Monday, November 23, 2009

Congressman And Their Many Constituencies

This story about a recent town hall by Congressman Allen Boyd (D-FL) illustrates how screwed up our political system is. It seems based on gifts of political largess. Boyd is being attacked for supporting Obama and the Democrats health reform efforts. He did vote against the House bill because it did not do enough to control costs but it is clear is constituents don't trust him on this issue.

At the same time he is getting support from Sallie Mae workers as he opposes another major reform proposed by President Obama. This is to transfer back to the Government the management of student loans with the idea it will save money and be better done.

This means Boyd is simultaneously for and against moving services currently conducted by private companies back into the public sector.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Effect of The Great War On The English Countryside

In the Thirties there came about the term "Thankful Villages" to describe those towns that lost no men in World War I. This list at HELLFIRE Corner is the most comprehensive identified to date.

There are less then fifty on the list from across the countries. Most contributed every few men to the war effort showing they were rather small but still it indicates that out of hundreds of towns then existing very few saw no loss when the British Empire lost almost one million men.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Form Follows Function In Air Defense Headquarters

These two articles show abandoned Cold War civil and air defense command posts. One in the Former Soviet Union and one in England. It is interesting to see that they are very similar in layout and capabilities.

First on English Russia is Abandoned Military Object which is of an air defense center where data is collected and filtered and defenses coordinated and activated.

Second is on Subterranea Britannica: Cold War and shows a Regional War Room at Cardiff, Wales where the Government would run operations during a nuclear attack. Much of these designs were based on British experience during World War II with building air defense and command posts.

These show how a like these kind of facilities are no matter where they are built or designed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Firing Rather Then Divorcing Your Spouse

Frank McCourt is the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers who were last seen losing to the Phillies in the National League Championship. His current wife, Jamie, was the CEO of the team. A few weeks ago it was announced that the two were getting divorced, but it has now come out that he is really firing her for being a poor employee not so much as divorcing her.

According to the Los Angeles Times "Frank McCourt charged his estranged wife with insubordination and inappropriate behavior in a letter firing her as the team's chief executive."

I guess if they were getting divorced he had to fire her but it is an interesting approach none-the-less.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lefty Bloggers Need To Get Their Stories Straight On Stimulus

At this post Steven Benen is decrying the fact that $40 billion in state aid was cut out of the stimulus so states had to lay people off. In this article there is criticism of the states for using stimulus money to just keep the status quo.

So which is it? Was the stimulus just to keep bureaucrats employed at the cost of the U.S. taxpayer or to actually do something different? Here in AL the legislature used the stimulus money to just balance the budget. That will work out well next year.

The problem the states are facing is due to the collapse in the economy there has been a massive decline in tax revenue of all kinds. The state and local governments were pretty fat and now they have to trim down. That means people are losing their jobs. Maybe when the economy recovers and Americans get private jobs they can go back to subsidizing the government.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Perish The Thought, Huntsville City Council Being Short Sighted

Mayor Battle of Huntsville presented his budget to the City Council. As part of his plan he would like to recommend eliminating step and COLA raises for a couple of years for city employees. The Council does not like the idea. They want to continue them. Heck, the Federal Government intends to not give COLA's to Social Security recipients for the next two years.

While raises are nice the other option is layoffs. This has happened in other parts of the U.S. due to the recession. Counties and states have recommended furloughs or not increasing pay and the unions have run to courts to not allow these. Then there are layoffs. Mayor Battle's proposal seems fairly reasonable. At least it could be done for one year. Maybe next year the economy will recover and raises could happen?

The other interesting thing about the article is that I thought the City bought the Rescue Mission to tear it down to build a new road. Now they are saying city offices are moving into it. Maybe the road won't take up the whole thing?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FDA Didn't Know Menthol Makes The Smoke Better

Effective today the Food & Drug Administration has banned clove and sweet flavored cigarettes. Due to industry pressure they did not do so with menthol flavored ones. Interestingly the article in USA Today quoted a researcher as stating "We all thought until quite recently that menthol was just a neutral flavor."

I guess they didn't do much research. Menthol to me was always minty and made smoking a cigarette much easier. They have also only been around for several dozens of years. I guess this is what passes for science now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Libertarians and the Confederate States

I did not know that there was a group within Libertarianism that holds the Confederate States of America (CSA) up as a good example of limited government in North America. This is not necessarily considered a good or correct interpretation as Doug Mataconis explains at his blog, Below the Beltway.

One issue the CSA faced as it organized was a lack of cooperation among the states which made it harder to get armies set up. This led to the U.S.'s ability to seize important areas and resources. So it contributed somewhat to its defeat.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Who Knew Obama Controls All Funding For Liberal Groups?

Via Riehl World View we come to understand that Firedoglake the angry liberal site is claiming that President Obama is stabbing the left in the back.

The anger is caused by the Van Jones resignation. Some on the left are claiming that Obama should have supported Jones through thick-and-thin. Now Firedoglake is saying that if you do not support Obama you lose all of your "institutional funding". I am not sure what that is but assume it is Democratic party or non-profits that fund liberal groups.

Anyway I did not know that the President was so powerful that he could cut funding to a blog or group overnight. If only the Republicans could get so organized.

Banal Soviet Bureaucrats Mask Terror Of Soviet Communism

The Yale University Press has been publishing a series of books on Soviet Communist rule in Russia utilizing primary documents from archives that have come available since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

They have started to put some of their recent works actual documents on the internet. One of them is files from the KGB on Andrei Sakharov. This noted Soviet atomic scientist became a leading dissident in the late Sixties and Seventies causing no end of problems for the Brezhnev regime.

Many of the source documents are reports on Sakharov's activities sent under Yuri Andropov's signature to the Central Committee. Andropov was the head of the KGB and ended up being the last leader of Soviet Russia before Gorbachov.

Some of the highlights include reports like this: "Sakharov continues to produce and disseminate slanderous letters concerning Soviet reality. In conversations with his confederates, Sakharov assesses policies of the Party and government from a negative standpoint, and he also associates himself with demagogic assertions of nationalistically inclined individuals about the situation of Jews in the USSR."

