Iran Missile Launch Pic Photoshopped? 
Making the rounds on the usual blogs this morning I found this post that claims a photo released by Iran showing some missiles launching was Photoshopped. Judge for yourself.

Update (07/11): The MSM finally catches on; two days late.

[ add comment ] ( 752 views )   |  permalink
The Fourth 
Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday. Looks like a rainy one locally; hard to say if they'll be able to fit the local fireworks shows in. I hope they can but it's too early in the day to tell.

Take a few minutes today to read the Declaration of Independence. I read it about 2-3 times a year and learn something from it each and every time.

Also, I ran across a quote today:

A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American.

- Woodrow Wilson



[ 1 comment ] ( 769 views )   |  permalink
I agree with Joe Klein 
Kill Your Air Conditioner

At least in part. Let's practice some restraint out there. If you read my blog you know how I feel about air conditioning.

The last thing we want is the government regulating our energy usage. Laugh if you will, but it's coming. Yes, A/C may only contribute to 4% of our energy usage but, still, cutting down the luxuries (A/C is a luxury, not a necessity in most homes; especially in the northern half of the country) is a good way to reduce some energy consumption. A little here and a little there can indeed add up.

[ add comment ] ( 762 views )   |  permalink
Google Sucks 
Anti-Obama == Spamblog? Well according to Google, it seems.

From Newsbusters: Google Shuts Down Anti-Obama Sites on its Blogger Platform

But in Google's defense, they are a business and they can do what they want. The problem is, however, that too many people, especially younger people, are overdependent on Google for their information. The attitude seems to be that if Google can't find it, it doesn't exist. And, hey, "they only censor in China at the request of the Chinese government, they wouldn't dare filter results right here in the good ol' USA..."

Riiiiiiight.

[ 5 comments ] ( 863 views )   |  permalink
World War II Weekend 
I went to the World War II Weekend Air Show at the Reading airport yesterday. Good show, as usual, and one day I will book a flight on the Yankee Lady. At $425 a pop, it's pricey. A friend of mine did it a few years ago and, as expected, he said it was just awesome.

I got to chat for a few minutes with Mike Kuryla, a survivor of the USS Indianapolis. He spent five days and four nights in the water in a small, 8-10 person raft. If you're not familiar with the Indianapolis, I would recommend reading Abandon Ship! by Richard F. Newcomb. Mr. Kuryla lives in Illinois and doesn't care for the sea; even the smell of it bothers him. Mr. Kuryla is also the first person I have ever met who has drunk sea water mixed with oil. I cannot even begin to imagine how horrible that whole ordeal was. He also said there are 77 living of the original 316 survivors of the Indianapolis.

The weather was favorable, hot, and I like it hot; 93F is fine by me. Last year it was nice but on the day I could go, rain moved in. Two years ago, we got a clunker weekend; cloudy and rain and temperatures barely getting to 60. So, it was good to go for the first time in a few years.

I posted some pictures here. Some have information in the header, some do not.

[ add comment ] ( 28859 views )   |  permalink
Economics 101 
The New Supreme Maxim of Economics:

"If U.S. unemployment increases to a level that is still historically low, then the price of oil and gasoline must immediately increase to record levels, the DJIA must drop 3%, and experts will insist that the economy is in tatters."

From a McClatchy Newspapers article:

The U.S. economy entered dangerous new terrain Friday as the unemployment rate notched its highest monthly jump in 22 years...


Since when is 5.5% unemployment "dangerous new terrain?" They act like we've never seen that number before. If people has this current mindset 75 years ago, we would have destroyed ourselves by 1940. This kind of terminology gives testimony to the strength and wisdom of those who lived through the Great Depression.

Let's put this in perspective. In April, 95/100 people who wanted to and were able to work, were working. In May, that number fell to 94.5/100. Oh. My. God. Get with it people, we are talking a difference of 0.005. Ho. Lee. Shit. Things must be horrible. People nation-wide must be standing in soup lines and children must be sharing one pair of shoes with their siblings*.

Yes, a half-percent spike in unemployment is not good news, but it is not unheard of. This may be hard to believe due to the tone of the article but in 1980, we had successive jumps of .6% - March 6.3, April 6.9, May 7.5. In 1974 we saw the same thing - 6% in October, 6.6 in November and 7.2 in December. If a jump to 5.5% is bleak, a jump from 6 to 7.2 in three months must be the end of the world. It wasn't, of course, and if those asshole speculators and traders or whoever cries wolf at this news would stop panicking whenever there is a blip on the radar, maybe things would be a little better. We're in this loop of a self-fulfilling prophecy and by merely thinking that things aren't good, we make them worse. Show a little optimism (almost impossible because of the US media whose standing order number one is never say anything good about the economy while Dubya is in office) and maybe things will take a turn for the better. We have it so good and yet we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot by yelling "recession" every time there's a hiccup.

