Monday, December 31, 2007

I Guess the Clintons Don't Belive Any Press is Good Press

Right now the Clinton's are refusing to talk to the press, any press. But Chelsea blowing off a nine year old working for Scholastic News is a little much. I guess if you don't say anything on the record it can't be used against you. Might not win you too many votes thought. See Chelsea Clinton Guards Her Words

Alabama Wins Their Bowl Game

So Saban finishes the year with a win over Colorado. The offense played fairly decently and the defense held on at the end. Still, he will need to do better in the future if he aims to keep the rabid Crimson Tide hoards happy. I don't know who will play QB next year, but it won't be John-Parker Wilson, see Alabama 30, Colorado 24. My apologies for the annoying pop-ups if they arise.

Y2K Hysteria Remeberence

Wired looks at Y2K hysteria eight years ago Dec 31, 1999: Horror or Hype?. It is hard to believe all of the doom and gloom predicted. One of the local towns where I lived in Virginia was convinced by their "Y2K consultants" to establish an emergency command post stockpiled with supplies so that when civilization collapsed there was a place to turn too. They spent over $3 M dollars on that if I remember. Other people filled their bathtubs with water just in case that utility stopped working. All-in-all, it was another fine gift that Microsoft gave the world.

Any word on what happens in 3000?

Raiders Lose Last Game

There was hope that they would win the last game, and go 5-11, but they couldn't do it. They lost 30-17. They did hold LaDamian to only 56 yards in limited play; and he didn't score a rushing touchdown. As usual, they made some bad plays, with JaMarcus fumbling near the end zone. There is a lot of work to be done next year, but did double their wins to 4. They won't have the first pick this year.

See The Chronicle for more.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Arsenal 4, Everton 1

Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 in a rough game. They scored all 4 in the second half, 2 when they only had 10 men. With Man U's loss it puts them back in first place. They have a rough January coming up, but if they continue to play the way they did today they should be alright. Eduardo got his first two goals in the Premiership, and he will only have more to come.

For more coverage see Eduardo da Silva puts Arsenal back on top

Friday, December 28, 2007

When is politics secret?

This article at Slate purports to show a "sneak preview" of John McCain's secret anti-Romney add. I guess it is not so secret. So see A Sneak Preview...

Great Book Review

PJ O'Rourke attempted to read and write a review of Arthur Schlesinger's Memoirs, but had a hard time of it. The book turned out to be as vapid as Andy Warhol's. Turns out that Mr. Schlesinger was a name-dropper and that was about it. Anyway see the article here: Dear Diary, I Think I'm in Love The confessions of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. by P.J. O'Rourke

For more on Mr. Schlesinger see Wikipedia.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Arsenal Draws with Portsmouth

Arsenal played a lackluster game with Portsmouth on Boxing Day. They drew 0-0. This puts them in second place. They did keep their 50 year winning streak over Portsmouth, though. Plenty of games left to play, with the key one now Manchester United, who moved into first place.

Rumor has it that Lehman will be leaving for a Bundesleague team soon.

See The Daily Telegraph coverage here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Too much email detracts from work

This article at Wired confirms something that we all know, too much email detracts from people concentrating on their real work. See the article here for all the gory details. The key sentences are "Workers get disoriented every time they stop what they are doing to reply to an e-mail or answer a follow-up phone call because they didn't reply within minutes. Spira said workers can spend 10 to 20 times the length of the original interruption trying to get back on track."

How to become an Oenophile (Or at least look like one)

BNET has a really good, quick guide on how to become a wine snob. Actually it is chock full of good information, so if you want to quickly learn how to impress people with your knowledge of wine, read and learn from this article.

Tiger Escapes at Zoo and Kills One

This crazy story describes how a 300 lb Siberian Tiger was able to get out of its cage at the San Francisco Zoo. It killed at least one person and attacked two others before it was shot. Zoo officials have no idea how it got out, since the one door into the enclosure was locked. I guess if you want to do something badly enough, you will. This tiger had also previously attacked one of the zoo employees.

See Tiger Escapes S.F. Zoo Cage and Kills 1

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

CNET: The Year of Technology and Politics

CNET summarizes what passed this last year on Capitol Hill with technology. Basically, nothing much, as the new Democratic Congress concentrated on other things. See the summary here.

Richard Cohen on DC

I live around DC for 13 years. That was through the Sharon Pratt Kelly, Marion Barry's "Redemption Administration", a time when the Federal Government was running the city, and Anthony William's two administrations. I have lived in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia and now Alabama. All of have there varying level so corruption and incompetence. With most states it is with the elected officials, but in DC it is often with the civil servants. Part of this is that Marion Barry, when he ran the city, used the government as a jobs program and tried to hire as many DC residents as he could. A lot of them, due to the schools and the culture, were not qualified. One thing DC can do is unite people across all spectrums of political thought, so see Richard Cohen's Merry Christmas column here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Righty Blog on CINRAM

The Brainwavers Blog, self-described as "The Heartbeat of Conservative America", also is upset about CINRAM and the H2B workers. Pretty good uniting Daily Kos and the conservative blogs. The article is here. The key quote is: "I want you to think about the individual, living, breathing people who have the opportunity to help local families, yet choose to go overseas to hire workers. I’ll bet these people would pimp out their own grandmothers to make a dime."

Huckabee Conspiracy

Although I like a good conspiracy theory as much as anyone, the idea that the media are in the tank for Huckabee as they want him to win the Republican nomination so that Hillary can win is a little much. See Instapundit December 23rd - Newbusters Wonders...

I will give Professor Reynolds the benefit-of-the-doubt and assume he is a little tongue in cheek.

Stories like this, though, do give you pause Charming and Aloof, Huckabee Changed State. The whole article, in some ways, could be written about Bill Clinton 25 years ago.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Site - Defense Procurement News

My brother and I have started a new site, Defense Procurement News. Here we will talk about the defense acquisition industry, as well as the US government's activities.

Raiders at Jacksonville

Update (1615 CST): Well the Raiders played terribly, you can blame it on the traveling and the time of the start, but still it stunk. They lost 49-11. JaMarcus did play a lot of the game, and had a rookie one at that. Let's hope for next week, and then next year.

The Raiders travel to Florida to play the new, AFC it team Jacksonville. Now it doesn't look like JaMarcus will start, but he will get to play some. We can only hope for a 6-10 season. Even if they can end the year beating San Diego that would be good as it means the split the division games. Supposedly, though, the players are a lot happier which is a vast improvement over the last few years. See the San Francisco Chronicle article here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Arsenal Keep on Winning

Arsenal beat Tottanham, again, today 2-1. It was a struggle though as Tottanham has improved of late. Yet another young player stepped up for Arsenal, with Nicklas Bendtner coming off the bench to score a goal. Even worse for Tottanham is that they play Arsenal in the round of 4 of the Carling Cup. See The Daily Telegraph here: Manuel Almunia save keeps Arsenal at top

Missing the Point About John Edwards

This lefty blog is criticizing Tucker Carleson on MSNBC for criticizing John Edwards having a big house.
Tucker: John Edwards Can’t Be President, His House Is Too Big


John Edwards can have as big a house as he likes, that is not the issue. The problem is that as he campaigns for President he goes around lecturing people on how they should save energy and be more conservation oriented. That is not a problem either, but people don't like hypocrisy. If you are going to live in a house that is close to 20,000 square feet on 50 acres for four people, I don't think you can tell other people how to live.

Slartibartfast Screwed Up Again

Someone was looking in the newest Google Earth at Greenland for examples of Global Warming. What they noticed as an almost 100 kilometer orange rectangle in the middle of the island. Some people state that it is the roof of Santa's workshop. I just think it is where Slartibartfast and the Magratheans screwed up.

See Blue Crab Boulevard - Darn It

Also, see Wikipedia - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (book)

If you think about it, Wikipedia is sort of like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

More Pork from a Congressional Leader

Steny Hoyer is the Democratic Majority Leader in the House. This means he is one step under the Speaker, Ms. Pelosi. He is well known for pouring pork into his district. I remember as a Naval Reservist sitting in the Steny Hoyer Auditorium at our drill site. This story from The Washington Post is a classic use of pork. Here Hoyer funnels money to a company led by a big donor that still hasn't accounted for $500 K in previous Federal funds.