Another work is about Stalin's persecution of the COMINTERN and the elimination of foriegn Communists. One particularly interesting document is a statement of Irena Kun the sister of Hungarian Communist Bela Kun. Bela Kun was able to establish a Communist regime in Hungary for a few years after World War I. In the Thirties many of the leaders fled to the Soviet Union and were eventually punished by Stalin. Irena Kun is trying to protect herself by claiming that Georg Benedek another Hungarian in Moscow made up stories about her being a Trotskyist and traitor.

Kun blames a bad recommendation from her brother for his denouncing her. "I have known Benedek for 3 years, we live in the same building. He studied at the VKU where I was working. I always knew that he was mentally unsound. But I would never have suspected him of being so mean until, according to his own words, c. Bela Kun refused to give him a recommendation to the KUNMZ graduate school in June-August 1935. After that, he started telling me and c. E. Nagy[iv] things that aroused my suspicions that Benedek was either crazy or an agent provocateur."

The documents illustrate the paranoia among the intellectuals of a movement where they spent decades eating each other and protecting themselves. They could trust no one or anyone. They also showed the dutiful bureaucrats of the KGB and Party routinely reporting on each other to higher ups explaining faults and problems by blaming poor commitment to the Soviet cause or foreign provocateurs.

In all it shows that large numbers of people spent all their time running around reporting on each other in lengthy memorandum. Certainly these people contributed little of meaning to society or the economy. It might explain all the problems the Soviet economy might have had.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Contractors Good For Something -- Being A Force Mulitplier In Afghanistan

For the last eight years one of the biggest complaints from the American left was that George Bush was in the sway of big government contractors. They did too much of the housekeeping services in Iraq and Afghanistan. Companies like KBR lined their pockets at the expense of the troops and taxpayers. They were doing jobs that green suiters or civil servants should be doing.

Unfortunately due to the small size of the military they had to use contractors for those jobs. This has been a trend going back thirty years. Use contractors to wash clothes, cook food and clean latrines. Then there would be more soldiers freed up to do the fighting. Despite a consistent philosophy on the use of support contractors Bush received holy hell about it. True the scale in Iraq was much larger then it ever had been before and the contracts were in some case let quickly and didn't have enough oversight but people were trying to get things done.

Now the word is that Obama wants to increase the number of foot soldiers in Afghanistan but without increasing the number of U.S. troops deployed to that country. One way to do this is to reduce the number of soldiers assigned to logistic support units, command headquarters, maintenance and so one and do a one-for-one swap with "trigger pullers". How do you do this and still provide the enormous tail that U.S. forces need? Use contractors.

It might be possible to assign U.S. civil servants to do this but there have been many issues in the past with getting them to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is too dangerous or not career enhancing. Certainly there is a number of people assigned or who volunteer for these positions but to get the kind of capability that is needed it will have to be contractors. Contractors like KBR or other such companies experienced in logistics and maintenance.

This will not be an easy or quick switch. The ground troops will have to be designated from either those in Iraq or in the U.S. recovering from a recent deployment. Then they will have to be trained and equipped up. A plan will be figured out how to deploy a 1000 support troops and replace them with a battalion of infantry. The support infrastructure will probably have to switch first. Contractors taking over for the rear echelon folks.

Another challenge will be writing and awarding the contracts for this. Unless they plan on expanding existing contracts there will be a several month period of writing the RFP, putting it out and evaluating the proposals. Awards may be protested which could add to the delays. Once awarded the contractors will have to hire their people and get them into place. Expect the almost constant sniping from Congress and the Media about this. See the LOGCAP contract from Iraq for example.

The Obama administration really cannot do anything else. They have reached the fish-or-cut-bait point. Either abandon Afghanistan or pour resources in. At the same time he does not want to "surge" troops there as that will make him and many Democrats look like idiots for opposing the same in Iraq. So he does the next best thing: surge contractors to maximize his troop availability. Good luck to them and the soldiers.

Cross posted at Defense Procurement News

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Parker Griffith Hits The Big Time

Our local Congressman is Democrat Parker Griffith. He won a squeaker of an election to fill the seat of a surprise retirement. Griffith is considered a "Bluedog" conservative Democrat who has spoken out against both the health care reform bill and the cap-and-trade act. Now in an interview with The Huntsville Times after a town hall on health care he has hit the big time.

One of the criticisms from this fairly conservative district is that while Griffith may be conservative himself he supports the Democratic agenda in Congress generally and voted for Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to be speaker. In the interview Griffith now says that he "...would not vote for her. Someone that divisive and that polarizing cannot bring us together."

That statement has hit the blogosphere and is now all over Memeorandum as it got picked up by US News and World Report and various lefty and right blogs.

It would be good but it is hard to believe that if Griffith is re-elected which is not assured right now that he wouldn't go along with whomever the Democrats run for Speaker.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Army Email Getting More Portable?

I came across this article in Federal Computer Week about how the Army has put out a Request for Information(RFI) to unify its email systems. Right now the Army manages them at various command and installation levels. The RFI would be for an enterprise system to manage all email, calendar and other functions for all those using Army email. One benefit supposedly of this would be to reduce the cost to the Army.

One of the problems that the Army current system has is its security level. To access non-classified email you have to log into a computer with a Common Access Card (CAC) Card and pin. The card stays in the computer in order to utilize it. This means that to get your email away from your work site you use your CAC in a laptop or use a Blackberry.

Personally I think a Blackberry presents a whole host of security issues and in fact this whole idea highlights the major problem with the Army's IT set up: security. It has limited functionality and ads considerable cost. An employee if their manager desires email from home or off site requires a laptop or blackberry as well as whatever system they use at work. This increases the cost to the government to outfit each employee.

The proposed system is required to use a CAC so it will require dedicated machines to support. It would be hard to see how much cost savings could be made by this idea unless it maximizes the use of existing equipment and that owned by the employee.

More to come on this as it fleshes out but security will make this hard to implement.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Worst Lip Sych Evah!!!

It is tough New Wave melody with lots of keyboards and high pitched vocals but the female part of this Peter Schilling appearance on a German TV show has to be about as bad as it can get. Starts around 0:42. Peter doesn't do that great a job either.

Using Posterous

In a desperate search for traffic to my actual real blogs I have set up google reader to allow me to push stuff to Posterous. Then I have Posterous push it to my Twitter feed. We will see what this accomplishes.

