96, 67.8, 0.3 
96 Percent of mortgage owners are "fulfilling their commitments." That's a tad vague but I would say that means they are paying on time or close enough to on time that the mortgage lender doesn't need to take further action.

Home ownership in the U.S. is 67.8 per cent; higher than it was in the 'prosperous' years of '98, '99, and 2000.*

Home ownership has 'fallen' 3/10 of 1 per cent during this current housing 'crisis.'

...if the numbers George Will gives are correct, that is, and I have little reason to doubt him. Today's column is right on the money. We have it so good nowadays that when we hit a little bump, the media panics, blames Bush, and rallies behind their candidate, Obama, and push the message of hope and change; without, of course, really saying what that means.

If people have to work a little harder, maybe cut some expenses, or postpone 'retirement' from 59 to 62, everyone panics and presidential candidates tell us that we have it so bad and the only solution is voting for 'change' - instead of instilling change in ourselves with our habits. To me, 'change' isn't voting for Obama, it's making the needed adjustments to live your life. So, if you buy something you can't afford, eventually it will catch up with you. If you have to put off buying that new car or can't take a family vacation this year, or have to delay retirement a few years, so be it. That not is not hardship. It's called dealing with it. It is not a sign of a crisis. If anything, it's an indicator of how good we have it.


*Census Link that covers through 2007.

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Bad PR 


Oops! I meant to buy tickets for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, not the Leigh Valley IronPigs!

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Vultures 


I snapped this photo of these two vultures perched in the copse behind my house yesterday morning. It's not uncommon to see turkey vultures in the field behind my house but a few weeks ago I had noticed increased activity; often three or four at a time circling and landing on trees and the grass. So, I took a stroll back there and saw two deer carcasses in the brush near where it meets the open field. Directly to the left of where those two vultures sit in that picture, are more houses, a complete street to be exact; about the same distance to these birds that my house is. So, with the mystery of the increased vulture activity explained, I wonder who or what put those carcasses there. Plus, I haven't looked for about two weeks so perhaps there is something new back there. By the way, there is enough of the deer remains to rule out that someone is doing taxidermy. Plus, the remains are mixed in with tree limbs that are machine cut so it has to be someone putting them there. My guess is that someone does his own butchering and just dumps what's left in the brush. I have no problem with that, by the way and it is likely whoever is doing it, owns that lot. I was looking at the township tax maps and quite a bit of that land in that field is privately owned but I can't tell if that particular lot is owned by an individual or the township. I also can't tell if that lot borders ours and if it does, it's on the far side of his nowhere near where our lot ends. Regardless, that person's use of that land is more favorable than building something on it. Trust me, I am not complaining at all.

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Eat Me 
...or maybe I'll eat you. I guess it all depends on who's hungrier. Once again proving that America is the only nation on earth where a person with an IQ of 43 can become a billionaire, quintessential nutjob Ted Turner believes that Global Warming will cause humans to resort to cannibalism. When they passed out the Global Warming Kool-Aid, some said no thanks, some took a drink, and Ted drank about three gallons and asked for more. What a maroon.

It is scary that a person with wealth and influence actually believes something like this.

It some ways, however, listening to Ted should inspire all Americans. After all, if he can make it big, certainly anyone else can. Ted has certainly proved that being stupid is not a hindrance to success*. However, if becoming successful means becoming a loon like Ted, I would hope most Americans would say: "No thanks; being rational and intelligent is more important than fame and fortune."



*Most celebrities have proved this too.

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Postcard from Michael Yon 
I got a postcard from Michael Yon today. Michael is a blogger and observer who spends a lot of time in Iraq. He chronicles what he sees and though he's not a journalist, many journalists can learn a lot from him.



The front ^ and back v



A link to Michael's Blog is on the right. Be sure to check it out. If you can, donate to him as well. I'll ask the library I frequent if they will order the book and I have added it to my reading list, which is usually two or three books deep but I can certainly fit this one in.