Usually if the Feds send money for some kind of service they get a report at the end detailing what was accomplished with the money. It sounds here that they haven't turned in anything justifying the dollars.

This is not just a Democrat issue, the Republicans were just as bad when they were in charge.

See Despite Questions, Hoyer Wins Funds for Group Run by Donor

Friday, December 21, 2007

Radical Change in US Government Spending Practice

In the past the Executive Branch would implement to their best of their ability the specific funding actions in the various appropriation bills passed by Congress. One of my jobs when I worked for the Air Force acquisition office was to track all of the specific program additions, commonly called earmarks. Due to the way the laws were written these were primarily specified in the Report, usually the House bill, not in the actual text of the law. If you look at the appropriation bill status on Thomas.loc.gov you will see this. The reports are called HR.

President Bush, to protest the addition of large number of unrequested earmarks in the omnibus appropriations bill just passed by Congress says that the Executive Branch will not implement those only contained in the Report, as they are not legally binding. If he does this it will be huge. He has found a way to prevent the money being spent.

I know that we would search for a way to legally execute the money, and sometimes could not. Anyway a good discussion is here at Captain Quarters: Will Bush Cancel Congress' Christmas? (Bumped)

A New Civil War, Or Indian War, in the US

BUMP - More Information

Update

The Argus Leader has more information in this article. It doesn't sound as radical as the AFP/Fox News original article did. So, see Lakota group pushes for new nation


Several members of the Lakota Band of the Souix Nation announced that they will be seceding from the US. They are using a UN treaty on indigenous people as their authority. I don't know how easy this is, or what benefits they will gain, or what kind of reaction the Federal Government will had. This is not really secession as they are just abrogating treaties they signed with the US Government that had established their status in the United States. I think in many ways they were treated as a separate nation already. Anyway, see Agent France Press - Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US

If the DC Public Schools were a Company They Would be ENRON (and out of business)

This is classic. A retired principal from DC Public Schools establishes a non-profit to train teachers. She makes a pitch to the School Department to begin the funding process. They give her a $1,000,000.00 check with no contract or any other paper work. She, being used to the dysfunctional school system, uses the money to train teachers. Ultimately she has received $5.5 M with no real contract or anything. Nobody at the school administration, especially those who signed to authorize the check, will admit to anything. How can you run an organization like this? How can they effectively budget if they throw millions of dollars around with no documentation?

I work in Federal government contracting. Our contract is bigger than that, but we still had to bid, go through the award process, we have quarterly reviews with the government, submit billing invoices and so on. Each year we have to meet with the Government to plan for the next. DC is just crazy.

Anyway, see A $2.9 Million Payout, With a Few Shortcuts

Ca Martinin Pinot Grigio

My wife and I really like this wine. We had it in a restaurant, and it seems to be the perfect pinot grigio. Unfortunately due to the arcane alcohol laws in Alabama I have to special order it. The last time I got the 2005. There is also a pinot gris of it, which too is really good. I will need to find out if they make a pinot noir.

We went to Sonoma this summer, and our favorite wine from there we cannot get period. It cannot be found in Northern Alabama, and you cannot ship wine here from out-of-state. I thought Virginia had been bad.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Isaac Newton Meet Terra

According to this report by Sandia National Laboratory, the Tunguska Explosion was caused by a small meteorite. The report suggests that in the future we need to pay attention to this kind of possible strike, instead of concentrating on the big ones. I guess M=V2 applies, but the meteorite would have to be of a very dense matter to survive entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Maybe if it was a chunk of Larry Niven's Neutron Star. See this report Sandia supercomputers offer new explanation of Tunguska disaster

One Down, I Think 15 or So More to Go (Not Counting Alan Keyes)

The first presidential candidate who was really trying to run, not the former governor of Virginia Jim Gillmore, dropped out. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, the Immigration Candidate, quit today. He endorsed Romney. I think that leaves 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats left, but there might be more. It is hard to keep track. Anyway, good round-up at Michelle Malkin's site. Tom Tancredo’s exit; Update: Endorses Romney

JaMarcus May Start

It looks like Coach Kiffin is leaning towards playing JaMarcus a lot more this week against Jacksonville. He may even start. We will see. It has to be done sooner or later, but the hold out has screwed up his preparation. Oh well, there is always next year.

Russell could make his 1st start Sunday

The Spears' Guide to Parenting

This is one of those stories that is just too funny to be true. Brittany Spear's Mom was writing a book about parenting for a Christian publisher. With this week's news about her younger daughter it has been put on hold. LOL!!

Lynne Spears' Book Delayed Indefinitely

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It Is Easy To Make Fun of the Air Force

ROFASIX has a classic photo of a non-military type military photo. Having been in the Navy and worked with the Army and Air Force, it is easy to pick on the Air Force. Things like the linked photo don't help matters.

I see Air Force Sleepy, Dopey & Grumpy too!

Presents

 



Santa needs a forklift at our house.
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MIke Huckabee and the Conservative Blogosphere

It is safe to say that Mike Huckabee's surging campaign in Iowa has not set the right side of the Blogosphere on fire. He has come under criticism for his rather uneducated statements on foreign policy, his ethics, and his social nannyism. I am not judging him, but I probably wouldn't vote for him. Here are a few links that summarize in many ways the recent commentary on the "Huck" as some call him.

Powerline - More Mush from the Huck

Riehl World View: Who Is This Moron?

Captain's Quarters - A Huckabee Ho Ho Ho

CINRAM History in Huntsville

Here is an article from 2000 in Workforce magazine about how CINRAM expanded their plant in Huntsville and quickly expanded their workforce. At that time the plant was moved from just distribution to manufacturing as well. One of the major issues they faced then was the low unemployment rate in Madison County. That is one of the problems they still face, and probably part of the reason they went the H2B route. So here is the article, courtesy of BNET Research Center, How Cinram Hired a Heap of Help—in a Hurry.; Millenium Search Inc. - Cinram Inc. Huntsville, Alabama

Also here is Wikipedia on Madison County, AL: Madison County, Alabama

General Kearney

This has long been a sore spot among some in the military. LTG Kearney was accused when he led the forces in Afghanistan of unfairly treating some of his troops over combat incidents. The most notable was when he asked for the removal of the first Marine Special Forces unit, which had just been deployed. Now Congress will investigate his use of his authority. He interfered in various investigations, at one point directing charges at two US Army soldiers who had already been exonerated. It didn't help that he had them charged with murder. The core issue is that sometimes in war people get killed that probably didn't deserve it. I recommend you read Paul Fussels' "The Boys Crusade". See this article in The Washington Times, General accused of overreach on killings

Arsenal in the Carling Cup

Arsenal advanced yesterday in the Carling Cup. They had a 3-2 win over the Blackburn Rovers, that saw the young Arsenal players scoring in extra time to win. Blakburn, to its credit had come back from down 2-0 to tie. Next up Tottanham at the weekend in the Premiership. See Young Gunners come of age at Blackburn

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Silly Story about Iraq

I know that as the situation in Iraq grew better this last six months there have been some pretty silly stories. The ones about the grave diggers losing business, and the taxi drivers not being able to drive people from the hospitals were pretty bad. This is a silly one as well: Gays Living in Shadows of New Iraq. Somehow The New York Times is trying to say that it was easier being gay under Saddam then it is now. Perhaps Iraq is becoming more like other Muslim countries in this way? I don't know, but I think there are bigger issues in Iraq and the world.

Bad Bosses of the Year

Fortune Magazine has a little slideshow about the worst bosses of 2007. Luckily I don't have bosses like these. But it is kind of funny, so see 101 DUMBEST MOMENTS IN BUSINESS Bosses behaving badly

Monday, December 17, 2007

More on Earmarks and Pork

Not to pick on Senator Clinton anymore then necessary, but here is a classic example of a "pork" earmark. A non-profit conveniently headed by a former aide, who just happens to donate a lot to her campaign, gets a no-bid earmark contract. The bill hasn't passed yet, but the earmark is in it. Think about 100 Senators and 435 House Members doing the same thing and it adds up pretty quick. See Hillary donor gets $2.6 million earmark in Omnibus bill, delivery in 30 days

Bob Kerrey and Barack Obama

Former Senator Bob Kerrey is sputtering and sliming for Hillary Clinton, I think. First he made a reference to Obama's middle name, as if that would be a bad thing? Now he says he attended a "secular madrassa". That is like calling the Catholic High School I went to "secular Parochial."Anyway, a good link about this is here Bob Kerrey: Barack Obama ‘Spent A Little Bit Of Time In A Secular Madrassa’ Of course, Kerrey blamed right-wing blogs or something for this.