Of course it is yet another account to remember.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Arsenal Stuns Everton And Whole Premiership

While Arsenal has had quite an off season they are still one of the top teams in the Premiership. There should really be no doubt that they could beat Everton to start the year even at Everton's stadium. To win, though, 6-1 is just crazy. It gives them a tremendous jump on the rest of the league. For more on this stellar victory which saw Cesc with two goals see the Telegraph.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Newport News Advertising

Since I write for three different blogs now (real ones not vanity sites like this) I spend a great deal of time browsing around at various newspaper and news sites. I also go to many political blogs researching things and getting edumacated. The Newport News bikini ads are everywhere. They must have one heck of a budget or just place them on sites I go to.

Here I am also giving them free advertising just by talking about them.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Site About Smurfs

If you are interested in the upcoming Smurf movie here is a good site about it: Yes, they are actually making a live action movie about the Smurfs.

Huntsville Mirrors The U.S. On Housing Sales

This subscriber only article at The Wall Street Journal reports that the recovery to date in the U.S. housing market has been focused on the low end of the market. If you have a high end home it is still hard to sell. This is what was reported in The Huntsville Times as well about the local market. There has been an uptick but it has only been in the low-to-moderate price.

Unfortunately I cannot find the article on their website

It is probably for the reasons that large mortgages are hard to get and people do not want to borrow several hundred thousand dollars anyway with the uncertainty in the job market and economy overall.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Testing Out iCam

I put iCam on my iPhone and got it installed on working on both my PC and a netbook with a built in camera. The result is seeing the beautiful me in stereo on my iPhone. I don't know if I will really use this but the technology is so neat I couldn't help myself.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Rule Of Blogging About Arguments Or Arguments About Blogging

Not for me to come up with a rule for blogging but anytime an argument devolves into the court scene from Animal House I say it is over. The Other McCain goes there in the big Erin Andrews/Douglas/Little Miss Attila dispute.

Oh Yeah it wasn't over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obama's Presidency Will Be Over When...

Robert Gibbs says that the President doesn't pay attention to the polls but is just doing what is best for the U.S. people. At the current trend I would say that is Labor Day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

When Fiction Becomes Truth - Big Bang Theory Strikes

I guess Wolowitz from Big Bang Theory did really design and fabricate the toilet on the International Space Station (ISS). It is reported that the waste disposal system has flooded the orbiting base.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Meritocracy and Affirmative Action

Mr. Other McCain has a post here about meritocracy. Having worked in the Federal Government for the last twenty years or so I have come across the concept of meritocracy and affirmative action in action. At one of my jobs were a group of fine senior Federal employees we called the "bitchy GS-15 women". These were a group of women that had been hired, groomed and worked their way up to decision level management who lorded themselves over everybody because of their "position". Their problem was that they had never been told that hey had made a mistake or screwed up. Constantly promoted and receiving the highest ratings they could not consider of making mistake and demanded the respect they were due to the point that they were not only annoying but self-destructive. McCaian calls this "Elitism as Self-Congratulation"; and the only point they were where they were because they were women first; then fairly competent people later. In many ways they were oblivious of this.

Rant kind of over.

Proper and Efficient Use of Free Time

Hey, I work one full time job and blog for three sites and I do have free time to explore the internet. Perhaps I don't have enough time to write one thousand word plot summaries of Seinfeld episodes. Not that I don't like Seinfeld as I am one of those Gen X'ers that it speaks to.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fed Admits Modifying Mortgages Doesn't Work

The Boston Fed did a study looking at Obama's premier program to fix the mortgage crisis by providing financial incentives for lenders to modify delinquent loans. Its conclusion is it doesn't work as most mortgage companies are hesitant to modify the loans. The reason is simply they lose money on the deals.

Part of this is that a lot of borrowers end up delinquent again anyway and another large group fix the problem themselves. The Fed says one simpler solution would be to just give the cash to homeowners and use it to pay the mortgages. Just as I predicted the government will end up using my tax dollars to keep people in their overpriced homes.

Why do I pay my mortgage every month?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rare Albino Crow

This crow has been seen the last few days around my neighborhood. It was in my backyard this evening along with three others. A gray crow it turns out is not that weird.

Some more photos at my flickr feed here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Robot Twitter Movie

The latest random Twitter xtranormal movie. This time with robots. Also a gratuitous Jon and Kate Plus 8 reference.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran Claims Ability To Reverse Engineer Old U.S. Missile System

The Iranian Government claims that they have reversed engineered the old U.S. area surface-to-air missile system the HAWK. This is a Army and Marine Corps weapon that was rapidly replaced by the PATRIOT in the Eighties. Not that it wasn't an effective or state-of-the-art system in the day but it has been many decades since it was something the U.S. wanted to use.

Probably this is based on old equipment the Shah had bought many a year ago. As to whether it will provide an effective defense against modern U.S. attack aircraft remains to be seen. I would presume not.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Call of Duty Four Chernobyl Mission

If you have ever played Call of Duty Four here is the google map view of the hotel where you do the sniper mission near Chernobyl.

The portico to the right is instantly recognizable.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Technology and Music

One forgets how fast technology has changed over the last thirty years. I bought a computer in 1992 with a 100 Megabyte hard drive. Now I have four Gigabytes of RAM. (Memory is RAM!!).

If you look back at early attempts to work multimedia into music and concerts, kind of occurring with the rise of MTV, you see lasers and projectors and things like that.

If you watch this:

You realize why it was so cool at that time; and still is today.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Latest Thunderstorm Video

Dark night with some lightning.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another Twitter Movie

My latest and greatest twitter movie.

AP Violates Family's Privacy In Story About Privacy Being Violated

In a charming story about how a family in St. Louis Christmas photo ended up as a display ad in the Czech Republic the Associate Press includes a photo of the picture. So now not just a few thousand Czech people were able to see it but also millions of people across the world.

I won't link the story as the AP is paranoid about it but it should be easy to find. Just google "Xmas pic mysteriously becomes storefront ad".

Also make sure you choose the right policy on Flickr for your photos.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Boston Globe To Pass Gently Into The Good Night

Well, sort of. I guess that one billion dollars the New York Times threw at the The Boston Globe a few years ago didn't get them much. Reportedly now the Times is looking to sell the Globe. Maybe the Union will buy it and we will see how long it lasts.

It is also reported that Pinch told the Union to take the twenty-three percent pay cut despite their begging that he be a "mensch". Hey, if that doesn't illustrate how out-of-touch those Union writers with the non-firing clause are then nothing really will.

