Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ron Paul Blasts TSA and Homeland Security

Representative Ron Paul makes an impassioned case on the floor of the House of Representatives here against the use of the TSA's naked body scanners and the "enhanced patdown" which many are calling sexual assault. He makes a good point also in his bill that the government shouldn't be allowed to do to us what we cannot do to other people, namely touching people inappropriately, and taking nude photos of people and children. A great short speech. Please watch it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don't Be Shy If You Want to Fly

John Tyner, to my mind, is a hero defending liberty and decency. He is the young man who refused to be screened by TSA airport scanners which can peer through clothes at someone’s naked body. Then after hearing how he would be felt-up and groped by the “enhanced pat-down” instead, he refused to do that also, saying famously “But if you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested.” After long discussions with TSA officials, he then was escorted from the airport because they wouldn’t allow him to board his flight without the personal intrusion first. (Video of encounter)

And for his refusal to submit to these invasions he is now threatened with an investigation and a $11,000 fine! You must be kidding. For what? Did he break a law? Hey Ms. Napolitano, how about a moratorium on enhanced stupidity? And I hear you’re considering a waver for Muslim women. WHAAAAT?? Good idea. Pretty much the ONLY female suicide bombers that have ever existed have been Islamic extremist women. That would sort of leave a gaping hole in airline safety if you ask me. How about we exempt everyone from personally intrusive searches, unless through investigatory means we find them to be suspicious or to fit an FBI-style profile of a potential bad guy? Let’s look at how a country successful at counter-terrorism does it, ie., Israel. They are more targeted in their screening process, and have been pretty successful in keeping bombers off of their airplanes. Or how about using more bomb-sniffing dogs?

I think we are going to see a lot of bipartisan furor over this policy in the coming days and rightly so. A consumer protest has been suggested for next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving where people will refuse the scan, opting for the “enhanced patdown” which will have the effect of slowing down passenger screening and gumming up an already slow travel day. Something needs to be done, but accepting the patdown is accepting the equal of two bad equals. Everyone who flies on that day should refuse both screening techniques. If 2,000,000 travelers did that, no planes would fly. Would Janet Napolitano and the TSA be happy then? We the citizen need to be heard again. These are outrageous policies which need to be replaced .

"Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Marry Your Instant Messaging, It's Easy!

The Internet has helped to bring people together from all over the world. E-mail was the first way that this was accomplished. But although e-mail is fast, it isn’t INSTANT. (Man, we have gotten pretty impatient, LOL.) Instant Messaging (IM) is ubiquitous on the Internet. And it is INSTANT. Usually. Today, everyone uses IM. Okay, many people use it.

You can IM someone 12,500 miles away from you instantly from a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a netbook, an iPad, and just about any cell (mobile) phone on Earth. Yahoo Messenger, AOL's AIM, and MSN Messenger are a few big names in instant messaging. And now MySpace and Facebook have instant messaging that you can use when you're on their websites. There are many others to boot.
One of the problems with instant messaging is that one friend might have AIM, and another might have Yahoo IM, while your girlfriend might use ICQ, and your office uses Google Talk. Having more than one chat program open on your computer isn’t going to hurt it, but it isn’t going to speed it up. There is an answer to this age-old conundrum and its name is Pidgin.
What is Pidgin? Pidgin is an open source Instant Messaging client that can help you tie together into one program all your various instant messaging accounts. Download the free software, which is constantly updated by user/programmers from all over the world, add your instant messaging accounts and you’re a multilingual chatting machine. You can chat with any of your friends or family members in one of at least 15 different instant messaging services, including Facebook and Skype which require a simple plugin download.
Following are some advantages to using Pidgin:
  •   It consolidates all your IM programs into one interface.
  •  You don't need a web browser open to use it as you do with MySpace, Yahoo InBox IM, and Facebook.
  • It doesn't have annoying advertisements like Yahoo, and MySpace and AIM.
  •  The interface is simpler than most IM programs.
  • It’s free.
There are some disadvantages too:
  •  Doesn't support video or audio chat/calling (though that feature is said to be on deck in the future)
  • Doesn't support animated smileys, winks, Flirts, pokes, or buzzes
If you want to simplify your online chat life, Pidgin is the program that does it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Layoffs at Work

Yesterday we had another round of layoffs at work (a cyclical occurrence at the company I work for). I feel bad for those who were cut. (I was laid off by the same company three or four years ago and hired back six months later.) But people laid off today have ninety-nine weeks of unemployment to fall back on, so if you're going to lose your job, then now is the time to do it.

I do hope my former co-workers find work quickly however, because I know that it's easy to start feeling down and like you're not contributing to society if you don't have a job for a long period of time. I have a few pointers gained from my experience with being laid off.

First of all, shine up that resume. Make sure it's up to date and everything is spelled properly. Have it proofread or edited by someone else. But seriously, it's a very good idea. We can read something a hundred times and miss something someone else will see after reading it just once. A resume must be perfect.

Next, sign up for LinkedIn, a professional networking website and connect with all your former co-workers and friends. The more contacts you have on there the better the chance you will have of finding work. Get some referrals from them while you're still fresh in their minds. Sign up on and search Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com, and Hotjobs.com. And don't fall for the "make 1000 dollars a week on your computer" scam postings. Also use craigslist.org to search for jobs. There are plenty of legitimate job listings on the site along with the scams. You'll just have to learn to discern between the two. And if you're serious about finding work, put in your status on Facebook that you're looking for work. It can't hurt.