Newhouse News on H2B and CINRAM

I didn't realize that Newhouse News owned The Huntsville Times. They wrote a column that would have been pushed to newspapers all over the world, if they wanted to run it. I didn't see it anywhere. It seems to be a balanced article on the issue. So here it is, if you would like a little more depth, Critics Of Foreign Hiring Say 'Decent Pay' Would Attract Locals

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Global Warming and The Sheep Look Up

This is a classic science fiction novel of the early Seventies by John Brunner. The whole thrust of the book is that the world is collapsing in ecological disaster. At the end of the book the author suggest a radical solution to the problem - the elimination of the American people. This is because they are wasteful and their demands are destroying the planet. The Wikipedia link is here The Sheep Look UpMark Steyn latest column is about Global Warming, and the desire now expressed by some to save the world by eliminating humans. This is at Mark Steyn: Children? Not if you love the planet. I have asked this a few times of Global Warming experts, and never really got an answer. The obvious solution to reducing Green House Gases is to reduce the primary cause - human beings. Unfortunately, who gets to decide who lives?

Raiders

The Raiders lost again, 21-14. At least it was to a good team, the Colts. Still, I guess 6-10 is the goal now. The Chargers look good finallyThe quick game summary is here, but we will write more tomorrow. Colts Beat Raiders, Clinch 1st-Round Bye

Arsenal

Arsenal won 1-0 over Chelsea. That is great, as they maintain first place. It had been a rough week with a loss, then the win in the Champions League. Things have been righted.

Keith Olbermann

For some reason, Bill Moyers had Keith Olbermann on to talk about "journalism". Great, two guys who wouldn't know how to do a story without accusing someone to the right of them of being evil. See Keith Olbermann: What I Do ‘Is Really Journalism' Somehow Olbermann is convinced what he is doing is what people want. And granted, a small number of people do watch his show. At least now that Dan Patrick is off ESPN you don't need to hear Olbermann trying to talk about sports anymore.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Key is What Did Bill Clinton Spend the Money On?

According to this article in The Washington Post the Clinton Presidential Library has raised millions from foreign countries and donors. See Clinton Library Got Funds From Abroad. The key is not that he got money from those sources but how he used it. If Bill and Hillary were taking these non-profit donations and funding their lifestyle out of it, then that is probably bad. For Hillary, it might even be a violation of campaign finance rules. There is no way of knowing without figuring out what they spent it on. The Post got the info mainly by just asking people, the Library won't release its donor list. More to come I am sure, as Barack Obama has already raised this issue. To be fair, the George H. Bush Library also took money from overseas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Shredding Conspiricy

This blog claims that there is some big conspiracy because the Federal government has increased their spending on shredding services from $500K in 2000 to about $3.0M in 2006. He doesn't say if that is in Fiscal or Calendar Years. They believe this is an example of the forthcoming Fascist state in Amerika. A more simple explanation is that since we went to war in 2001 the security requirements have increased dramatically. People are probably shredding stuff today that they would have just recycled in the past. Plus, there have been several laws passed that increase the responsibility of Government to protect the identity of people, which leads to more shredding. Plus, costs of the service have probably increased too. There may be a big conspiracy to hide things from the American people, but it can also be explained pretty easily.

So see Bush Secret Shredding Soars

Nostalgia

I am a big nostalgia freak. Maybe it makes me old fashioned, but the greatest site in modern America for this kind of stuff is Mr. James Lileks'; Lileks.com. Mr. Lileks is an old time newspaper guy. He has also written several books about food choices in America's past. But his site is chock full of good stuff. One of my favorites is his collection of WW II patriotic posters and advertising, Patriotica. Imagine this kind of stuff today? The liberal media would go nuts. Anyway, poke around at Lileks.com, for it is wonderful.

Silly Blog Post about Builders

This is the "realty industry" blog on CNBC. There is no description of Ms. Olick's background, but she is probably a realtor. Anyway, she says part of the downturn can be traced to basically the builder's greed, but the backlash they are getting is not really deserved. I haven't seen or heard of any of the behavior that some builders are complaining about, so I can't verify it. I know that during the boom in Northern Virginia, which is when I bought, the builders could be pains-in-the-ass. There was one fancy development near me that would put a section on sale only after the other had completely sold out. This meant that people would line up as if they were trying to get a Wii or tickets for Hannah Montana. Then they would charge outrageous lot deposits. They are now surprised that people are trying to take advantage of the situation? Anyway, see Builders Feeling Wrath Of Buyers: Do They Deserve It?

MS Politician Makes a Fool of Himself

Here is an open letter from a Mr. Mike Moore. I guess he was once Attorney General of the great state of Mississippi. Reading the letter it sounds like some people wanted him to run for Senate there. Reading the letter makes it clear it would be a good idea if he didn't. He comes across as a clown trying to sound folksy. Hanging your hat on the tobacco settlement as your greatest achievement also does not recommend you very much. Anyway , here is the letter Open letter to Mississippians from Mike Moore

and some info on the tobacco settlement:

Special Reports - State Tobacco Settlement

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Clinton Moves Quickly for Damage Control

Imagine that, the Hillary supporter in NH who called Barack Obama a drug dealer quit this evening. That took a little longer then people thought. Once he said he did it on his own, the writing was on the wall. I guess Hillary was keeping her word when she said she wouldn't campaign this way. Anyway, story is here on the Time magazine blog: Bill Shaheen Resigns from Clinton Campaign

It is not easy to end a new tax

Virginia in 2003 added a $1.00 fee to DMV transactions to raise money to pay for the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown. $6 Million was raised, or which $4 Million was spent on the celebrations. That was last year. Now some legislators, mainly Republicans, want to end the fee since there are no more Jamestown activities left. The Governor, Mr. Kaine, who is a Democrat, wants to keep it to pay for other government activities. This is a classic example of how hard it is to get rid of a revenue device once its' "temporary" requirement is over. See The Washington Post Kaine Angling to Keep DMV Fee

Another good example is Massachusetts had an "emergency" surcharge on their income taxes. I think it is still being collected, although the emergency was several years ago.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CINRAM and H2B

The story has died down, but I expect The Huntsville Times to follow-up at some point on the workers. Especially if someone like the SEIU gets involved. The tax resolution passed without mentioning CINRAM by name, but it still is an issue. Luckily for CINRAM elections aren't for a while around here. I seem to be getting hits from all over the world on this story.

The lefty blogs in Alabama picked up the story as well and wrote about it. Here are a few links:

Cinram/Huntsville Importing Workers While Taking Tax Breaks Left In Alabama seems like a Daily Kos kind of site.

Mo Brooks goes after Cinram This seems like a more traditional blog.

We will keep watching and reporting, but I recommend that if you are looking at CINRAM for a H2B job be very careful and research it as much as possible.

Arsenal Wins in Champions League Play

Arsenal beat Steaua Bucharest 2-1 today. Unfortunately, Sevilla won as well so that they win the group. This means that Arsenal will play a group winner in the next round. The good news, sort of, apart from the win is that Lehman played. Hopefully that means they will be well prepared for Chelsea on Saturday.

Arsenal left with second best

Clinton Goes Very Negative

I am not an expert on campaigning or politics, but this just doesn't bode well for Hillary Clinton. It is 10 months and 22 days to the General Election and I don't think she wants to go so negative so fast.

See Clinton N.H. Official Warns Obama Will Be Attacked on Drug Use

I guess the very unsubtle slight of hand here is that Hillary isn't raising the drug issue, just pointing out that the Republican opponent will raise the drug issue. This kind of doesn't work if you think about President Clinton's past history.