So here is a song for the Globe.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Supreme Court Not Allowed To Rule On TARP?

I have studied a bit on the Constitution and Bill of Rights but I am no legal expert but I find it hard to believe that the Supreme Court does not have the right to review and judge the TARP legislation and its implementation by the Executive Branch. That is what the Obama Administration argued unsuccessfully today in trying to prevent the hold place on the sale of Chrysler to Fiat as part of its bankruptcy.

The argument was that not only did the Pension Funds who were creditors not have standing but the fact that the TARP was used to give money to car companies rather then banks couldn't be reviewed either. The argument made was that move was in the national interest to protect against "disrupting the stability of the Nation’s economy and financial markets.”

I guess Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn't buy it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Whan All Blogging Is Vanity Blogging

This is my vanity blog. Hence the fact that maybe six people read it and most come through for my link to's post on making a California legal AR-15. It seems to be a a hot topic -- making a California legal AR-15 that is.

There is an ongoing kerfuffle in the Blogosphere because the National Review Online's Ed Whelan outed an anonymous blogger who had criticized him. Personally I blog anonymous here just because -- I blog professionally under my real name elsewhere.

Now if you look at Memeorandum at around 1921 EDT this is what you will see:

So the topic of the outing has become one of those things where people discuss and link back and forth. Why the outing occurred probably is not so important as the fact. I would think, though, that if you were worried about your blogging affecting your employment you might not want to do it.

Failed US Mayor Quarantined In China

The soon to be unelected Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, has been quarantined in China due to Swine Flue suspicions. How his trip to China with his wife will help develop the economy of New Orleans I am not sure.

On top of this whenever he is allowed to leave China he will be heading to Australia to make a speech. Why is it politicians across the world treat each other like Royalty?

Sounds like a boondoggle trip to me and probably at the New Orleans' population expense as well.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Google Trends And Hits

If you don't know I write two blogs related to government contracting and spending. I wrote a post this morning about how Congress is looking at saving the F-22 Raptor advanced fighter recommended for cancellation by Obama through foriegn sales. The post, Congress Using The Defense Budget To Try To Save The F-22, can be found here.

According to Google Trends the F-22 is the 8th hottest topic right now. (See picture below). My article is number one for news articles and number three for blog posts. I guess Google is confused as to what BNET: Government is about. It will be interesting to see what kind of hits I get. Unfortunately I won't know that until tomorrow.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Twitter and Revenue

Personally I have a hard time seeing how Twitter will be monetized. Obviously the founders of the company do too. They were quoted at a recent conference as stating "We don't know." when asked when the company will make money.

That is cool as long as they are not going out and trying to get money invested in them. If I were investing in a company and their business plan, at least in public, was "I don't know" I think I would hesitate a few moments before writing the cheque.

Oh, you can follow me at Twitter here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

American Housing Boom & Bust Illustrated

I pulled the assessment records for my house in Bristow, VA. This area was part of the far suburbs of Washington D.C. and experienced the full effect of this market crash. The County of Prince William now has a large amount of foreclosures and has suffered from a massive decline in assessed values. This of course makes it hard for people to sell their houses. Here are the assessments on my house:

2002 -- $237,400
2003 -- $276,900
2004 -- $311,300, I sold the house in August of that year for $370,000
2005 -- $384,100
2006 -- $470,400, the market peaked that year with someone paying $500,000 for a house on my street
2007 -- $421,100
2008 -- $343,600
2009 -- $266,600

I paid $203,000 in 1999 for the house so by 2006 it had increased 113% in price and by 2009 it had decreased 43% from its high. I expect the 2010 value to be lower as there are houses for sale now for around $260,000.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We Are Still In Germany and Japan Last Time I Checked

Glenn Reynolds highlights GEN Casey's statement that the U.S. Army is prepared to be in Iraq for ten more years. Last time I looked we have been in Germany and Japan about 64 years. I predict we will have a base in Iraq well past 2019.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another Twitter Movie

This one I made with my own tweets. It is the weirdest yet.

Apple and Intel

I am a firm believer in using AMD chips when I make my own PC. The prices can't really be beat. My primary computer uses Intel but it was an HP I got on the cheap form I just built my sons a PC using an AMD chip, and have built several PC's in the past with them. AMD has always struggled with Intel and now it turns out that even Apple and Intel colluded. This only harms the computer business in the long run as having competition only helps.

Updated to fix spelling and grammar errors.

Random Alabama Thunderstorms

Video of three different thunderstorms that rolled through on 24 May.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pelosi And CIA Face Off

According to the Washington Post there are no definitive accounts of what the CIA told Nancy Pelosi about the use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT). This is good for Nancy and it is good for the CIA. Really if open warfare does break out between the two not only would I root for the CIA but I would think they will win.

One of the major reasons is that if you go to or give a very sensitive briefing there won't be a great deal written down. If you do take notes they become working papers and must be classified, reviewed and stored. Been there and done that and it is always best with this sort of stuff to maintain minimum written papers. Electronic media is even worse and it is so easy to use. I will bet, though, that somewhere in Langley is a definitive account of what was said by whom at the briefings and it will be revealed when necessary.

Nancy needs to go talk to Scooter Libbie and the Plames to see what kind of fire she is playing with, and realize that the CIA will even sacrifice their own to protect themselves.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Second Twitter Movie

Ten more random tweets from around 9:00 PM CDT. This was before surprise American Idol ending so nothing about that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Newsweek, Spinal Tap and Me

Not to blow my own horn but I made this joke in February in this post. "Spinal Tap on their tour in the movie moved to smaller venues over the big arenas because their manager said they had become more exclusive. Newsweek is using the same excuse. I guess the same old liberal claptrap is more exclusive now."

Now, because of this article by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post, everyone else is making it. See The Corner here for example.

Heck they even got an Instalaunch. I never did.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thunderstorm in Harvest, Alabama

Some video of the thunderstorm that rolled through yesterday afternoon.

Random Twitter Movie

I made a Xtranormal movie by taking ten Tweets off of the Public Timeline from around 13:30 CDT today. I did a little editing for language and added some moves. It is pretty weird.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

One of the World's Longest Running Current Civil War Ends

The Sri Lankan government declared victory today in their twenty-six year civil war with the LTTE movement. After there had been a bloody fight in the Seventies between the Communists and Sri Lankan forces the Tamil minority in the North of the Island decided they needed to be independent.