People in the 1930's and 40's certainly would not have been able to cope with all this. Yes. Think of them. Dropping out of school at 15 to work in non air-conditioned silk mills. They never had time to think about how "bleak" things were. Oh wait, maybe they did. After all, one has a lot of time to think when standing in mile-long soup lines.

The media needs to put on lid on it and stop spinning this web of gloom and doom.



*A neighbor of my grandmother once told me that this wasn't unusual in the 30's. My grandmother, of course, backed this up.

[ add comment ] ( 4403 views )   |  permalink
Letter to the Editor Today 
Another letter to the editor:

[Link]

They edited it slightly, too. The last line originally read: "Let us all join in unison and walk with pride!"

And the irony is that 64 years ago today, steel made at that plant was likely incorporated into vehicles, airplanes, weapons, ships, and other items and being carried across the English Channel and onto French soil.

[ 1 comment ] ( 905 views )   |  permalink
First Quarterly Decline in GDP in Five Years 
...in Canada.

The article is an interesting read because of the sense of optimism the Canadian press has; optimism that U.S. press never reports when it comes to our economy. The article also contrasts conditions in Canada to those in the US. For example, the article says that in the the US "unemployment is climbing." Stats from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the latest published unemployment rate is 5.0% which is a whopping increase over the 4.9% we saw in January but down from the 5.1% we saw in March. The article also mentions Canada's low unemployment - which is 6.1%, and an increase from March. If we hit a 6.1% unemployment rate in the U.S. before 01/20/09, the press would tell us that things are worse now than they were in 1935.

Even with a quarter of negative growth, the experts the article cites shun the word 'recession.' In the U.S., we've been in a recession [sic] for about a year; even though the we have not been. Just in case we never hit a recession, the press is now touting that we may very well have a recession without having a recession. They'll do anything to avoid saying anything positive about the U.S economy.

I know things aren't perfect but this being an election year, the press will surely do all they can to tout the bad news and suppress the good, at least until November.

[ 3 comments ] ( 1835 views )   |  permalink
Memorial Day 
"What with making their way and enjoying what they have won, heroes have no time to think. But the sons of heroes -- ah, they have all the necessary leisure."

- Aldous Huxley

[ 1 comment ] ( 975 views )   |  permalink
Customer Service Done Right  
Cutting the grass on Tuesday evening, dunderhead me forgot to screw the gas cap on the mower* and, thus, it came off and I ran over it, rendering it unusable; shot it across the street, too. I was able to finish the front and then went to Sears Hardware to see if they had a replacement in stock. They didn't. So, the next morning I went to the Sears Service center in Phillipsburg and they didn't have one either. I was about to order one when one of the guys said to hold on and he would check a few old mowers in the back that were going out for scrapping or being held for parts. A minute later he came back with the same cap. I offered to pay for it but he said no. What an excellent example of customer service!


*This is highly odd for me as I tend to be obsessive-compulsive about things like that; doors locked, things that need to be tightened actually being tightened and fastened correctly, pen caps on, closet doors closed, oven off, coffee maker off, efficient refrigerator organization, newspapers neatly stacked before being bundled, money organized by denomination and facing the same way, etc.

[ add comment ] ( 7998 views )   |  permalink
Rewind to 2000 
I found an Earth Day article from Reason Magazine, May 2000.

Some of the those early earth day activists really made some bold predictions about famine and civilization ending within 30 years that never materialized. But, alas, we can't fault the activists because they were citing scientists. Ah, such wacky times, the seventies were. The next generation or two will find it equally entertaining 30 years from now to reflect back on the balmy prophecies that were made in the first decade of the 21st century. Oh wait, this time it's real. We can't possibly be wrong.

Instead of planting a tree this earth day, I need to save one. One sprouted up in my garden, just inside the fence, last year and I need to move it. The sapling is about six feet high now. I had planted a few trees a few years ago but I couldn't keep them from the deer. I tried but to no avail but this one is tall enough now that it should be safe. Deer truly are a problem in PA and managing them is a contentious issue. I am currently reading Deer Wars which discusses this concern.

Today is also primary day here in PA. I will cast a vote for John McCain today, just as I did in the 2000 primary.

[ 7 comments ] ( 949 views )   |  permalink
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.

[ 4 comments ] ( 840 views )   |  permalink

<< <Back | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | Next> >>