What I also suggest to my former office mates and what I will do myself next time I find myself in that position is to, yes, spend time looking for work every day, but not eight hours a day. You need to spend time advancing any entrepreneurial or freelance projects you may have been thinking of. This is the perfect time to nurture those ideas you may have had to be your own boss.

In my case, I would have spent more time writing and getting things sent out to publishers. But you may want to start a business, and so should put aside some time each day toward reaching that goal. Write a business plan, create some artwork for your portfolio, sell some Avon, take a course in Real Estate. Anything, as long as it is helping you advance your career goals and dreams in some way. It doesn't have to be Careerbuilder, Monster, and resumes all day long.

And after eight hours on the job hunt and the personal career development hunt, "Go home", as usual and do your normal after work routine. Exercise, cook, help your kids with their homework, go bowling. Operating in this way will help to keep you sane and calm in a distressing time.

Good luck on your future my friends. I hope it is full of success and happiness. It was a pleasure working with you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Elections in U.S. a Boon for Liberty

This is a good week with plenty of political sun shining in the USA. Tuesday's mid-term election has been called a "historical win", "a wave election", "a tsunami", "an earthquake", "a drubbing", “a repudiation”, and "a shellacking". While we don't have a new Captain for our ship, we do have a fine new crew, and they were put there by the restless people of this great land to keep the ship from hitting any more icebergs. Or, to use President Obama's (wrong) overused analogy, "to get us out of the ditch", that he and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have driven us into.

Republicans won 240 seats in the House of Representatives, gaining 60+ seats and taking the majority in that body. The GOP also gained 6 or more seats in the Senate, improving their number there to 46+ and leaving Democrats with a slimmer majority in that body. What this historical shift in power means is that there won't be one party rule any longer and there will be an actual check in the system of "checks and balances".

Some of the bright spots of the day include: Marco Rubio winning a U.S. senate seat from Florida against political chameleon Governor Charlie Crist. Pat Toomey grabbing a senate seat in blue Pennsylvania was also great. Michele Bachmann winning re-election to the House was excellent since she is a big Tea Party booster, and Nikki Haley winning the governorship of South Carolina is good news for that state. State legislatures were also greatly affected with Republicans gaining 680+ seats in all statehouses.

Being originally from Michigan I should also express happiness that the Democrat chokehold there has been relieved somewhat, which I hope will bring some fiscal economic relief to that downtrodden state. They have a new Republican governor, senator, and a state legislature firmly in Republican hands.

Unfortunately, in my district in New Jersey, the Tea Party backed candidate for the U.S. House, Anna Little, did not beat the entrenched Democrat Frank Pallone, who brags that the Health Care bill was "his bill". However, she did put up a hell of a fight. He is a hard-core liberal this Pallone and I am sad to see he won, but happy to know that now he will be in the minority party.

Christine O'Donnell of Delaware and Sharon Angle of Nevada were two high profile Tea Party backed Senate candidates who put up good fights but lost mostly due to voluminous slander by their opponents and the mainstream press.

And in the greatest puzzle of the day, I will never understand how someone (Jerry Brown) who wrecked the economy of California in his previous eight years as governor there could be elected to do it all over again (at this critical time!), over a candidate (Meg Whitman) who ran many companies successfully and made billions of dollars doing it. But it’s not like she'd have the financial chops to run California compared to someone who already failed at the job, right? One has to question what the voters, even Democrats, were thinking in CA.

There were two other big winners in this election: The Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin. Mrs. Palin was a big winner because she took her star power, her political capital,  and conservative ideals into every nook and cranny of this country in support of conservative Republicans, many of whom were running for the first time in their lives for office. And in most every case it helped the candidate greatly. This increased Palin's visibility as well as her political savoir faire.

The Tea Party movement, which is basically the voice of the quiet majority, showed that it has the clout to get people elected, the ideals to attract a large membership, and the power to sway law makers. This despite slander from the media and politicians. But the Tea Party movement is just a frame for a large number of Americans who are dissatisfied with an out-of-control government.

In the end, it was just the American people who came out on Tuesday and demanded change with their votes. A fine example for a democratic republic like the United States of America.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pledge Is a Blueprint for Change


Voter’s in the U.S. should pay scant attention to political attack advertising on television and radio in the last few days of this election cycle and read the “Pledge to America” authored by Republican members of the House of Representatives. This is a short document (a PDF with lots of nice photos) that they wrote for, and at the behest of a clamoring and suffering American public. It is similar to Congressional Republican’s 1994 “Contract with America” which provided a list of planned governing actions and promises to voters of that year’s elections.

Similarly, the “Pledge to America” outlines Republicans’ promises to "turn this ship around", with concrete actions that they will take if they are elected to a majority on November 2, 2010. The Pledge’s promises reference the Constitution and Constitutionality often.

If Republicans do gain a majority on November 2 (as they appear likely to) and follow through on the reforms, repeals, and economic resuscitation that is outlined in this document, it is clear that this country will again be headed down a path toward a stronger future. It’s a deal changer that will give the incoming freshman electees and veteran congressmen a blueprint for governing by the people and for the people.