The Tamil Tiger revolutionary movement has led the fighting for this. The war lasted a long time as the LTTE had support both from the Tamil expat community across the world as well as the Tamil people in India. In the Nineties Rajiv Ghandi tried to solve the problem with intervention and that failed. The LTTE were especially creative in their tactics using small boats especially to disrupt operations off of the coast.

It will be interesting to see how the Tamils are reintegrated into the country as it is estimated that 70,000 or more people have died. Sri Lanka used to be a peaceful backwater of the British Empire who last saw such excitement during WW II where it was a major British base threatened by the Japanese Empire.

Like many such places decolonization and independence led to conflict among the people living there. Perhaps now the country devastated by the Tsunami a few years ago can finally get on with peaceful growth.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How I Know I Am Not Hip

I follow Sarah Bareilles on Twitter because I like her music and her story. She doesn't post very often which is not surprising, but tonight she posted this twitpic. I don't know who this guy is, but lots of people do.

I guess I am not hip.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Arsenal Lose to Chelsea

Unfortunately this week Champions League play continued as Chelsea beat Arsenal 4-1 today. Arsenal should still finish fourth. So there is always next year.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Parker Griffith Set To Be A One Term Congressman

Our old Congressman, Bud Cramer, retired last year and Democrat Parker Griffith was elected. Most likely due to the fact that there was a lot of strait party voting and Obama coat tails helped him. Of course now that Obama has proposed a twenty percent cut to missile defense with severe effects on Huntsville he will likely lose in 2010. The primary job of our Congresspeople is to keep bringing in the defense and NASA dollars to HSV. Without them this area's economy will wither pretty fast -- and it has in the past after NASA ended the moon program and the boom-and-bust in defense spending.

Griffith wrote quickly as reported in the HSV Times "I will work with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to make sure our government is committed to these programs and they understand how vital multilayered missile defense systems like Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and the Standard Missile will always be to our nation and our international allies."

Of course if there is one defense program the liberal Democrats, who now run Washington, hate more then anything it is missile defense. So good luck on that Parker. People kind of told you this when you ran.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Arsenal Fails In Champions League

Arsenal continue their hit or miss play and lose, too easily, 3-1 at home to Man U. Now that team will be in the Champions League final against either Chelsea or Barcelona who play tomorrow. Arsenal were just horrible and it shows that Arshevin has been the spark for the improved play of late, unfortunately he could not play in these games. So wait until next year as there is no winning for Arsenal in anything.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The American Ruling Oligarchy

In the past worked indirectly with Congress, senior civil service, and senior military officers and our friends in the media I have often referred to our ruling class as an Oligarchy. They are a group who believe they are entitled to a great deal more then your or I all the while making decisions for the rest of us to just deal with. Not that some of them aren't motivated for the right reasons they just come to expect better treatment and services.

In the to-do over First Lady Obama's $540 French tennis shoes (I don't know maybe they are a gift or she got 'em on a discount) Instapundit coins the phrase THE NOMENKLATURA always get nice shoes..

The Nomenklatura were the Soviet ruling class who had better shops then the average comrade and could go overseas to buy stuff. In a way it is a pretty good term to describe our ruling elite.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama Subsidizes Failure To Keep People In Their Homes

According to this article at, Obama expands foreclosure fix, the Federal government is expanding the FDIC run mortgage modification program to cover both first and SECOND mortgages. This program is supposed to get the lender to adjust the payments down to 31% of people's income. Not many people have used it and it hasn't really worked as those who are delinquent quickly get delinquent again. Now in a bid to get more to use it the government is allowing the second mortgage people took out to pay their down payment to be included.

The interest rates will be reduced to 1 or 2%. Next it will be home equity loans, or vacation homes, or just give people money. Why do I pay my mortgage every month?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ethanol On The Way Out?

Let's just say I am not the biggest fan of Global Warming or the effects to regulate industry to deal with it. This decision though by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to begin attempts to lessen the greenhouse gases is good because it has a valuable side effect -- the removal of ethanol from the nation's gasoline system.

Ethanol it turns out creates more "greenhouse gases" then regular gasoline based on some science. Ethanol is expensive to make and transport and raises the price of food across the country. There have to be better sources of organic matter for fuel and some technology has been promising.

Much more to come on this.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Arshevin Dazzles

The late addition of Arshevin to Arsenal in January paid dividends yesterday as Arsenal drew Liverpool away 4-4. Arshevin had all four goals for the Gunners. It was an amazing performance. The only problem was that Arsenal was up 4-3 as the second half went into stoppage time. Somehow Liverpool scored. When will Aluminia be back?

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Xtranormal Fun

Here is a little video I made with my sons. WoW humor, what could be better?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fooling Around With Xtranormal Beta

I always wanted to make movies. Xtranormal allows you to make short ones using text. Here is my first attempt.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stupid Article in Newsweek About Textron and Defense Spending

This article was published today at I don't know if it will be in their print edition as I last read a copy of this magazine sometime in the Nineties. It is about Textron and the future of the company I guess during the Obama Administration. Somehow it links the downturn in the economy to the rise of Obama on the national stage, but I haven't figured out that relationship. One of the statements in the article is especially egregious -- "Money was cheap, the defense budget was growing, and your customers didn't particularly care how much anything cost." The Pentagon and the U.S. Government care very deeply how much things cost especially for military hardware. Bell, a unit of Textron, lost the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) contract because cost and schedule spiraled upwards. The AH-1Z and UH-1Y programs came close to ending for the same reason. The Pentagon though is often hamstrung in these cases as they have made a commitment to a program, a needed program, and have to deal with the cost increases over time. In many cases the Services contribute to the cost increases because requirements change after the contracts are awarded. Believe me though based on experience cost is a deep concern with these kind of programs.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Obama to Devestate Huntsville

Update -- Gates' proposed cutting about 20% from the MDA budget mainly by eliminating new interceptors for the Midcourse Defense system and ABL. Not a great response from Congress especially our local Democrat, Parker Griffith. Of course he realizes his reelection could hang on this. More to come on the budget as it makes its way through Congress.