Bizarre Bill Clinton Campaigning

This story is just bizarre. It sounds like something out of Monty Python. "The Silly Party candidate appeared dressed as a robot...". Anyway, Bill Clinton was heckled by a man dressed as a robot at a campaign stop for his wife on Monday. Turns out he is a member of a group trying to get Bill to apologize to Sistah Souljah. Here is the story from Iowa Robot Heckles Campaigning Bill Clinton In Iowa

Jules Crittnden rounds up heckling here Robot vs. Bill

Monty Python here: The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-Ton Megaset (1982)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Speaking of Rumors

According to the AP, Coach Petrino of Atlanta is quitting to become the coach at Arkansas. He didn't last a season. Of course, losing your best player to jail, and then trading your backup in the off-season didn't help. The best part of this is that it is unconfirmed, as their source was a "...person was speaking on condition of anonymity because the school had not made an official announcement." I guess the Falcons haven't either.

If there is a pet peeve I have with modern print journalism, it is the use of "anonymous sources".

Anyway, see Bobby Petrino resigns as Atlanta Falcons coach after 13 games, heads to Arkansas


Updated, 12/12/07, Over night this came true, so anonymous source pans out.

Mike Huckabee is Star Jones

There is a rumor afloat that Mike Hucakbee, former Arkansas governor and Republican Presidential candidate, may have had gastric bypass surgery. This would be a major blow to his integrity as he claims he lost the weight by exercising and diet.

Mike Huckabee became one of those annoying people who lectured you about being more healthy along the lines of "If I can do it, so can you...". The thing that made it worse was as Governor of the fair state of Arkansas he could attempt to use the power of the state to badger you about this.

If he did do surgery instead of using diet and exercise, which he has explicitly denied, then shame on him and the many people supporting him in the polls. Anyway, see a more cogent article here Did Huckabee Just Get Nuked?
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The Embarrassment That Is the Alabama Two Year College System

For the last two or so years endless stories of corruption, nepotism and toadyism have been coming out about the Alabama two year College system. The latest is that a state senator received $4K a month in salary from a non-profit foundation associated with one of the schools. All of the funding of this non-profit came from a state grant secured by said state senator. The head of the non-profit said it was because "He was the reason we actually got the grant,". The senator says it wasn't. He was paid to lobby the state for the program. Amazingly, there was no signed contract? The article is hosted by The Birmingham News who have done excellent work in probing the system. Here is the link: December 09, 2007: Senator paid by nonprofit he helped

Raiders' Excuses

This is a nice article that "explains" all the Raiders' mistakes on Sunday. It is nice that the San Francisco Chronicle would give them a forum to talk about these things. So, if you want to read how they made about three little mistakes and got a bad call here it is: Raiders' Russell will play Sunday, but not start

The good news is that JaMarcus will play against the Colts.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Buzzwords for Hillary

Hillary's husband, the former President Bill Clinton, is now describing her as a "change agent", or an "agent of change." How buzzwordy is that? Somehow I don't think she represents much of a change from America's politics as usual. But if you are interested here is the article in The New York Times Bill Clinton Calls Hillary a ‘Change Agent’

and here is Wikipedia on Change Agents Change agent

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Raiders Return to Old Ways

On top of Arsenal losing, the Raiders got hammered in Green Bay. If you were willing to spin it you could say they were unlucky. They had long passes called back on penalties, gave up a punt return where people claim the guy ran out of bounds, and gave up yet another fumble inside their ten. It is old hat. Doesn't matter who is the coach, or quarterback, on their fourth today as JaMarcus sits, and so on. At least KC lost, so the AFC West is just pathetic.

Anyway, the story is here if you can stomache it Packers clinch NFC North title with 38-7 victory over Raiders

We won't talk about the scum Patriots.

Arsenal Finally Loses

Arsenal finally lost in the Premiership. Losing away at Middlesbrough 2-1. It had to happen sometime, but it is a shame that it did before the halfway point. The roundup is here Round-up: Middlesbrough win stuns Arsenal

Arsenal now has a 1 point lead with 4 games left this month. Hopefully they can get back to where they were.

Bad Writing Indeed

I am not a professional writer, but I have two history degrees and have done a lot of writing. Many times there is an example of bad prose in a newspaper. This example from The Huntsville Times local columnist, Lee Roop, is a good one. The column is about the Lincoln Mill redevelopment, which is a good idea. See Development in Huntsville, and he is making a good point about extending the downtown area which ideally will be the destination for Huntsville's young professionals. But this is just bad writing: "Young women whose skirts dance in the breeze and men alive with the anticipation of the weekend step on and off for dinner, drinks or shopping, or stay aboard to the downtown entertainment district and the Von Braun Center."

For the full column see Lincoln Mill news - it's good for us all

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Understanding the Use of Quotation Marks

This gentleman misread a quote from a book by Mark Steyn, not noticing the quotation remarks around the statement in question. He then went ahead and insulted Mr. Steyn and misrepresented what he wrote. One would think you would notice a little thing like quotation marks. Anyway here are the relevant blog posts:

"The Original Post", now slightly corrected:

Sympathy for the Devil and Mr. Steyn's:

Racist is as racist quotes [Mark Steyn]

Modern Journalism

This statement from a Washington Post reported who wrote an article about the "rumor" being spread by Barack Obama's opponents (i.e. Hillary) that he is really Muslim, and that is bad; sums up modern journalism: "Hamilton said, "Reasonable people can disagree on this. But the people I have heard from are not reasonable. What I find especially disheartening is the idea that our motives are simply assumed to have been malicious." The article by the poor, Ombudsman of the Post, Deborah Howell is here: Refuting, or Feeding, the Rumor Mill?.

The fact that poor Mr. Hamilton doesn't understand that there is no possible way his motives were going to go unquestioned in this day and age shocks me. What do they teach at journalism school? Nobody thinks the media acts out of an altruistic attempt to just tell the truth anymore.

If you new the history of the First Amendment it would make even more sense.

Development in Huntsville

Before Huntsville became an Army and NASA dependent city, it was a mill town. These mills moved down from New England and set up here after the war with cheaper labor. They all closed eventually in the 70-80's. The areas around where the mills were are not the best parts of town, as like in many places the new housing was built up on the edges of the city. As you come over the mountain from the east you drive by one of these buildings dominating NE Huntsville. It is being used for a variety of small efforts. Now, according to this article Mill to get new life as condos it will be turned into reasonably priced condos. This should, if done right, begin to revitalize that whole area. Anyway, here is a Google map of it as well:


View Larger Map

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tom's Painting


I bought a painting from my friend Tom for my father's birthday. Here it is:

Stating the Obvious

According to this article in The Washington Post, there are some people unhappy with the sub-prime mortgage bailout bill. You think? It is a topic at work as most of us tended to be reasonable about how we paid for our homes. Personally, while I understand why it is being done; I still feel silly that I didn't get that ARM and buy the twice as expensive house.

So, here is the article Those Who Avoided Risk Call Plan A Raw Deal" and an example of conservative blog reaction Hillary/Bushcare for Housing: “Comprehensive work out plan;”

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Arsenal & Newcastle

Arsenal played Newcastle on Tuesday night. They drew 1-1. Arsenal credited the fans as being so loud it disrupted their game. Anyway, Arsenal are still undefeated and have a 4 point lead over Man U. Although, they now do not have a game in hand. They have five more games this month, including Chelsea and Portsmouth so they will continue to try and hold on undefeated.

See the article Wenger: Newcastle fans' point against Arsenal

Because You Asked For It

Classic Example of How Not to Do Health Reform

The article from The Boston Globe is about how many people have signed up for the new, Massachusetts sponsored health plans. It seems a lot of people have signed up for it. Unfortunately, the example "family" they use is exactly the type of people that should be subsidized by the taxpayers of the fair Commonwealth. The key sentence is: "Andre Bastien Jr. is among those the insurance initiative has helped. The Milton man was without coverage for four months earlier this year after leaving a job to set up a mortgage company with his wife."

He may have had coverage through his job, but he quit it to go into business for himself. He either could not or would not buy insurance for this company. Now he gets it through the state. Anyway, see Nearly 300,000 in Mass. seek coverage under healthcare law

Alternative Energy Blues

Here is a classic story of an attempt to build an alternative energy facility, in this case a wind farm. The State, somehow out of the goodness of their heart, waved all of the environmental and regulatory review of the program. Now adjacent landowners and an environmental group are suing. Imagine that?