Read it before you pass judgement and call it and the Republicans the same old same old political posturing. Holding the line against tax increases, cutting government spending, enabling job creation, fixing the economy, Congressional transparency, national security – there’s a lot to like in the Pledge if you want the country to get on track for a better future. There is a determination in the Pledge and in many Republicans, inspired by the Tea Parties, to answer the challenge set by the citizens of this country to do something about out of control government.

And as always, don't take for granted the outcome of any election. Nothing is a sure thing. VOTE!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Amp Up Your Music with Winamp

If you like to listen to music while working on or near your computer, like I do, you can't do better than Winamp's Media Player software. Like Windows Media Player, it plays many kinds of music files, video files, rips and burns CDs, organizes media files, and streams music and video from the Web.

But it goes miles beyond being a simple piece of software. With it you can access not only your music and video files, but music and video from all over the Web. In that sense it is much like iTunes, but whereas iTunes is generally a pay-for-play vehicle, most of Winamp's content is free.



The Media Library button (ML) on the Winamp player opens up literally thousands of listening and viewing options. Some of the menu items that can be found there are Shoutcast Radio, Shoutcast TV, AOL Radio, Song of the Day, OurStage Radio, Tour Tracker, Metrolyrics, and 7digital Music.

I'll talk first about the music since that is what I am most interested in with the Winamp player.

Every kind of music in the world can be found streaming through Shoutcast Radio, one of the menu items in the Media Library. If you like Pop music, there are hundreds of stations. If you like Japanese Pop music (JPOP) you can find forty or fifty stations. The same with Indonesian, or Indian, Instrumental or Heavy Metal. Not only is the choice of genre almost unlimited, but many of the stations can be streamed at different download rates depending on your Internet connection. At work I use a minimal download rate (32 bps, bits per second) so that I won't hog precious work bandwidth, but at home where I have more available bandwidth I use the best bandwidth available, which is usually 128 bps for the film soundtracks music station I listen to. The higher the download bandwidth, the better the fidelity the music has.

Some of the stations have on-air DJs and some stations play the music with the occasional station identification. Others are streams of commercial broadcast radio stations. In addition there is talk radio of every sort. You literally could not listen to everything Shoutcast Radio has to offer there is so much.

But for music, there are still more choices. AOL Radio is one of those choices. Here you'll find hundreds more radio channels to listen to. Easy listening, to classical, to Holiday-themed music. You can practically throw away your FM radio!

Then there's Song of the Day, which presents a song a day that you can download for free and play from new or unknown artists.

OurStage Radio lets you play new music in a bunch of genres and rate songs with a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Tour Tracker attempts to find touring information about the artist that is currently playing on your Winamp player.

Metrolyrics tries to find lyrics to the song that is currently playing in your Winamp player.

The 7digital service allows you the opportunity to buy what you are listening to, or other music.

And speaking of choices, in the Media Library there are also 30,000 Podcasts to subscribe to, download, and listen to. Learn a new language, listen to news, science discussion, car talk, and more.

As if all of that isn't enough to keep you busy, there are also over one hundred video streams on Shoutcast TV. In my opinion there isn't anything worth seeing there (if you can get something to work at all!).

My favorite place to go in the Winamp Media Player is Shoutcast Radio. Tune into Winamp yourself and you'll soon be finding something great to listen to as well.

Download the Winamp media player from Winamp's website. www.winamp.com

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Goldilocks Planet May Not Even Exist

Gliese 581
About two weeks ago, I was one of the only voices on the Internet raising a skeptical eyebrow at all the fantastic claims surrounding the alleged new planet, Gliese 851g. Now it appears that another group of astronomers from Switzerland have questioned the supposed planet’s existence using some of the same data as the original researchers. Using an expanded data set from the HARPS instrument on the La Silla telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, this group was unable to find evidence for the planet at all.

In a Space.com interview, one of the original researchers, Steven Vogt said that he was confident in his conclusions and found it odd that the Swiss researchers didn’t use data from the HIRES instrument on the Keck telescope at Hawaii's Keck Observatory which he said was needed in addition to the other data to reliably detect the new planet.

The new information was announced at an astronomy conference, as many new discoveries are, but it is the actual published scientific paper which needs to be scrutinized by other scientists before any conclusion can be come to.

My point is that the chickens were counted way before they hatched regarding Gliese 851g, and even if the planet is found to exist, it is still just a tug on a star, and any other information is speculation.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Astronomers' Excitement Misleads the Press and the Public




Europa
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced findings by several astronomers on Wednesday that they have found a planet on which the "chances for life on this planet are 100 percent,” as was stated by Steven Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz, one of the co-discoverers of the planet, in an AP article.

Based on the paltry information these astronomers have to work with, this statement is ludicrous. Even if they were to say there is a fifty percent or even a twenty percent chance, that would still be pie-in-the-sky daydreaming.

The only things they “know” about Gliese 581g are its mass, its distance from its sun Gliese 581, and its orbital period. Everything else they know is inferred from these few facts.

And the reason they know so little is that they didn’t find this planet through the end of an optical telescope and see it, or send a space probe to look at it. Nope. Instead they used a sketchy (to me) twenty year-old technique, which surmises a planet’s existence by measuring variations in the star's radial velocity. This is basically the star’s velocity as it appears to astronomers in spectrographs, which can be affected by the tugs of planets as they circle the central star. It’s sort of like staring at a tree on the side of the crowded New Jersey Turnpike and watching the leaves blow, and then guessing what kind of vehicle just went by. And who was driving it.