Rumors are here in The Weekly Standard that the new defense budget to be announced on Monday will "dissolve" the Missile Defense Agency. It was thought that there would be big cuts to the various missile defense programs but nothing as big as this. Now of course it could mean that the programs are returned to their respective services - the Army and Navy - but it also could mean they go away. Much of the MDA has been slowly moving to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. Eliminating the Agency will eliminate a lot of Federal civil service and contractors jobs just supporting the infrastructure. The reason the Agency was created in the first place was to prevent the Services from raiding the funding to pay for their own priorities. If the various systems are given to them they might just go ahead and do that. Anyway a big chunk of the Huntsville & Madison County economy will go away. Let's hope this is not completely true.

Pinch Sulzburger and the Globe

So not only has Arthur Sulzberger Jr. destroyed the New York Times it looks like he will also take down The Boston Globe. I read this growing up in MA as we really had no choice. It has become a typical lefty Democratic rag but still it is hard to believe that it could go down like this.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Public Housing in Huntsville

The Huntsville Housing Authority has been quietly buying up apartment buildings in the city to spread out the people currently in public housing. Section 8 vouchers will be used to pay for a lot of them to live in this new subsidized housing. There has been a great deal of angst about this as the city has not told people where the new concentrations of residents will be. Also people currently living in the apartments will be forced to leave if they make too much money. The Huntsville Times reports on the issue here. The answer to their question, as The Atlantic found out, is probably yes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lileks on the Internet

I have enjoyed James Lilek's work since I discovered it on the internet back around 2001, I think. This paragraph he wrote in yesterday's bleat describes to me exactly how I use the internet.

"the internet is a giant distributed information storage and retrieval system, and the most powerful tools are the meat-and-water units attached at the end by their fingertips. But some, it seemed, googled it. That’s fine. But it reminded me that there’s a difference between knowing a thing and knowing how it find it. Does the distinction matter? Well, yes. For obvious reasons, it helps to know how to make a fire, as opposed to knowing where you can get pdfs online of the Boy Scout Handbook. But knowing things lets you make connections in your head you can’t get with the web; the intenret leads you from point A to point 85, and while it’s usually an interesting anabasis, all you remember at the end is how one damn thing leads to another, not connects to another. It’s as if we dump out a jigsaw puzzle on the table and compliment ourselves on seeing 500 pieces, instead of the picture they’re supposed to form.

I know, I know - I’m talking about knowing the source of an amusingly dubbed Hong Kong movie that concerns mock outrage over rice. I wonder if it’s on YouTube."

My problem is I never write things down or bookmark them and forget by the next day what I found. The same is true with Amazon and books, and YouTube with music. There is so much out there to find and remember.

Video of my Mazdaspeed3

This is a video I made fooling around with my car, my Vado, audio editing software and so on. Driving around Athens, AL one night.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Premiership Returning to Norm

First Hull City and then Aston Villa flirted with success but now with only two months to go the big four teams assert themselves. With Arsenal destroying Blackburn 4-0 and Villa losing Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have taken the four top spots. Coming off of a lame win on penalties over Rome in Rome to advance in the Champions League Arsenal shook off some of their lethargy behind Arshevin. He was able to "bamboozled Danny Simpson with a great piece of chicanery and lashed his shot from a tight angle beyond Robinson." according to the Telegraph. Maybe these four goals and the return of Eduardo and Walcott will shake the team loose and they will score like they are capable off.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Washington Post Gets Smaller To Serve Their Readers Better

In the continuing saga of print newspapers struggling to make money the Washington Post announced it is folding the business section into the front page section. Using the argument, as reported at the Politico, "designed to signal to readers the centrality of economic news, as well as the increasing overlap of political and economic events, in today’s world." They use the argument put out by Newsweek as we discussed in this post that their audience is more exclusive now. At this rate the Post will shrink to be like the New York Post - all one large section.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chas Freeman

I am not a big fan of the Chas Freeman pick, but how much can The Weekly Standard keep piling it on?

Update -- He withdrew. This is interesting because outside of an article in The Washington Post yesterday the MSM did not report on any controversy with this pick.

See Powerline for more.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Dying Cities of America

Back earlier this year the Weekly Standard wrote an article about Detroit. One of my friends from Northern California reacted in shock that there could be a city like this in America. Unfortunately the country is covered in cities like this. Ones where the industry died and the middle class fled to the suburbs and only the poor and hard up remain. Cities like St. Louis where swathes of the North Side are abandoned. The site, Built St. Louis, describes how that city is changing not necessarily for the better. Even the city near me, Huntsville, which is dynamic and growing still has large areas that are poor, ugly and need development. It is a sad state of affairs, but one that will not change for a while.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Think Excite Weather is a Little Confused

I am hoping it is not really -15 degrees outside. I think it is more like 50 degrees F.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Revolution Starts at Noon

I am conservative when it comes to politics but I am far from active. I vote and keep up on things. I read a lot of blogs, mostly righty ones, and I guess the fact that the Republican Party is on the outs right now is leading to an active discussion of its future. Somehow Rush's speech at CPAC has galvanized the "grow the party by appealing to moderate" wing against the "hardcore" right. Here are a couple of posts that seem to summarize things. First at The Strata-Sphere the moderate argument is made. Then at Ace of Spades is the middle view, the base is important to the Part as a whole. Then at Riehl World View is the more stronger support of the Rush view. Makes you think in a sad way of this scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snow in Alabama

We woke up to find it had really snowed in Alabama. This is the first heavy snow we have had since we moved here 41/2 years ago.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Arsenal Comes Through

Arsenal won the key game today beating Roma 1-0 at home. They were the only team of eight playing today in Champions League match ups to win. The fact that they scored only 1 goal will put pressure on them in Roma, but they only need to play for a 0-0 draw. This is one of the unfortunate things about how the games go. Now if they could only move up past Aston into fourth place in the Premiership.