Anyway it does point out one of the problems of wind farms. For 600 turbines, 60,000 acres are required, or 10 acres per turbine. There are not a lot of places left in America with decent, constant wind and that much empty land.

Here is the article Coalition sues Land Office over wind farms.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fake Blog From Work

We were discussing today how we could write a fake blog from work. I know that The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs is the standard, and it is been done. But we were thinking about it. A sample entry from "The Army Acquisition Program Manager Blog" would be something like this:

0630, Showed up at work after running 5 miles. Began to read the few emails I hadn't already dealt with on my Blackberry at 0000 last night. First was from ATEC complaining about lack of testing on our aircraft. They are in EST, so have an hour adavantage. Called up the TSM at Rucker, but they weren't there. Left a long, profane voice mail about how the requirements were too vague, and this allowed an in for the testers.

What do you think, DMC??

CINRAM and H2B Workers

The story here has died down. The County Council submitted a resolution to the state asking for laws passed governing companies importing H2B workers, but did not mention CINRAM specifically. I am also getting a lot of hits on the story about CINRAM's workers' travails in America from all over the world. Actually, for some searches on Google I am in the top 5 hits. There is a lot of interest in the program, and if I was a foreign national looking for such work I would research it carefully.

Last story in The Huntsville Times was Tax resolution omits Cinram

Global Warming Comedy?

At a time when several states want to sue the Federal Government for failure to regulate aircraft emissions using the same excuse they used on the CO2 content of car exhausts, we also get this report: More than 10,000 jet into Bali for global warming conference. Somehow 20 completely optional, extra 747 flights won't add to Global Warming.

Somehow there seems to be a contradiction. You can also see this article: U.S. EPA Urged to Regulate Airline Emissions to Combat Warming

Patriots Junk

It is articles like this, dashed off probably in 5 minutes and consisting of cliches, that make people hate the Patriots even more. It is also a classic example of bad sportswriting. The key, horrible sentence is: "Pressure? They don't feel no stinkin' pressure. What could be tougher than practicing four times a week in front of Belichick?"

Anyway, to make yourself even unhappier about the stupid Patriots read Don Banks hack column here: Perfectly poised

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blog of Note Story

One of things I had written about recently, It Is Things Like This That Give Alabama A Bad Name, has now been picked up by bigger, more important blogs. Jules Crittenden, who writes a respectable, conservative blog from the Boston Herald has written about our stupid democrats. So see his, probably more inciteful post, here: Looking Glass

Fake News?

You read these kind of stories and wonder are they real or fake? There is so many stories that sound like they are from The Onion, and this is one of them. Anyway, it may be possible that the National Health will do these kind of things, but who really knows. So see this from the The Daily Express: NURSES TOLD TO TURN MUSLIMS’ BEDS TO MECCA

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Lights



I finished hanging the Christmas Lights tonight. Here they are:

Mortage Subprime Mess

According to this wonderful article, Subprime Debacle Traps
Even Very Credit-Worthy
in The Wall Street Journal at least half of the people given subprime ARMs would have qualified for regular loans due to their high credit scores.

That is probably true, but to buy houses in the high markets like Northern Virginia, where I used to live, people with good credit had to take out crazy loans. If you wanted to buy a 500K house, a low price in McClean, VA in 2005 what kind of income would be required for a 6% 30 year conforming? With a 100K downpayment you would still need to be able to afford 3K a month payment. At 34% of your income, that would mean an annual pre-tax income of $108 K. And really with all the other costs of living there that would be stretching it. But if you got a 4% ARM, you could afford a 600K home.

If you want to know how crazy prices were, the house I bought for 203K in 1999 sold for 370K in 2004, in 2005 a guy bought the house down the street from my old house for 500K.

Modern World Causation

Here is a nice article about the 60th anniversary of the invention of the transistor. Much of what we take for granted today couldn't exist without it. Like the computer I am typing this on, and the router that takes it to the internet, and so on you get the idea. The interesting part of the article is talking about the future of the chip as it gets more and more dense. The key metric seems to be that they are approaching the size of an atom.

See, The Sydney Morning Herald - The transistor at 60

CINRAM and the H2B Visa

CINRAM is a major manufacturer of pre-recorded DVD's. They have a plant in Huntsville where they make and ship DVDs. They advertise continuously on the radio for jobs. They sound like an ok company to work for, but here is the catch, they pay $8.00 an hour. At the Burger King here you start at $8.50. Madison County has an unemployment rate of >3% most of the time, and is one of the few parts of Alabama that is growing.

Since they cannot fill these jobs locally, they have about 1,000 workers on H2B visas come over for the year. Mostly they are from Jamaica and Nepal. One of the local politicos is unhappy about this and is going to try and change the state law to require companies using H2B to provide medical care for their workers and some other requirements.

Of course, the publicity meant that the HSV paper, The Huntsville Times, hunted down the workers and talked to them. The article doesn't make the company look good. Most of the workers, it reads, are being taken advantage of by those who house and transport them. One group of 4 ladies from Jamaica pay $1320 a month for a two bedroom apartment with no furniture and a ride to and from work. They average less then $250 a week in pay. The article for some reason is not on line, I will scan it in a post it. But anyway here are some links.

Anyway, this has all the makings of a mess for CINRAM. See: Wikipeida - CINRAM

And:

Tax resolution omits Cinram

Now Is the Time of the Season When All Good Men Rant...

About the BCS. Yes, once again it is that period of 3 weeks or so without College Football, when everyone and anyone will rant about the BCS. This year is even worse as many, many teams were jobbed, ripped-off or just hosed. The NCAA and thew Bowl representatives will be the only ones to speak well of it. The coaches will no longer complain publicly about it, but deep down inside they will seethe. For the first shot, see: Chaos doesn't legitimize ignorance or stupidity of flawed system

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Arsenal

Arsenal came back to beat Aston Villa 2-1 . This gives them a 5 point lead over Chelsea, as Man U plays tonight. It shows despite everything the Gunners are going to compete at a high level. Anyway they are 5 points ahead now, and they still have a game in hand over Chelsea.

See: Arsene Wenger delighted with Arsenal brio

Raiders Continue to Change the Past

The Raiders won 34-20 over Denver. Granted it was at home, but it was another big win as they erase years of futility at the hands of Mike Shanahan. On top of last week's win at KC, the season finally looks good. Hard to believe they could finish 8-8 with their schedule.

To add more, JaMarcus came in and played. From the few highlights I have seen he looked good. Hopefully, this bodes well for the future.

See Russell Debuts, but McCown Lifts Raiders

It Is Things Like This That Give Alabama A Bad Name, and Democrats Too

The Democratic Party's Black Wing in Alabama endorsed Hillary for President. One of its member, a County Commissioner named Albert Turner, said they needed too over Barack Obama as "she's white" and thus more electable. Identity politics do lead to problems.

In the State elections last year one of the Districts in Birmingham split as the Democrats nominated a white lesbian for the role, and the black leaders in the area wanted a black person nominated. It led to law suits and argument. The white lesbian remained on the ballot and won.

Anyway, see: Black Alabama political groups split presidential endorsements

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sometimes it is best not to say anything

The State Rep who is suing Auburn over not getting his Iron Bowl tickets has, of course, drawn attention to the practice. See my earlier post, Local Politician Acts Like A Fool. This has led to the media poking around into the practice. And guess what? Alabama and Auburn have given away 100K of tickets this year! At Alabama, according to the Huntsville Times fans pay $1000 for the right to apply for season tickets. All that is eventually going to come of this is that the practice of giving away the free tickets will be over.

See, $100K in football tickets given

Friday, November 30, 2007

Yahoo Compensation

I would feel better about this if it was just the $815K salary, without the options. But of course everybody's favorite law, Sarbanes-Oxley, makes her beholden to the shareholder; so options and restricted shares will motivate her to improve the share value.

Anyway, see:

CNET - Salary jumps for Decker with Yahoo promotion

and also see:

Professor Bainbridge - The Complete Guide to SOX: An Excerpt
----------------
Now playing: Russ Ballard - The Fire Still Burns
via FoxyTunes

JaMarcus May Start

According to the San Francisco Chronicle due to injuries JaMarcus may be moved to Number 2. This means he might actually get to play on Sunday as the Raiders host Denver.