So for all these astronomers (and media pundits) know, Gliese 581g is a rock like Mercury or the Moon, bigger, but still just a rock.

But because this planet, which is supposedly three times larger than Earth, resides in what they call the Goldilocks zone (a place in a solar system a certain distance from a sun where a planet could support liquid water), a lot of energy is being given to the idea that it might have some form of life on it.

Let us recognize that Venus, an extremely inhospitable planet in our solar system, resides in this solar system's Goldilock's zone. It is its poisonous and thick atmosphere that make it uninhabitable, not to mention its 800 degree surface temperature.

The planet Mars also resides in the Goldilocks zone and may have had life on it, or may have never had life on it. It would most likely have liquid water on it now if it had a slightly denser atmosphere, and were therefore warmer. This may have been true in the past. The point is, it doesn’t now.

There is a moon of the planet Jupiter called Europa which may very well have life on it in liquid oceans under its cracked, but frozen surface. This extremely cold place is well outside the sun's Goldilock's zone.

The Washington Post article concerning this story also says that there are six or seven planets including Gliese 581g closer to this star than Earth is to our own Sun, including at least one Jupiter-type planet.

The close orbital proximity of all these large planets may wreak upon Gliese 581g unknown effects due to gravitational interactions between them. For instance, very large planets tend to attract or divert more asteroids and comets, possibly causing life-killing sized asteroids to smash into the surface of said planet at a more frequent rate than happens on Earth. It has been suggested that the dinosaurs and other animals on Earth may have been killed at one or more times by asteroids which smashed into the planet like 10,000 nuclear bombs causing a dust induced winter which killed off all but the heartiest species. This would make things very inhospitable for life if it happens once, but if too often, then life will never have a chance to get going before the next global killer comet or asteroid.

The very idea of a Goldilock's zone is something which is misleading and the press and the public are eating it up because it makes for great press. There are so many factors to consider beyond saying "Here is a rock that's in the right place, so it must have water and life on it."

Since there is no evidence that this is anything but a rock at a supposedly propicious distance from its sun, inferences beyond this are irresponsible, media grabbing, and wild speculation. Let's wait until we have real evidence in hand before making claims like these or even suggesting them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Election Day 2010 -- A New Dawn for Liberty


November 2, 2010 is going to be a grand and ebullient day! The political party in power is going to be given a political spanking that, while it may not be unprecedented, is certainly one of the most memorable and necessary of recent history. There have not been many high points politically since the Democrats monopolized federal power in 2008, but the first Tuesday in November will be a pinnacle. (Actually the citizen activism of the past year or two has also been a heartening high point.)

November’s peaceful shift of power will be one of the beautiful strengths and wonders of our representative democracy. It shows that when most of the people don't like the way things are going they vote to get rid of "the bums".

Unfortunately, in most years the people who already hold the office, the incumbents, win elections hands down, almost by default, due mainly to voter apathy, but also to political machinery. Things are different now. In 2006 and 2008, there was general discontent with Republicans and, incumbents included, they were voted  out of the House of Representatives and the Senate, giving Democrats control of the Legislative branch in 2006 and the Executive branch in 2008.

However, in 2010, a huge swath of voters feels that Democrats in the Congress and the Obama White House have overreached, overspent, overlegislated, crippled the economic recovery and changed the country in other damaging ways.

The people who will be voted into office in November in many cases are not professional politicians, they are people who are fed up with the status quo, who will actually do things differently because they have a mandate and will be voted into office with many, many like-minded individuals. They and the Tea Party will hold the political establishment’s feet to the proverbial fire.

That's the good that the Tea Party process has brought to the political landscape --highlighting the bad stuff that's going on and supporting those who want to reverse it.

Of course you don't like the Tea Party and how it resonates with most Americans if you are for spending trillions of dollars, if you're against enforcing our border laws, if you're for weakening our defenses, if you're for higher taxes, and if you’re for redistribution of wealth.

Liberals can rail against the Tea Party, and Independents, Conservatives, and Republicans all they want to, and they can lie and make claims about how great things are and all the wonderful things the Democrat congress and the President have done, but in the end, the truth is plain in the economy, in the housing market and job market, in the promises that were made and not realized. On November 2, checks and balances will be restored to the government. Not as much will get done, and that's a damn good thing because in general Congress isn't doing much that's good anyway. On November 2, two party government will be restored to the United States government.

And speaking as a New Jerseyan, what would make November 2 even better would be if New Jersey's two liberal/socialist senators were standing for re-election because a Lautenburg and Menendez defeat would be the icing on the electoral cake.

But don’t take election day victories for either side for granted – get to your polling place and vote!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ACLU vs. God

The American Civil Liberties Union (aka The Progressives for Litigation Union, or the Anti Christian Lawyers Union) on behalf of Sharon Brenner Cadalzo has brought a lawsuit against the town of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey to stop a Christian prayer from being said before every town council meeting.

Ms. Cadalzo, who is Jewish, said it made her uncomfortable to hear the Christian prayer. The prayer she was "subjected" to was The Lord's Prayer. My question for Ms. Cadalzo, Why would it make you uncomfortable to hear a prayer to your own God? The Lord's Prayer was spoken by Jesus and his disciples and followers and refers to the Judeo/Christian God – the same God and creator of the universe the Jewish people pray to. The words of this prayer are hardly foreign ideas to Jews and the prayer is in fact similar to some Jewish prayers and phraseology contained in the Jewish Bible. So in my mind it engenders some incredulity and some suspicions as to the motivation for her taking this action.

