it. Now that I have the Victor/Victoria back I have no worries and can cruise in gas guzzing silence down the roads.

2. I have my ham radio now, but I have to install it in my car in order to get it to work. I decided to go witht he mobile unit rather than the handheld since the handheld will get you maybe a few blocks verses across the county with the mobile uint. Now I have to find someoen to put it in at a reasonable price since according to the instructions the radio should be connected directly to the battery or else it voids the warantee. Nice.

3. Now that I have the V/V fixed, I can contemplate travelling beyond the confines of my local political unit here. I am contemplating going to DFW to see my ailing friend, but I want to get some other things resolved this week and might go next week if finances work out. It will depend.

4. I have added to my musical collection lately. I have been a life long Speed Racer fan and found a copy of the original Japanese music from the show on Amazon. Speed Racer was originaly released in Japan as "Mach Go, Go, Go" and it sounds funky with the Japanese lyrics. The rest is the music cues from the show, the soundtrack music, which I throughly enjoyed. I look forward to putting this in my car and driving down the highway passing a truck while the "Mammoth Car" theme plays.

5. I added Kansas to my collection with "Somewhere to Elsewhere" which is one of the post-breakup albums that brought Kerry Livgrin and his talent back to Kansas. I have heard one song on this album which was "Icarus II" a sequel to a song written pre-Leftoverture days. I really hope I am going to love this album.

6. I added "Yellowstone - for Violin and Orchestra" to my collection. I heard this on KFUO the other night. (For those who want to listen, KFUO you may click here). KFUO is one of St. Louis' jewels and I love to listen to it all night when I drive in my security vehicle all night. However, KFUO also has an international audience thanks to the internet. The music I heard was so beautiful that I had to have the piece I heard.

7. MESSENGER went by Mercury yesterday on Monday Morning, and took some spactacular pictures. I have been remiss in not posting to the Astronomy section here on Multiply. I will post some soon.

8. I have been remiss in not posting to my CNG blog as well. I haven't posted to it in ages and that isn't a good thing. In this era of needing alternative energy, we need alternative fuel for vehicles and CNG is one of them. So I hope to get off my ass and start posting soon.

9. I am getting to hate the election. I have posted my ideas here. I am going to voting for Obama for sure and there aren't a lot of things that are going to change my mind. The debates are on right now and I am not sure how much more I can stand.

10. I am still alive so things I suppose are OK. Other than that, I hope that the economy gets better. Every day, I just want to turn off the TV.

With apologies to Sam McGee

Found this on a political blog today. Intersting little ditty.

The Nomination of Sarah P.

(a memorial for Robert W. Service 1874-1958, with apologies to “The Cremation of Sam McGee” http://www.potw.org/archive/potw22.html)

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By Republicans seeking votes;
The campaign trails have their secret tales --
Indeed their own “Deep Throats.”
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night in the hall in old St. Paul:
They opted for Sarah P.

John McCain, of Vietnam fame, was handed his hat by the Bushes.
His gang changed its game, became McSame -- and fought to save their tushes.
Exxon John was shuffling on, his campaign was dull as Nebraska.
For Hillary’s votes, they donned fur coats and off they flew to Alaska.

The economy tanks, while old John banks -- on beer and big cuts in taxation.
As the gas price soars, corporate whores are buying and selling the nation.
Georgia’s got oil, attractive spoil; John’s guy knocks down hefty fee.
They need oil that’s clean, know what I mean? VoilĂ : there she is, Sarah P!

“We’ve got her!” they cried, “big win for our side -- a babe who hunts and fishes!”
The right wing crew confirms it’s true, the gal of all their wishes.
They shivered and shook, took one more quick look, and snuck her to Arizona.
As Rove assays “It’s all ‘God, guns, and gays’! You’ve found the ideal persona!”

John’s of an age. At his advanced stage he can’t remember his houses.
The moola is Cindy’s, that pisses the Indies. Perhaps he’s forgotten his spouses!
Up in Alaska no one’ll ask ya how many houses or just how few.
Freezing weather? Palins huddle together in their snuggly exurban igloo.

John McCain fiercely dreams he’s John Wayne -- he wants to bomb Iran.
With Sarah Palin, John aint failin’ his crusade on Islamastan.
“Shia and Sunni, they’re both kind of loony,” neither one can tell them apart.
“We’ll kill ‘em all fast, with a nu-cu-lar blast -- plus elitists who think they’re so smart!”

John used to say, in that bellicose way, “First priority: getting Al Qaida.
We need a guy of experienced eye – or a beauty queen snowmobile rider.”
Sarah P. on Iraq is not deep – but she never asked to be veep.
It was McCain, war on his brain, making the choice in his sleep.

Is there a scandal? One John can’t handle? You’ve heard of troopergate.
Sarah loves sister Palin, so she’ll give her ex a flailin’. An independent state?
“Let’s break away from the old USA, and its army of occupation.
Oil drilling is fine, as long as it’s mine, to hell with your forty-eight nation!”

What now GOP, grand oil oli-GOP-oly? Signs are that you’re ailin’.
Swift boats are sunk, no thoughts are thunk, just a family soap with Palin!
Asleep at the wheel, John’s lost his feel, the party sure is sinking.
But Sarah’s young, with a crazy tongue, let’s hear it for unthinking!

Her style: naughty librarian. Talk: libertarian. But are things what they seem?
She’d ban some books, belies her looks, plays for the GOP team.
Not a librarian, not libertarian, she’s a censoring barracuda.
She knows Jesus will do as she pleases; shut up with your crap about Buddha!

God’s will, Sarah knows, is to drill; she’s privy to His plan.
At end of days the good Lord pays – or is that Taliban?
“Pray away the gay” – her church says today. Alaska’s a “refuge state.”
When Judgment comes, her raptured chums throng Nome’s pearly gate.

“Country first”: it’s well rehearsed, at the post-disaster convention.
She’ll be a heartbeat away from holding sway-- watch your hypertension.
Creation’s in for guv Palin, and choice she’ll strictly ban.
And get this Pentecostal threat: no sex ed in Alaskastan.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By Republicans seeking votes;
The campaign trails have their secret tales --
Indeed their own “Deep Throats.”
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night in the hall in old St.Paul:
They opted for Sarah P.

Gary Shapiro

Monday, October 6, 2008

Damage from Hurricane Ike has an impact on the environment.

ENVIRONMENT -- HURRICANE IKE CAUSES HALF A MILLION GALLONS OF OIL SPILLS: A new AP analysis shows that Hurricane Ike "destroyed oil platforms, tossed storage tanks and punctured pipelines," resulting in "[a]t least a half millions gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and the marshes, bayous and bays of Louisiana and Texas." The Coast Guard has responded to more than 3,000 pollution reports. "At times, a new spill or release was reported to the Coast Guard every five minutes to 10 minutes." Ike's enormously destructive wreckage adds further proof that conservatives' claims regarding the safety of offshore oil drilling are totally false. As they pushed for expanded drilling this summer, conservatives repeatedly insisted that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita "didn't spill a drop" of oil. Even Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman claimed that during Katrina and Rita, "there was not one case where we had a situation with oil or gas being spilled in the environment." This is a lie: Those hurricanes caused 124 offshore oil spills releasing over 700,000 gallons of oil. The clear evidence of Ike's environmental damage comes just days after House progressives allowed the ban on offshore oil drilling to expire, potentially clearing the way for hundreds of new rigs to be built -- and for destructive new oil spills to be created.

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.