Monday, February 23, 2009

They Don't Make Protests Like They Used To

Some NYU students were occupying a cafeteria to protest Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip. Today the administration finally said enough is enough. Pretty pathetic if you ask me. Now you see the violence inherent in the system.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Interesting Tax Proposals from The Strata-Sphere

One of the blogs I read regularly is The Strata-Sphere. Today he has some interesting proposals on taxes and sharing the pain of the current economic conditions. They make too much common sense, like cutting the capital gains and business tax, to ever be implemented. They are though worth reading and thinking about. He proposes that nobody under 18, or 25 if in college, pay medicare or social security taxes. These people if they get a better education will make up the few years of non-payment and their extra income will help pay for school as well as put money in the economy. He also proposes that all people pay some sort of income tax, even if it is a moderate amount. We have a constant fight about that in Alabama as basically the system has been updated so that the highest tax bracket starts at about 18K. I never have been a fan of the Earned Income Tax Credit, and this would probably be one way to end it. Anyway, read his post here and see what you think.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Raiders Do the Right Thing

The Raiders signed Nnamdi Asomugha to a three year contract. This is the best thing they have done in a long time. They avoided franchising him for a second year and will keep him until 2011. For the last two years he has been their best player. Now if they could get some lineman and receivers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Intellectual Humor

I only claim to be an intellectual (I am really a snob). I love this quote though from Professor Paul Gottfried: "Cultural illiteracy, like the French Left in 1919, constitutes a consistent whole."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Sounds Like A Bad Monty Python Skit -

This has to be made up as there is no way this is true? Local Muslim leader who founded cable channel to build trust between Muslims and mainstream America arrested for decapitating his wife. See for the story.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Altavista Lives

Altavista was an early search engine and like many of them has been subsumed by google. I didn't even know it was still around but when I was checking the traffic for my website on defense contracting I found two hits from it there. Pretty neat!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Newsweek Pulls A Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap on their tour in the movie moved to smaller venues over the big arenas because their manager said they had become more exclusive. Newsweek is using the same excuse. I guess the same old liberal claptrap is more exclusive now.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Growing Divide Between the State and the Public

The San Jose Mercury News has an interesting article about how regular Californians are reacting to the furlough twice a month of state employees. Let's just say that most people would prefer to have a job even though you miss two days a month without pay. The interesting thing it does is compare the average salary of a state worker, $63 K a year, with the average resident, $56 K. It also points out that the state pays $25 K a year in benefits for the average state worker. These are just averages as there are plenty of people in both groups who make a lot more then this. It does highlight though that if the downturn continues there might be more schisms between those without jobs and those with "gummermint" ones.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Teams Move Forward

Arsenal after the longest time and breaking Wenger's habits of no January signings get Arshevin in the fold. He better propel them past Villa or it will be a long off season. He is only getting about $160,000 a week to do this.

Raiders kept Cable which makes sense as they were off hiring coordinators and such before the head coach. He was decent filling in for Kiffin, who I still say shouldn't have been fired. If they can get a stud wide receiver and work on the lines then they might see 8-8 next year.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Someone in the UK Gets It - The Government Has Decided What You Want for Too Long

This article at The Daily Telegraph describes the different responses of EU countries to the world's economic downturn. The point is that due to EU rules on labor movement there is little a country can do to protect native jobs from being undercut by the importation of cheaper labor. One of the arguments of the conservative side in the U.S. at least is that if you let Government take responsibility for everything they will then end up deciding everything for you. You want cheeseburger? Not good for you, sorry, have a carrot instead. A commentator to this article, geoffthereff, writes:

"Has the day finally arrived when the politicians discover that what they thought the people needed is not what they actually want." (sic).

Unfortunately, I doubt it in the U.K. or in the U.S. The ruling, political elite thinks they know what is best in the U.S. but then doesn't live by the rules they want to force on the people. See Al Gore, Tom Daschle, President Obama, and so on for recent examples.

This Used to Be A Good Thing..

For as long as I can remember the media and politicians have complained about the low savings rate of Americans. Now that the economy has collapsed and requires spending to save it the more we put in our bank accounts hurts the economy. Why doesn't the Federal government spend $800 billion by giving everyone a credit card with $2500 on it and let them by useless electronics items.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

If This is True Huntsville Will Not Be Good in 2010

Fox News reports that Obama directed a >10% cut in the FY10 budget. They are the only source for this story at this time. If this is true, and during the campaign FCS and missile defense were specifically targeted by Obama, then Huntsville will take some major blows to its economy starting in October 2009. Lots of jobs will be lost, probably mainly contractor, but also government if acquisition programs are hacked. To clear $55 billion the programs are going to have to be hacked as that is probably close to 25% of the investment part of the budget. Most of it goes for people, beans and benefits which a lot of people don't realize. Of course the question is will Congress allow it as that is a lot of pork and constituent jobs gone.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mazda Ad for My Car

I don't remember seeing this ad when I bought my Protege5 in 2002. I saw a review on the internet and got a good price. Here is the ad though:

Arsenal Look Set to Sign Arshavin

I didn't really think Wenger would do it, but Skynews reports that the team has got a work permit for him. That means they must be pretty close to bringing him in. See this article for more. The Daily Telegraph also reports that the team is comfortable not being in the Champions League next year financially so maybe they are expecting to be in the Top 5 or 6 vice 4.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Air Photo

I am trying out Air Photo. This application for the iPhone 3G allows you to print directly from your phone's camera roll. It skips the step of downloading to the computer and then printing. It works wirelessly. It is a neat ap and one I can use a lot.

Parker Griffith Must Consider Himself Vulnerable

According to The Weekly Standard the eleven Democrats who voted against the "stimulus bill" are considered vulnerable in 2010. I guess Parker Griffith is one of these as he voted against it. I am sure he will vote for it when the conference bill is made with the Senate. It is good to know though that he thinks he needs to stay to the right of the Pelosi Democrats.

Reasonable MSM Post on the Stimulus Bill

Probably by the time I write this the house will have voted on the bill, but this article at CNN Money is a reasonably fair and accurate post on the differences between the Pelosi Democrats and the Republicans in Congress. Why didn't I see this kind of stuff when George Bush was President?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

History and Control

Somehow if you read this the AP is writing history before it happens. I think Obamahas been President for less than five days now. I also think some of his moves and language are pretty divisive. See the Whitehouse Website for more.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Democrats and Huntsville

Huntsville is a creature of the Federal Government. Yes there are some significant companies like Adtran or Digium that do not rely on the Federal teat for money, but he bulk of the economy is related to the Army and NASA. One of the core programs being run out of the Arsenal is missile defense. Unfortunately President Obama talked in the campaign about how it needs to be reduced or cut. We have a Democratic Congressman newly elected to replace the old Democratic Congressman and he quickly is realizing that he needs to support the Army and the local economy. He was on the local news here saying how Obama is starting to support missile defense and the military. Nice to know. This is why many argue we need a Republican to support us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Doug and the Talking Heads

Doug was one of the original Nicktoons (along with Rugrats and Rem & Stimpy). It was about a middle school age boy, a dog, and his adventures in Bluffington. It had one episode when he formed a rock band to perform at the local rich girls party. He knew he had to wear a suit with "big shoulders" like David Byrne. It was a cool show as it had some great adult allusions especially for those of us who grew up in the Eighties.