So by now you may think I'm heading in one direction about this topic. But you'd be wrong. While I absolutely disagree with the idea of taking celebratory symbols and decorations like Christmas trees and Menorahs off of public property, because cultural celebration is not proselytizing, in this case I have to agree with the ACLU and Ms. Cadalzo.

Though the Christian prayer wouldn't make me uncomfortable being Catholic myself, I do think in this day and age when there are so many other religions interacting in public life (and so many atheists, bless their souls) that perhaps it is unfair. The prayer certainly does seem to run afoul of the state and federal constitutions, though in the end, that is an interpretive matter for the Judges or Justices to decide.

I have to say that if I was at a town council meeting and the council president, or clerk kneeled and said a prayer towards Mecca, I would be uncomfortable. Additionally, there are lots of people in New Jersey from India. Maybe some of them would like prayers said to the Hindu gods Vishnu or Brahma. And where would the line be drawn.

In this one case regarding the ACLU, I have to agree. That's one can of worms that should not have been opened in the United States and in New Jersey. Public officials, performing public duties should not be reciting the prayers of any religion before or during public business. It is an activity leaning too close to the sanctioning of a particular religion. 

Two books you might enjoy...
The ACLU vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Redefine Moral Values.....

In Defense of American Liberties, Second Edition: A History of the ACLU

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lord Monckton Lecture Debunks Global Warming Theory

Watch this 2009 video complete with PowerPoint presentation slides, (a la Al Gore's fiction piece An Inconvenient Truth) in which Lord Christopher Monckton goes through the scientific evidence bit by bit, totally disassembling the shaky science and convenient lies of Global Warming theory. Though it can be a little tedious at times with all the numbers and data, Monckton is an engaging lecturer and the facts he presents are really the last nails in the coffin of human-caused Global Warming.

It's well worth the hour and a half viewing time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wikileaks - Saboteurs of the Public Good

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said the leak of the Afghanistan war documents creates a real potential threat to put American lives at risk.

This Julian Assange who runs the Wikileaks website and the people who supplied U.S. government documents that may hurt troops on the field and may also reduce operational effectiveness (ie. undermine the war against al Qaida, the Taliban, and terrorism) should be rounded up for being traitors if they live in this country and as enemy combatants if they live in another country. It’s hard enough to win a war without our own citizens undermining the efforts of the free countries of the world to win the fight against oppressive and evil regimes, and organizations.

Government secrets are secrets for a reason. While there may be damning information in any cache of documents, when citizens obtain state secrets and release them, they are practicing statecraft without a license. Sort of like if they decided to tell a surgeon what cuts to make on a patient in surgery, or backseat air traffic controlling. They are assuming that they know better than said government about the issue that the state is trying to keep secret.

In this case, it works out to be an anti-west, anti-US, anti-good, pro-bad guys theft and release of government secrets.

Again, it is my opinion that everyone involved in this "state secrets dump" in a substantial way should be tried as a traitor or an enemy combatant and taken to Guantanamo Bay. They are not a force for public good and may be putting American and NATO troops at risk. There are watchdogs and there are saboteurs. Wikileaks founder and his cohorts are saboteurs.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Russian Spies Seek to Undermine U.S.

Well, surprise, surprise. Considering how Russia has been acting, really since KGB man Vladimir Putin has had anything to do with the Russian government, we shouldn't drop our jaws in amazement at the breaking news which greets us this week concerning Russian spies being deeply ensconced in American society. Eleven undercover agents (I wouldn't be surprised if there are many more) have been arrested for their "alleged" spying activities for the Russian intelligence service (SVR). They were living among us, and paid by the Russian government to feed it information gathered surreptitiously about U.S. government activities.

In 2010. Not 1975. Ze cold var is zupposed to be over! Chya! I mean Nyet!

I hope that this will wake up someone in the U.S. government to the duplicitousness of Putin, Medvedev and the Russian government. They can't be trusted as far as they can be thrown. But it's a hopeless wish. (See my article below concerning Russia and Iran.)

What is our government's attitude toward this unfriendly activity? It is a cavalier, practically light-hearted response. This very week the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that this would not affect relations between the two countries. Really? Here is a foreign government acting even more maliciously and underhandedly than usual and it won't affect the relationship?

No. The Obama regime excels at turning a blind eye to things that harm American interests and sovereignty.

What exactly would it take for this administration to have a relationship affected? Instead of President Obama saying that this is a troubling development if true, it was said by Baghdad Bob Gibbs that the president had NO personal opinion on the matter.

Of course not, why should the president of the United States have an opinion on foreign nationals allegedly spying on the country?

Unfortunately (using golfing terminology that Obama will be quite comfortable with), that is par for the course with this president. He is willing to allow foreign nationals free entry to the U.S., free and unlimited use of our services, displace U.S. workers by taking jobs from them, and now he wants to pardon and amnesty them.

I suspect if he had an opinion about the Russian spies, it would be similar to his stand on illegal aliens. Let them come out of the shadows, pardon them, give them healthcare, make them citizens and give them a DNC membership card.

Don't worry. It's more like they were stealing pickles from the pickle jar, than stealing state secrets. Mhmm.