See:

Healthy Russell finally might get his opportunity to play

Reversing Zombies

According to this article scientists have found a way to reverse the zombie state. Of course, it is in cockroaches and not humans. I guess they can still keep making those movies.

See,

New Scientist - Zombie Cockroaches Revived

Something I Want for Christmas

I have been thinking about getting into home brewing. First, because Alabama's archaic laws put all sorts of limitations on beer. It is for the children, though. Also, because it is a non-active, participatory hobby. I also like to drink beer. So, this is something I am thinking about getting myself for Christmas.

Maestro Homebrew Kit - From Monster Brew

Pot Meet Kettle

Bobby Knight had a confrontation with a neighbor over his shotgun pellets landing on the neighbor's yard. Mr. Knight said he didn't appreciate "the swearing and cussing." Maybe he has mellowed out in Texas.

Anyway, see:

Bobby Knight Denies Shooting at House, Doesn't Appreciate Swearing and Cussing

Schools and Drug Testing

One of our local school systems proposed a new drug testing policy that would include those who drive to schools. Three parents have protested and it has been put on hold. I believe the Supreme Court upheld drug testing students who participate in sports. This proposed policy would be broader, and I guess the arguments on driving is the same. It is a privilege, they don't have to drive to school, safety etc. Hats off to those three parents who delayed the policy to allow more discussion. This, to me, is going way to far in that area.

See,

Madison parents stall vote on drug testing at school

and also,

Supreme Court Approves Extraordinary Expansion Of Suspicionless Student Drug Testing

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stupid News Stories

You read these kind of stories and wonder if they are really true, or something out of The Onion? The gist is I think, is that Canadian men utilize old refrigerators to store their mass quantities of lager, and they are inefficient and demand too much energy generated by Global Warming creating power plants. Believe it if you will.

Study: Canadian Beer Drinkers Threaten Planet

or see:

The Onion - America's Finest News Source

A Blog I Recommend

I found this guy's blog through twittermap. He is one of the few people in HSV who twitters consistently. Anyway, I like and recommend his blog:

The Indiana Jones School of Management

Arsenal's Week

There is a lot going on this week with Arsenal. As part of the fallout from the loss to Seville, Wenger is banned from one match for his abuse of the officials. Fabergas is injured and will miss a few weeks. They play Aston Villa in the Premiership this week who are only six points behind them, so it is not really a break. How the team handles this stretch will tell a lot about them for next year.

See,

Arsenal coach Wenger handed touchline ban

This Was A Predictable Response

Washington DC's new mayor, Adrian Fenty, hired a young, dynamic theorist to turn the school system around. One of the proposals is to close 24 low enrollment school. The headline about the reaction of the city council was very predictable:

Short Notice on School Plan Angers Council

This will not be the first attempt that may fail to close schools. At least no body called the Mayer, who is African-American, and the school head, Ms. Rhee, who is Asian, racist.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You Tube

Once again I find myself browsing old Eighties videos on You Tube. They bring back memories of the few years I spent hanging out in a guy's basement watching MTV every night. We didn't have cable in my town yet, so we drove over to the next one so we could see this new channel. At that time I was really into Heavy Metal, mainly what started as obscure British bands that for a short time were popular with everyone before morphing into "hair metal". Personal favorites were Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and Saxon.

Anyway, for more information see:

Heavy metal music
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Of course, then there were things like this:

Accept - Balls to the Wall (Legacy Recordings)

Dogs and Cats Are Evil

They are destroying the world. It is bad enough you deign to have children, but now pets? What are you? How selfish can you be?

Anyway, see:

The environmental impact of pets

And yeah, don't even think about burning wood this winter.

Should fireplace fires be banned?

Local Politician Acts Like A Fool

Sometimes people don't realize how they come across. Local State Representative, Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery, AL), is upset that he didn't get free tickets to the Iron Bowl from Auburn. He has every other year. He also cannot get an explanation for this. So what will he do? He will sue the school. For PR reasons, I guess, they give each legislator free tickets. I really don't want my state school to do that, but I guess you can write it off as lobbying.

Anyway, it takes the HSV Times until the last paragraph to report the school mailed the tickets but they never got there. Sounds like the USPS screwed up to me.

See,

Holmes: He'll sue AU over Iron Bowl tix

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Preparing the Battlefield

In DoD Acquisition we call this prepping the battlefield, or managing expectations:

Clinton campaign spokesman, Mark Daley, in the Chicago Sun Times; ""Our definition of success doesn't necessarily mean coming in first,"

See:

California Yankee - Hillary Bracing For Loss In Iowa

And now Team Romney is as well. See:

The Corner - Team Romney 'Fine' With Second Place? Team Huckabee Laughs.

Arsenal Loses!!

Arsenal lost 3-1 to Sevilla in Spain. It was not the best result. Even though they were guaranteed to advance, it was not the way to go on. Wenger took a chance and played a lot of the second string, resting some of the top talent. He also had some injury issues to deal with. It does put pressure on them as it means they will have a harder row ahead in the next round.

Anyway, see:

Sevilla seize on Arsenal's big gamble

This is Sad

No matter what you think of the Redskins, professional football players, or the University of Miami, this is just sad.

Sean Taylor Has Passed Away

Monday, November 26, 2007

Talk About An Inconvenient Truth

If this is really true, it kind of screws up the Global Warming argument. Although, as they often do, people will argue that Global Warming is responsible for every change in the weather. Anyway, see:

We are set on a course of 'planet saving' madness

There is a similar argument in this blog post about failures of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to predict the numbers of named storms each season. Massive failures the last three years in a row. So, also see:

Brendan Loy - Hurricane forecasters say seasonal errors are hurting their credibility

Arsenal in the Champions League

Arsenal play Seville in the Champions League. They have already qualified for the next round, but losing to Seville would put them second in their group. Does Wenger use his young guns, or play his starters to win and stay in the lead? It will be an interesting game.

Anyway, see:

Top spot at stake when Arsenal face Seville

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Raiders

Well, it had to happen sometime, they beat KC, in KC, 20-17. They were down and came back and actually held a lead. Maybe they turn the corner, I don't know, but at least it is one more win then last year, and they technically can finish 500. Woo-woo.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Iron Bowl

Well, Alabama loses again, 17-10. There offense could do nothing. At least the defense played well apart from Auburn's first possession. They gave up a touchdown late. Alabama just doesn't have the players, or the motivation I guess. Well, as they say, wait until next year.

Arsenal Wins, Man U Loses

Arsenal beat Wigan 2-0 to stay on top, and even better Man U loses to Bolton!! This means that Arsenal is on top clearly with a game in hand still. What adds to this more is that Sir Alex Ferguson got kicked out of the game for criticizing the referee. What a bunch of whiners, Man U is.

Anyway see:

Sir Alex Ferguson loses it at Bolton

Iron Bowl

Today is the day when the whole state shuts down. Alabama and Auburn play each other. This year it will be at Auburn. There are some differences from the recent past, it will be on ESPN at night. Uusally it was played in the afternoon. That meant if you had anything you needed done do it during the Iron Bowl. The city was empty. That won't happen today.

Anyway, here is some history from the Auburn side:

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IRON BOWL

And from the Alabama side:

HE HISTORY OF THE IRON BOWL ALABAMA vs AUBURN

Arsenal

Arsenal will play Wigan today. They are not a big threat to them, but hopefully the Gunners will play well. Wigan is 22 points below Arsenal, second from the bottom. Unfortunately that often happens to the clubs promoted up. They can only last one year in the Premiership.

There are rumors that Gilberto wants to leave for Italy. I don't think they will let him go as they need the depth.

See:

Gilberto tempted by Juventus move

Friday, November 23, 2007

EJ Dionne - Happy Thanksgiving, Pay More Taxes

EJ Dionne wrote a nice little column in The Washington Post about how great Maryland is to raise taxes. He believes that people are willing to pay taxes to get services from their government. Nobody would argue that, the issue is what are the key services government should provide, and how much should they cost. Maryland, I am sure, in the eyes of many of its citizens provides services that are not necessary, or un-needed. Paying more taxes for this makes no sense. By the way, the tax package raised the sales and cigarette taxes a lot, so it is very hard on the working poor.