Argument in the Right Wing Blogosphere

The argument among the Right/Conservative blogosphere is how to react to Obama. This post at The Strata-Sphere is a perfect example. The author wants to set a tone of respect for the new President while arguing against his policies. There is also a core of people who want to treat him with all the respect and decorum that President Bush received from the left. The comments to this post make the argument either way.

Personally the left will probably reap what they sowed. Maybe there will be really nutty Republican Congressman to lead the charge or a conservative equivalent of Code Pink. We have at least four years to see.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lunatic Fringe

I saw Tom Cochrane, the lead singer of Red Rider, in 1992 opening for the Smithereens. It was at the Bayou a great club in DC that was blown up to build a parking garage ten years ago or so. This, to me, though was always a disappointing video.

Homelessness and George Bush

James Taranto at Best of the Web has a running joke that the media rediscover's homelessness when there is a Republican President. See Fridays entry for an example. It is about half way down. Now according to Scripps Media in a story linked here at Wizbang, homlessness was down 30% during President Bush's time due to an unpublicized initiative his U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness took. I guess better late then never.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bad Driving

Some guy cut me off today on Route 255 and I almost blew my transmission as I downshifted into second at way too high a speed. The poor Honda Accord behind me almost wrecked as well. I hate that.

Sort of Like the Suicide Commandos of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Judea

Or the People's Front or some such splinter organization. Apologies to Monty Python.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

HIlarious Comment on A Story About Government Cutbacks

This post at Reason magazine's blog, Hit and Run, discusses how San Diego cannot afford to have staff at skate parks. The point is that people are actually enjoying themselves doing things there they could not before. This comment is one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.

Leonidas | January 15, 2009, 9:59am | #

Except for Michelle Kendleton, who was there last week supervising her helmet-wearing son Kyle, 9. "This is madness," she said as she watched skateboarders two and three times her son's age zoom by without regard for the newly posted rules.


THIS ... IS ... SAN DIEGO!!!

[kicks Kendleton down the half-pipe]

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Find This Report Shocking

Hey let's manipulate statistics to pimp our pet issue and maybe we can get some money out of it. The New York Times reports Report Calls Online Threats to Children Overblown. I always found it hard to believe the billboards with there 20% statistic. Not that the internet can be a dangerous place for kids.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

If Congressman Rangel Cannot Pay His Taxes Why Would You Expect This Guy?

Obama's nomination for Treasury Secretary forgot to pay 34 K in taxes. Oh well, I am sure he will still be confirmed. Excite story is here. Somehow he remembered to pay them a few days before he was nominated.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Changes in Wine Botteling

The last two bottles of moderate Italian wine I purchased had screw tops. One was red and the other white. I had heard that more and more vintners in Europe were moving to the screw top, but this is the first evidence I have seen of it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nerf and Guns

I went ahead and ordered another 50 round belt for the EBF-25, but this is taking things a little to far. Also alcohol and Nerf guns don't mix.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blog Statistics and the Holidays

I write for the Defense Procurement News site. Hits have been down for the last few weeks. Yesterday they soared as the accompanying google analytics graph shows. Most of that site's hits are from people at work and I guess they all came back yesterday.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rumors Swirl Around Raiders that Make My Leg Tingle

There are reports that Al Davis may be selling off his controlling interest. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Raiders deny this. They also have "talked to" Kevin Gilbride but have not interviewed him for the coaching job. Of course being the Raiders they could have hired him before yesterday, but now they have to wait until the Giants are eliminated from the playoffs.

Terrorist Could Use Insects,or Bats, or Even Balloons

Yes the gist of this article in The Telegraph is true, terrorists could use insects to spread disease. Unfortunately for them the logistics of this kind of attack are horrible and there are much easier ways to do this. In WWII the U.S. was going to use "bat bombs" against Japan and then realized it was a lot more effective to use B-29. The Japanese launched paper balloons carrying incendiary warheads and managed to kill an Oregon family. These kind of things look good on paper but are in the end ineffective.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The First Rule of Holes and California State Employees

Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed eliminating some of the paid holidays that State workers get each year as an attempt to balance the budget. This of course has not been well received by the unions. In this article in the San Jose Mercury News there is a state employee interviewed about how she doesn't want to give up any of their 14 holidays. You can argue that it will require a renegotiation of the contract and won't really save money but her quote at the end explains why people get upset at bureaucrats. "The public always cries about the benefits we get," she said, "but that's the perk of working for state government."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Random BrightKite Photo

This is a photo of sunset near Helensburgh, Scotland. I used to live near here thirty-five years ago. It is nice to see it is still beautiful scenery. It is from intoxicated's stream.

Alabama Stinks Up A House

Well most of the good feeling that Alabama fans had this year was erased by the last two games. Last night it looked like Alabama had slept for the last month rather then prepare for Utah. Thank God John Parker Wilson will be gone, although his last game (probably ever) was one of his worst. Pages and pages will be written about Andre Johnston's absence, and I guess he played his last game for Alabama as well. Way to ruin your career at Alabama Andre.

Oh well, as they always say, wait until next year.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Random Ugly Building on BrightKite

This photo is of an apartment building in London from ampster's stream. It is not a very attractive building with the top floor extension and chimneys (?).

Connecticut Democratic Legislators Don't Know Much About Economics

This article at discusses new laws going into effect in Connecticut. One of them passed over the Republican governor's veto was an almost 5% raise in the minimum wage. The argument for it was that "Supporters say the increase is necessary for workers, particularly in a sluggish economy...". Yeah, that's it, we will have less workers but they might be paid a little more. Increasing business' costs in a recession will certainly increase job growth. I think not.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Toys I Wish That I Had as a Child

They didn't even make these back in 1978. That's too bad as my brothers and I could have had a lot of fun with this.