That's not the point at the same time that it is. We need to worry very much about the information they may have gotten past the FBI, but we also need to worry what else Russia is doing to undermine us.

The rest of us need to worry even if the Obama regime doesn't.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kiyosaki Says Financial Disaster Could Be Coming

Check out this thoughtful but decidedly unoptimistic article by Robert Kiyosaki at Yahoo Finance.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

With Friends Like Russia

Hey Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev! Does Russia want to be friends with the United States or make things difficult for the U.S. and the rest of the world?  Seems like you want to be difficult to me. Because your consistently cozy actions with Iran are not the actions of a friend. Especially now. (I mean come on, let's have a Super Soaker shootout and leave all the animosity in the past.)

What would you say about us if we were pals with separatists in Chechnya and supplied them with missile systems or nuclear technology?

Iran has stated that it wants to destroy Israel. And you want to continue to give them tools that will make it easier to do so? Iran also trains and supplies insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Insurgents that kill civilians and troops from many countries. Do you want to enable and buttress this kind of activity? Apparently you do. Normal relations with a terrorist state is tantamount to tacit approval of their policies.

Maybe supplying long-range surface-to-air S-300 missiles to Iran, a country that is openly hostile to the U.S. and the west in general is a bad idea. Maybe helping them with their nuclear program when everyone in the world is worried about their intentions is a bad idea. Doing that and some of the other things you do leave us normal, everyday citizens of this country with the impression that you would rather help our enemies than us. It leaves us with the impression that you are indeed on the side of our enemies. Why? What's up with that? Power politics? You can be a powerful nation without propping up terrorist regimes. Why do you want to help the whack-job President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Islamist Ayatollahs?

Sanctions are going to be ineffectual, of course, if you and China and Turkey and Brazil and Indonesia and others ignore the sanctions or are selective in implementing them. And the fact that you need an exception to the sanctions on Iran with a dangerous new weapons system is exactly the wrong kind of breach of sanctions the sane world would hope for. Weapons that could result in harm to Israel, U.S. and NATO soldiers, Iraqi and Afghan citizens.

How about you start acting more like a friend and less like an old enemy and maybe we'd feel less like we need to protect ourselves from you.

Happy 170th birthday to Peter IIyich Tchaikovsky.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Middle East on the Verge of Disaster in the Wake of Flotillas

Four Kassam rockets have landed in Israel setting off warning sirens days after Israel's Defense Forces boarded a ship which was attempting to break Israel's blockade intended to stop weapons from getting to the Gaza strip and the militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad. No one was injured in the recent rocket attacks, according to the Jerusalem Post.

But more rockets! This is exactly why Israel instituted a blockade, and why they should continue to enforce it. Because they don't want  Jew-hating Jihadists shooting rockets into their cities.

Prime Minister Netenyahu said that "the boat was no Love Boat", and even if it were a Love Boat it should and would have been stopped. Except that no one would have been hurt or killed on either side in that case.

Still the flotillas keep coming, testing Israel's resolve and today Iran is even offering to provide military escort to the flotillas, a move that could start a war between Iran and Israel.

Turkey's Prime Minister is doing a lot of huffing and puffing about Israel, and calling for UN investigations, when it is Turkey that should be investigated for its role in assisting the breaking of a legal naval blockade of another state.

President Obama and secretary of state Clinton should show some support (i.e., political backbone) of Israel instead of always throwing the besieged state under the bus. Middle East peace is on the precipice right now and one poorly placed foot is going to result in an ugly regional war.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ban Offshore Drilling = Ban Economic Recovery

Ending offshore drilling is not the solution to ending future oil spills. That's like using a gun to get rid of a cancerous mole. Sure, the mole is gone, but the health of the patient is decidedly worse.

The Gulf of Mexico is the source of 25 percent of the United States' domestic oil used and 15 percent of the natural gas. If we were to stop oil drilling and “focus” on clean energy we would be buying that 25% more ($4.00 + per gallon) oil from foreign sources who will be more than happy to drill offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where there is plenty of international water not controlled by the United States of America.

The U.S. and other countries have been getting oil from the Gulf of Mexico for decades, pretty much without incident. Obama said as much himself in his press conference Thursday. There are 720 oil rigs out there now, which have provided billions of gallons of oil over the years, all while NOT causing disastrous oil spills. But accidents DO happen in almost every endeavor of human life. We take chances to get the things we need. We take chances to do the things we need to do.

Of course, contingency plans need to be in place in case disastors like this happen. British Petroleum is culpable here, but the federal government is responsible too for ensuring that such plans exist and are ready to be acted upon, whether by the federal government or the oil company. There is plenty of blame to go around, and the Obama administration's underwhelming response to this disaster is as criminal an act as BP's lack of ability to stop it. They have let the situation get out of control and endanger the livelihoods of thousands of people, and the ecosystems along thousands of miles of shoreline.

What we DO need to do is not force oil companies to have to drill in mile deep water if it is easier to get in shallower water.

But because environmental extremists have the ear of liberal democrats throughout the country we can't expect clear thinking to prevail on oil drilling at least until Republicans retake one of the houses of Congress.

Until then, oil prices will rise, the amount of money we give to third world regimes will increase, and our economy will be hobbled by higher energy costs.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Read the Bill!!