See:

A Governor Unafraid of Government

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Arsenal

Now that the Premiership is winding down this year, everyone is looking forward to the January signing period. Arsenal is rumored to be after numerous players, mostly either strikers or goalies. Both make sense as with Van Persie injured another striker is needed, and all signs point to Lehman leaving in January as he needs to play to keep his spot on the German National team. He is not going to be playing at Arsenal as long as Almunia is healthy. The other thing Arsenal has is a lot of money available for these signings. Normally, Wenger tries not to do a big signing, preferring to develop his own talent, but with the league the way it is, he might be tempted.

New Low, or Really the Latest, for England Soccer

England lost 3-2 to Croatia, and was eliminated in the Euro 08. The English Football Association reacted by firing the English manager recently chose, Steve McClaren. So now they will probably hire another foreigner to run the team.

See:

Steve McClaren runs out of excuses

Pie



Here are the two pies I made last night for today's meal:

Thanksgiving

Like most Americans, I have a lot to be grateful for this year. It has been a much better year than the last few as there has been several deaths in my family recently. My family is by ourselves this year, but we will still have a good day.

Also, the four days off are nice. Work has been very hectic, and un-fun, lately. It really shouldn't be.

So have a happy day with your family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Black Friday Warnings

This article is interesting. It warns that no matter how good the deal is, it may still not be worth it. It rings true, as if you have looked at laptops lately you still need to spend a decent amount of money on one. RAM and good screens are not cheap, no matter what.

See:

Beware Black Friday laptop deals

Monday, November 19, 2007

Local Pork

I have blogged in the past about pork. When Congressmen load up the various appropriation bills with specific projects for their districts. Usually these are not requested by anybody in the Executive Branch. Our wonderful Congressman, Bud Cramer, one of the last Democrats in Alabama, has got Huntsville $1.0 Million dollars to build a bridge. This is not a bridge necessary to improve commerce or traffic flow, it will just make the downtown a little nicer. Nice work, Mr. Cramer.

Here is the link to the appropriate press release:

Cramer Announces Transportation Funding for North Alabama

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Football

Well, Alabama and the Raiders both lost. Alabama is a major surprise. People here are already talking about Saban being a mistake. I don't think so. He has the excuse that these were Shula's players. Before the season everyone was saying the defense would be a lot worse. You win a few games and people forget those things. So we will have to see.

The Raiders, as usual, wasted a lot of opportunities, from what I have read. They need to win these games. There is always next year.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Photos of Lincoln at Gettysburg

This is just amazing. A historian has found two photos that seem to show Lincoln at Gettysburg prior to his address. One is a stereotype, so it may be possible to see him in three dimensions. Anyway, stuff like this is very exciting.

See:

New Photos of Lincoln at Gettysburg Discovered?

Sports this Weekend

Arsenal is off for Euro 08 qualifiers, and the Raiders go to Minnesota. They are going to try Culpeper again, although they may as well start Jamarcus now and get it over with. Auburn is off and Alabama plays some school from Louisiana. Hopefully, after last week they won't lose. The Iron Bowl is next week at Auburn.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Barry Bonds

He was indicted today on perjury and obstruction of justice relating to the Balco steroid investigation. Maybe he will be convicted, but we all know he is guilty.

See:

Bonds indicted: Home run king faces perjury, obstruction charges

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Raiders and the Bears on 12 November

I went to the Raiders game this Sunday. Here are a few photos from it.


 
 
 
 
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 12, 2007

Arsenal Milestones

Arsenal easily beat Reading 3-1 tonight to take back first place in the Premiership. It also was the game where there 1000th goal in the Premiership was scored. Arsenal made it through the two hard games with draws and still have a game in hand.

See:

Arsenal pass landmark in grand style

Friday, November 9, 2007

Busy Few Days

I just noticed that I haven't posted for a few days. I am in SF visiting family. I also will be going to the Raiders game as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Arsenal Advances in the Champions League

Arsenal played Slavia Prague to a 0-0 draw. This is enough with their dominating victory at home, 7-0, to advance into the next round.

Not the most inspired play by Arsenal, but it was what it took.

See:

Champions League Group Stage Match Report - Arsenal 0, Slavia Prague 0

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ron Paul

Ron Paul is the nutty Republican candidate for President. Based on the signs and bumper stickers I have seen he is very popular in Alabama. Especially so in Limestone County. Yesterday he did a fund raising event on the net. Supposedly he raised $4 Million dollars. This alone will allow him to continue in the race.

See:

The man, the technique behind Paul's haul

and also:

Welcome to Limestone County, Alabama

Patriots Whine in Victory

Patriots claim that the Colts artificially increased the crowd noise, then say they didn't. League says the Colts didn't cheat. Classless coach with a classless team.

See:

Colts Deny Alleged 'Artificial Noise'

And my fantasy team lost by three points, who knew the Steelers would put up 38 on the Ravens?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Football

My fantasy team looks in good shape thanks to Marshawn Lynch, who would have imagined?

I continue to loathe the Patriots and everything about them.

The Raiders, again, could not move the ball and score any points. They tried McNown again, but it did no good. I guess we will see JaMarcus soon, hopefully next week as I am going to the game.

See the San Francisco Chronicle coverage:

Raiders' acts of desperation miss mark

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Arsenal draw with Man U

Arsenal came back to draw, 2-2. This leaves them tied to at the top of the table with a game in hand. They also have yet to lose in the Premiership this year. A win would have been nice, but they have drawn Liverpool and Man U in the last two weeks which is a perfectly acceptable result.

See the Daily Telegraph coverage:

Sir Alex Ferguson furious at Arsenal escape

Friday, November 2, 2007

John Murtha Pork

I don't know what John Murtha has done to the press, or maybe he has just reached a point where it has gotten so blatent, but now the Washington Post has written about him.

See:

A Contractor, Charity And Magnet for Federal Earmarks

What is even better about the corporation set up by Mr. Murtha is that it is a non-profit. So it doesn't even get to reimburse the Treasury for some of the money sent its way.

Big Game for Arsenal

Arsenal play Man U tomorrow at home. Of course, Fox isn't broadcasting it so I won't see it. Arsenal need to draw, but a win would be great. They are currently tied in the points, but Arsenal has a game in hand. According to the Daily Telegraph Premiership officials are saying that up to a billion people could watch the match.

Anyway, see:

World watches Man Utd and Arsenal collide

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Stock Market

It is a good thing that I am young and can ride out days like these. Of course, the market is up about 20% over the last two years so you cannot really complain. People will, though. I guess it is good that I am in defense and select tech stocks, and not financials.

See from Excite Money & Investing:

Stocks Plunge; Dow Drops More Than 360

More Pork

Pork does not have to directly be government money given to an entity. That is the easiest and most direct way to do it. Another form of pork is to have laws changed or created that benefit one person. A perfect example of this is this USA Today story:

Ohio Dem: Repeal ban on melting coins

Here a Congressman wants to have the law banning melting pennies overturned. This will help one company in his district.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Arsenal Transformation Continues

Gilberto seems to be on the way out after refusing to play in the Carling Cup match today. He was coming back from injury and Wenger wanted to work him in. Oh well, not that he has been missed all that much.

See:

Axed Gilberto Silva faces Arsenal departure

Arsenal easily beat Sheffield United 3-0.

Also see:

Arsenal deepen Bryan Robson's woe

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pork in the Defense Budget

When I worked in the Air Force budget integration shop one of my jobs was to go through the various bills and identify all the "earmarks" in it. An earmark is funding added by Congress for a specific, discrete program or activity. Once they were identified they were put aside and only spent when a variety of wickets were crossed. Many times they could not be executed in a way that was beneficial to anybody but maybe the contractor it was supposed to go to. Not surprisingly as the Federal budget has grown the number of earmarks have grown. For a good article on how one Congressman has used earmarks see:

MURTHA INC. How Lawmaker Rebuilt Hometown on Earmarks (Wall Street Journal)


Needless-to-say I am not a big fan of this way of doing business, but it was accepted within the system as it was the way to do

Fumbling Fantasy Football

My fantasy team lost again. Who would know that Derrick Anderson and Braylon Edwards would have 3 TD apiece? Anyway, Romo was off and I tried, for some reason, to use Brian Griese. Enough said. I am now two games below 500. The season is pretty much over. "Over? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Splendid Isolation

Have you ever thought about being alone completely? Like one of my favorite movies, "The World, The Flesh and The Devil". I saw an ad for a movie with Wil Smith that seems to be a sort of remake of that. Anyway, what would you do if there was nobody else around?