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FreeBSD 7.0-Release 
I have a secondary machine that I've been running FreeBSD on for a few years. In fact, if it weren't for me shutting everything down when I went on vacation last summer and one time hooking up a UPS, it would have probably been up that long too; well, a year at least. Alas, I bade farewell to 4.11 and prepared for 7.0.
# >uptime
> 8:11 PM up 258 days, 1:11, 1 user, load averages: 1.00, 1.00, 1.00


That dates back to July and it was up well over 100 days at that time, which was the time elapsed since I turned it off in order to plug it into a UPS.

And then...
# >halt

I also pulled out the 8.4GB hard drive and put in a 40GB drive. Other than that, it's still the same PII 400MHz, 128MB RAM machine.

The install went as easily as any FreeBSD install does. The only problem I had was that Mr. Butterfingers hit the wrong menu choice at the end of the install and instead of exiting and rebooting, it started the install again. I got an error and was stuck in a loop - a "...try again?" type message; I selected 'no' but it still wanted to install again. So, I unplugged the power cord and it rebooted fine with the install I just did intact.

I don't bother installing X or a plugging a mouse in because I use it as a server. Although, one doesn't need X or a mouse to chat on IRC, IM, or even browse the web. All told, I spent maybe an hour installing and configuring it. From an end-user's perspective, I haven't noticed too many changes, so far, except that the Apache default DocumentRoot is under /usr/local/www/data now instead of /usr/local/apache/htdocs and the boot screen is slightly different. The Daemon screensaver, of course, is unchanged. As usual, I'll tinker with it here and there as time permits.

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Kwame Kilpatrick is a Democrat 
Heck, someone has to say it. NBC, CBS, and NBC can't bring themselves to say it. But when the accused is Larry Craig or David Vitter, according to that link, their party is mentioned without fail:
The big three broadcast networks have gone out of their way to avoid labeling scandal-scarred New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a "Democrat." An examination of the fifteen ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows through Wednesday night finds Spitzer was called a Democrat just 20 percent of the time -- twice on CBS, once on ABC, and never on NBC. So, how do the networks treat Republicans involved in sex scandals? Always, always as "Republicans." Looking at the ABC, CBS, NBC morning and evening shows in the days after the most recent scandals broke, Republican Senators David Vitter (July) and Larry Craig (August) were labeled "Republican" on every show (100 percent). Yet for Democrat Spitzer, four out of five news programs (80 percent) have skipped his party identification....


A Google search for "Kwame Kilpatrick is a democrat" yields 6 - SIX - results.

A Google search for "Larry Craig is a republican" yields 12,000 results.

If the search is changed to something more likely to appear in print:

"Democrat Kwame Kilpatrick" - we get 341 results.

"Republican Larry Craig" - we get 10,400 results.

What does this prove? One, the actions of a US Senator are more newsworthy than the actions of the mayor of the 11th largest city in the US*. A city, by the way, that has been beset with economic woes, shrinking population, and rampant crime. So, I suppose that scandal, corruption, and criminal activity by the mayor isn't really surprising. Two, when a Republican does something wrong, his party label follows him like a shadow, almost becoming part of his name. However, when a Democrat is accused of all sorts of debauchery, the party affiliation is treated like a non-essential piece of information.

In the Eliot Spitzer vs. Larry Craig Google News watch, a Google News search for Eliot Spitzer still yields over 35,000 results and Larry Craig yields about 2,800. The Spitzer searches may be inflated some as many hits yield stories about the woman involved too. I tried to filter those out by inserting "-call" "-girl" and still get about 17,000. I am sure Google will fix this problem by late summer (there is an election this year) and make sure the Larry Craig stories outnumber Spitzer ones. As for Kilpatrick, he hits about 5,300 now on Google News so he'll be below the Craig number much sooner.


*Unless, of course, if Kilpatrick were Republican and Craig a Democrat, the question would be "Larry who?"

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Stimulus 


The letter informing us about receiving a stimulus came today. Instead of spending like drunken sailors like so many Americans do, anyone who gets a check should 1) use it to pay down debt; credit card debt first or 2) put into a savings account. Other good uses are retirement funds, college funds, and home improvements. Naturally, ours will go into savings right away until we decide if we need any home improvements or to pad the three college funds a little.