Arizona Governor Jan Brewer released a biting campaign ad yesterday chiding top Obama officials for not reading the Arizona immigration law.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Iron Man 2 - Two Times the Fun

Iron Man, of Marvel comics fame, is a cool super hero. His weapons and abilities are cool. His mask is cool. Even his colors are cool. He's an almost perfect super hero. Except when he's drunk. Just check your smell-tester at the theater door of the latest Iron Man movie. Well, if you're going to a movie in this genre, you probably know that ahead of time.

Iron Man 2 is a fun, gripping 2 hours and 15 minutes. It's a super hero movie, so it follows a certain formula, but it is one of the better of the genre thanks to Robert Downey Jr., and a crazy Mickey Rourke who shines in this film as a Russian mad scientist villain. Throw in Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle and Iron Man 2 rocks. Iron Man 2's well-done special effects also lend excitement and reality to the movie. The fight scenes and the "comic book" technology are awesome.

Robert Downey Jr.'s acting reminds me a bit of Mel Gibson's acting -- intense and quirky. The character he portrays, Howard Stark, aka Iron Man, is sort of a hyper-eccentric, and humorous Bruce Wayne. I really enjoy Downey Jr.'s acting (see Sherlock Holmes) and he doesn't disappoint here.

I'd never cared too much for Mickey Rourke, but I liked the way he portrayed his character, Ivan Vanko, in this film, Whiplash -- a great villain, and well acted by Rourke.

Gwyneth Paltrow's role could have been played by any actress and she really didn't stand out as Pepper Potts, Iron Man's executive assistant, CEO, and "love interest?"

Sam Rockwell who played Howard Stark's business nemesis seemed to me to be miscast as well. The role needed someone with more screen presence. However, it didn't detract from the movie on the whole.

I would definitely see this again and will buy the Blu-Ray disc or DVD when it comes out. Go see it.

7.7 out of 10 stars.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where God Was in Haiti

God did not set in motion the massive earthquake in Haiti, though he did know it was going to happen, just as he knows where next year's earthquakes will happen, and next summer's hurricanes, and the wars of 2025.

Where God was in Haiti was in the people who came there bringing bread and water to hungry and thirsty children. God was in the people of every race that dug through the rubble to find injured men and women. God is in the people that are helping families, schools, and churches rebuild. God is in the hearts of those who gave money because they could not be in Haiti to help. God is in humanity, not the destruction.

God did not set in motion the earthquake in Haiti, but he did set in motion the response to it. God is no closer to us on Earth than when human compassion towards victims of tragedy shows itself as it did in Haiti.

Monday, March 22, 2010

America IS less free today than it was yesterday.

On March 22, 2010, Americans have less freedom than they did when this country was formed 234 years ago. Less freedom than even the day before. Some people relish this. Read the following Merriam-Webster.com definition of state socialism: an economic system with limited socialist characteristics that is effected by gradual state action and typically includes public ownership of major industries and remedial measures to benefit the working class

What could describe where this country is going better than that?

Government now controls and/or owns many banks and lending institutions, including all student loans. It controls automobile manufacturers, and the insurance giant AIG. And now it controls healthcare for the young, old, and everyone in between. Unfortunately it is renewing its grasp on education, from K through University as well.

While Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are socialist programs that are relied upon widely, the mother of all government giveaway programs has just been passed by the rogue U.S. Congress.

Now, thanks to 219 liberal Democrats, you can add to the liabilities of the Federal Government (the taxpayers are responsible for the liabilities of the federal government) another huge government program that is bound to go insolvent as all the other government programs are doing. We just cannot afford to give away our treasure time and time again for the shortsighted largesse of crooked politicians. What's next? A place to stay, that ought to be an unalienable right too.

This is another liability, another government program and one that the Federal government has no right to mandate and no constitutional authority to implement. But to give itself power to implement this healthcare reform, Congress intertwined enforcement of it with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That is a policing authority that already does have control over the citizens, and which amplifies the control and reach that the healthcare law can have over everyone.

Health insurance is not an unalienable right as Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats are suggesting. Forcing your neighbors to care for you is not an unalienable duty and is not what America is or has ever been about.

One can only hope that the lawsuits which are lining up against Obamacare will end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, where the bill will be held as unconstitutional.

I would like to thank the Republicans in the House of Representatives (and the 34 Democrats) who put up a valiant fight against this anti-American bill. You will be remembered in November at the voting booth. Thanks also to the Tea Party movement for their tireless fight against big spending, and big government.

The fight continues.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Headlights

 
I just don't understand it! Why do certain drivers insist on driving at dusk or at night without their headlights on? Are they trying to save gas or money? Are they trying to save the environment? Are they attempting to be stealthy for some wacky reason? Or are they just mentally out of it?

Whatever the reason, it is certainly misguided thinking. This is a safety issue. That's the bottom line here. Other people cannot see these vehicles, or can't see them until it's too late. My daughter is a new driver on the roads. I don't want her crashing into a car she didn't see. And she is not the only new driver, there are thousands of new drivers on the roads. Driving dark isn't just dangerous to my daughter or other new drivers. It's dangerous to everyone.

I saw a car drive by a police car in Colts Neck, New Jersey this week with its headlights off and there was very little light in the sky, if any. The cop just sat there and let him/her go by. Today it was raining cats and dogs and nearly pitch dark, and a white SUV , nearly invisible against a backdrop of white snow, rain and darkness went by going the other direction. The car in front of me flashed him, I flashed him, the guy behind me flashed him. He/she kept driving dark. "Oh, I have a white car, so I don't need to turn on my lights." It's exactly times like that that I wish I was a policeman, because I would slap a ticket on that Bozo or Bozette faster than they could say "But I'm saving energy!"