See:

The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) IMDB
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Now playing: Trapt - Headstrong
via FoxyTunes

Busy Day

You know it was a busy day as I didn't email myself any blog topics from work as I am want to do. I was making charts and planning visits to DC to discuss important matters.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Raiders Fall Again

Well the Raiders D played well, but the offense sputtered. There is no offensive line and that leads to no passing or scoring. They were in it to the end, small consolation. There is always next week.

See:

White runs for 133 yards, Titans beat Raiders 13-9

Arsenal 1 - Liverpool 1

Arsenal draw to remain on top of the Premiership. A win would have been nice, but they continue to keep their unbeaten streak going.

See:

Wenger sees Gunners rise to Anfield challenge

Friday, October 26, 2007

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Now playing: Jason Aldean - Johnny Cash
via FoxyTunes

Arsenal and Liverpool

Arsenal plays Liverpool this Sunday. Arsenal is comfortably six points ahead of them with a game in hand, but still it should be a great match. Both teams are in a little turmoil, also with Arsenal it is due to not playing some of their older players. Liverpool has bigger issues due to the loss this week in the Champions League, and no firm line-up. It should be an exciting match, but Arsenal will win.

See:

Rafael Benitez must settle his Liverpool side

Updated 1920 CDT

It gets worse for Liverpool. Jermaine Pennant broke his shin and will be out for 10 weeks. See:

Rafa Benitez quite at home in the firing line

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Airbus A380

In a completely unrelated matter to the below post, the Airbus A380 flew its first commercial flight for Singapore Airlines. It flew to Sydney from Singapore. The tickets were purchased as part of a charity auction so they weren't cheap. Also, the aircraft was only configured for 470 seats, so there must have been plenty of room.

See:

Airbus A380 lands in Sydney on first commercial flight

V-22 Osprey Conducts First USAF Mission

The V-22 Osprey after all these years conducted its' first mission. This was one of the USAF SAR birds in the US flying a search mission for a crashed civilian airplane. It was based at Kirtland AFB, NM. Unfortunately there were no survivors, so no rescue could be carried out.

The USMC has deployed a squadron to Anbar Province, Iraq; but no word if they have flown a combat mission yet.

See:

Osprey Sees First Action in SAR Mission
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Now playing: Warren Zevon - Splendid Isolation
via FoxyTunes

Stupid Criminals

In the next town over somebody broke into the coke bottling plant by throwing a cinder block through the door. It has rained solidly for three days here, and the police followed a trail of muddy footprints to the motel next door to the break in site and arrested two men with a cinder block. I guess they forgot to look down.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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Now playing: Yes - Shoot High, Aim Low
via FoxyTunes

Gun Control

This a letter to the editor of the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. This gentleman was arrested because it look like he was running a gun store out of his house. He had 600 guns there. That is not the point of the letter from the Executive Director of the Illinois Council of Handgun Violence. He is trying to say that it would "Clearly, no reasonable concerned citizen should argue about the right to hoard 600 guns when weighed against the issue of public safety posed by such firepower sitting in the middle of residential community." Actually, it is quite possible that somebody could have a collection that big. The number of guns is not the issue, but what the intent of the owner is.

See:

Six hundred guns in one residence?

I was friends in graduate school with a guy who collected Mauser rifles. He had close to 20 of them in his two bedroom condo. Also for a website of a man who has quite a collection of weapons, to include artillery, see:

Arghhh! The Home Of Two Of Jonah's Military Guys

New Smartphone for Narcissistics

This new HTC Touch phone for sale by Sprint soon caught my eye. It has a 2 Megapixel camera in it, complete with a mirror to take "self portraits". I kind of wish I had a camera phone, or one in my iPod touch to take photos of where I am and what I am doing, but I have no need to take endless photos of myself.

See:

HTC Touch (Sprint)

Nissan "Skyline" GT-R

Nissan rolled out the GT-R yesterday at the Tokyo Motorshow. It will be available in the US in six months or so. Pricing in the US has not been released. The Japanese price quoted in dollars is $68K. I think the price point that Nissan is looking for is the Corvette Z-06, which I read is around $71K.

Anyway, see:

Nissan rolls out long-awaited GT-R super-coupe

Hits

According to clustrmap my hits have skyrocketed. Mostly from me, I assume. I do view a few times a day. I am trying to do two or three posts a day, and really between sports and the things I find interesting I should be able to do that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lehman and Arsenal

I guess Jens Lehman figured out that he might not play again for Arsenal. Anyway, he warned Wenger not to "humilate" him by not putting him in the starting line-up. To be honest, I don't know when he will play again in the Premiership.

See:

Lehmann warns Gunners boss

And, oh yeah, Arsenal beat Slavia Prague 7-0.

See:

Stunning Arsenal slay Slavia

Reverend Moon's Air Force

If you don't know it Reverend Moon owns the Washington Times; and I guess he owns helicopters as well. According to this article in Rotorhub he bought two S-92 aircraft from Sikorsky for Washington Times Aviation. These will be used in Korea, not in the Washington DC area. Who knew?

See:

Korea: Washington Times Aviation order two more S-92s, taking fleet to six

Arsenal

Arsenal host Slavia Prague today in the Champions League. It sounds like Wenger will stick with the current players, not allowing some of his older established stars to play now they are healthy. This is probably the end of Jan Lehman's tenure with the team.

See:

Wenger sticks with team to disappoint stars

Monday, October 22, 2007

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Now playing: Duncan Sheik - Barely Breathing
via FoxyTunes

Twitter Celebrity

I am a Twitter Celebrity. A German PC magazine used one of my tweets to illustrate how Twitter works. The quote is "Die Antworten in Kurznachrichtenform, die "Tweets", kann jeder via Web, Chat oder Handy auf Twitter abladen. "Ich bin jetzt fertig mit der Arbeit"; teilt etwa Dagpotter aus USA mit während die Twitter-Gemeinde zeitgleich die Nachricht erreicht, dass in Kairo ein Hund spazieren geführt und in Tokio eine Gardine aufgehängt wird. Fällt in China Franz Beckenbauers sprichwörtliches Fahrrad um, bei Twitter könnte man es mitbekommen."

I think it basically means "In the US, Dagpotter tweets "I have just left work", while in Egypt someone takes their dog for a walk, and in Tokyo someone hangs their curtains.

The full article is at:

Twitter spaltet Netzgemeinde

Israel Saving Palestinian Lives

In the Washington Post there is an article about how due to the Israeli embargo of the Gaza Strip it is impossible to buy cigarettes. Due to this many Palestinians have had either had to cut back or give up smoking. This will only be beneficial to their health.

See:

Gazans Forced to Cut Back on Smoking

Alabama and Tennesee

A confused Tennessee Alum wrote the following email to our Deputy Project Manager:

Sir,

I would like to exercise your open door policy to discuss the current
hostile work environment in our office. I feel that I have been the
victim of harassment from some sort of animal rights group, apparently
concerned about elephant poaching in Africa. Emblems and figures
representing the elephants have been placed in my office cube, along
with red streamers apparently representing the blood shed by hunted
elephants in the African Safari.

Frankly, I find the entire episode confusing. I admit that I have not
paid particular attention to the problems of elephant poaching, but I
find it puzzling that these animal rights extremists chose my cube to
protest the impending "rolling tide" of elephant extinction that will
occur if the poaching is not stopped.

In any case, I request to discuss this matter with my supervisor. I
have seen many elephant emblems around the office, and I certainly
recognize the right of our work force to join and participate in
political action groups after work. I feel, however, that I have been
unfairly targeted for my lack of participation in this animal rights
activism, and I would like actions taken immediately to protect myself
from harassment and save my property from further vandalism.

Thank you,