Unfortunately, the reality is that all this package will do is augment the already rapid rising costs of goods. It's a 'feel good' move that will likely do little other than make things cost more which, of course, hinders people from paying debt or saving.

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You Gotta be Kidding Me 
Here's our local 15-day forecast from Accuweather.com:

[Link]

Isn't it supposed to get warmer as we get closer to April? The average high/low by late March is 53/32. Looks like another bitter cold spring is on the way. Maybe we'll get lucky and the forecast will be wrong - hopefully on the plus side of that deplorable forecast.

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Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat 
...but you wouldn't know it from this AP article. How about this CNN story? Nope, not there. Don't tell me the MSM doesn't have a liberal bias.

New York has 19.3 million residents.
Idaho has 1.5 million residents.

It will be interesting to see if this scandal about a governor of a state with nearly 20 million people gets even one-third the press a scandal about a senator from a state with about 1.5 million people got.

This story is still breaking as I type this so who knows where this will go.

Update 1: the Corner (National Review) points out a slideshow of scandals put together by ABC. In short, 13 people are identified six of the seven Republicans are identified as such but only one of the six Democrats is identified as such. The Corner also notes the absence of Mel Reynolds which is understandable because they can't have the number of Democratic scandals equal to or greater than Republican; D must never be greater than R-1. As the old saying goes: "he who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."

Update 2: Newsbusters points out how when the Larry Craig scandal broke in August, it was horns-a-blowin' and trumpets-a-blarin' time when it came to making sure we knew what party Larry Craig belonged to - the word 'Republican' was the fourth word out of Kate Snow's mouth on ABC and NBC's Brian Williams somehow managed to hold out until the middle of his second sentence.

The only way this Spitzer saga gets near the press Larry Craig did is if the media spends time discussing the good Spitzer has done.

Update 3: typing "eliot spitzer is a democrat" into Google does not yield a link to my site yet. Given how often Googlebot visits my site, this is suspicious.

Columns read: entry/hits/files/Kbytes/visits/hostname (March 2008 only)

1 579 8.05% 550 9.17% 16705 12.15% 73 5.59% crawl-66-249-67-207.googlebot.com

Alltheweb, it's sixth. Altavista, it's sixth also. Maybe Google has a quota on how many negative stories about Democrats it will return.

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Feckless 
Seems to be a lot of negative stories in the news of late. I guess since progress is being made in Iraq, the MSM needs to find, and cheer on, negativity elsewhere.

Mortgage meltdown/subprime crisis.
Soaring gas prices.
Downturn in the stock market.
Inflation.
Possible recession on the horizon (by traditional definition, not because Warren Buffett or the NyTimes say so).

The people wanted a Democratic majority in Congress and they got it. This current group is redefining the term feckless.

And what are the more influential Senators doing about these problems? Why, they are running for President! They can't manage the country as congressmen and women but they say they can as President. Instead of spending time in Ohio, Texas, or Wyoming, they should be working for the people they represent now, not whom they want to represent in the future.

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Brian Shrugged 
When I first heard about it, I thought it was a joke. But, alas, it's true. Atlas Shrugged is being made into a movie. Angelina J---- is Dagny (I think Jodie Foster would be a better choice) and some noname* is John Galt, which could be a good thing. If Hank Reardon turns out to be played by B--- P----, I'll barf, even though I have no intention of seeing the film. Given how long the novel is, I wonder how long the movie will be. I wonder how they will incorporate John Galt's speech, which is about 50 pages long, into the natural constraints of film.

It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. What happens in the novel is a disaster, but that's not the kind if disaster I think the movie will be.

People would be better off reading the book instead of getting the canned version from a movie studio.

No matter, I won't go see it. Even if I'm wrong and it's critically acclaimed, that will unlikely bring me to the theater or DVD rental place.


*Of course, to me, most actors are nonames, although the media does a good job keeping me informed by treating celebrity gossip as news.

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