I don't get it, really I don't. This stupid practice endangers other drivers' lives. And a lot of people seem to do it because I see it nearly every day.

Let me just get this out there so dark driver dummies can think about it. The amount of gasoline you save by not using your headlights for 15 or 30 extra minutes is insignificant. In fact leaving your headlights on all day while you drive makes NO statistically noticeable difference in gas mileage in your car or truck. None. Look it up. Better yet I have done it for you!

Stop endangering people's lives! Why do you think the police are supposed to give tickets for driving without your lights on when it's dark? Because it endangers everyone else. Just because you can still see where you're going isn't the issue! Oh, and driving with parking/running lights on in the dark is just as dangerous because with everyone else using headlights, the weaker looking running lights get lost, and washed out by the brighter lights around them.

Please be a safer driver. Drive with your headlights on in the rain, or anytime the sky is darker, such as dusk, nighttime, and heavily overcast days.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lobbyists – Everybody's Political Punching Bags

There is more than one word that's used in politics and the media coverage of politics that's used just for pure demonization. Political buzz words, if you will. Politicians look at polls and see who the public doesn't like, then they patronize the public by expressing their antipathy toward that group. The news media does it too. Slip and Fall Lawyers, Used Car Dealers, CEOs, Bankers, Fund Managers, Lobbyists, and Special Interests are all persona non grata at the politician's public dinner parties. If I hear Barack Obama or another liberal Democrat say "lobbyist" or "special interest" again I think I will jump into one of the six foot snow drifts outside my window! 

Let’s narrow our focus for the moment on lobbyists. The definition of “lobbyist” according to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Tenth edition dictionary is: To promote or secure the passage of legislation by influencing public officials.

Like it or not, lobbyists are part of the political landscape in America. These people don't go to Washington DC, or your state capital to lobby in the interest of lobbyists or for their own personal interests, they go representing the interests of sometimes huge swaths of the population of the United States.

For instance AARP lobbies Washington and represents some 40 million older Americans. The National Rifle Association (NRA) represents 4 million gun owners, and Labor Unions lobby in Washington DC and the state capitals for their workers. AAA has lobbyists, as do manufacturers, mining consortiums,  restaurant associations, handicapped people, and even illegal aliens have lobbyists! The list is actually endless of government lobbyists in this country, and it is not just Banks, Wall Street, Pharmaceutical companies, Big Oil, and Health Insurance, as some politicians and reporters would have you believe. There is a lobbyist for almost every type of American trying to get something from the government or prevent something being done by the government.

Everyone is (or can be) represented, maybe not equally, but lobbying is democratic and there is nothing keeping one lobby from being as powerful as another.

So when President Obama rails against lobbyists, he disparagingly uses the term lobbyist as a scapegoat, or a euphemism for whole populations of people in this country whom he does not want to name by name because it would hurt him politically. Some lobbyists may deserve to be painted with the broad brush he and other politicians paint them with, but most are in their state capitals and Washington DC to represent the legitimate issues of the groups who sent them there.

There are always going to be people who go to Washington DC, or Lansing, or Trenton, or Tallahassee and try to get senators, representatives, governors and presidents to hear their side of the story. Demonizing constituencies and those working on their behalf is disingenuous, cheap, political pandering.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Galactic Black Holes: The Glue for All Galaxies



Galaxies are large collections of stars, comprised of millions and often billions of stars. Astronomers think there are billions of galaxies in the universe. What keeps the stars in a galaxy together? Gravity, or more specifically, gravitational orbits.

A black hole in its simplest form is a collapsed, dead star. Typically a huge star, many times the size of our sun and at the end of its life will explode as a supernova. If there is enough mass left after the explosion, the star’s remnant mass collapses quickly and catastrophically in on itself to something so extremely dense that not even light can escape its grasp. Black holes can and do grow in size all the time. They suck in and crush whatever matter, gas, stars, or other black holes that fall into their intense gravitational fields.

Astronomers have been reaching the conclusion in the past few years, based on their research, that our Milky Way galaxy and some other galaxies have at their centers black holes with masses equal to millions of suns. It is not only common for large black holes to be at the center of some galaxies, as astronomers are discovering, but in my opinion this is the only way that galaxies can exist in the universe. If the stars in a galaxy do indeed orbit or rotate around a center point, as the planets in our solar system rotate around their central sun, the galactic stars must rotate around a galactic center with enough mass, and hence gravity, to hold them in their orbits.

There is no one star or thousand stars massive enough to keep millions or billions of stars in orbit. One could argue that the million stars close to the galactic center of a galaxy could perform as a gravitational point of attraction for the rest of the galaxy, and they may indeed add to the center’s gravitational influence, but so many stars would themselves need a gravitational focus or they would have no orbits and would continuously fall into each other aggregating into black holes after reaching critical mass anyway.

Therefore it is my contention that every galaxy must have a huge black hole at its center acting as the central orbital focus for all the stars in the galaxy. Not just some galaxies -- each and every galaxy that exists. And the size of the galactic black hole (or holes) must be directly proportional to the size of the galaxy and the material in orbit about it.