Numbers 
0 - number of vacation plans we had to alter this summer because of gas prices. We went to Canada and DC/Virginia. We also went camping, the shore, went to Musikfest, several Iron Pigs games, and I went to the Reading Air Show.

2 - number of times this summer I paid more than $4 for a gallon of gas; both involved our trip to Canada. We bought just enough over the border to cover the trip back into the US. We paid $1.249/L in Canada and $4.17/G off I-81 near Watertown, NY. The stations all near my house never topped $3.99.

5 - when I went to donate blood last week, I found out I had passed the 5 gallon plateau.

7 - number of Iron Pigs games I went to this summer. Their record in those seven games: 0-7.

7.3 - Unemployment rate in Illinois, BHO's home state. Unemployment in AZ is 5.1%.

8 - Micheal Phelps; simply amazing; proof that hard work and determination yield results.

14 - the over/under number, in seconds, after the Olympics end how long it will take someone from the MSM to blame Bush if China finishes with more medals than the US. However, it looks like China will finish with more gold so you'll see some BDS in action regardless.

21 - number of plants in my garden; 12 tomato, four jalapeno, four anaheim chili, and one pumpkin. Plus, I have two rogue tomato that popped up and have tomatoes on them. I planted 11 sunflowers but the deer got some so I ended up with four.

26 - number of pounds down since January I was at my morning weigh-in today. I continue to exercise daily and watch my diet but I am not losing weight as quickly as before. Maybe am building muscle.

162 - number of 90F+ days recorded at Chicago's Midway Airport from 2000-2008: "the fewest 90-degree temperatures in the opening nine years of any decade on record here since 1930"

571 - number of miles since April I have biked according to the cycle computer. It broke three weeks ago so I am likely close to 700 by now. My goal is 1000 from April through September.

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Global Warming Causes Near Record Corn Yield 
It's true!

Midwest floods show signs of global warming

Corn harvest predicted to be second-largest ever

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$4,114 in Taxes per Second 
...is what ExxonMobil paid this past quarter. For every dollar pocketed, they paid three in taxes.

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iPhone Line Economy 

(AP Photo)

Certainly anyone who lived through the Great Depression and may have had to wait in lines for hours at a time for petty things like food or a job must be shocked at how bad this economy is today. People who are younger like me and the generation before me will remember the gas lines of the 70's and the odd/even purchasing system and the double digit inflation during that same time. But seeing that picture above of that line in Miami, well, I never thought things would come to this.

I think someone in the media should poll some of those people wait in those lines for toys like iPhones or PlayStations and ask them who they think should pay for their health insurance or what they think of $4.15/gallon gasoline. Sure, they may say that the government should cover their health benefits or they may say ExxonMobil is evil but they have no problem reverse-cadging Apple and AT&T and handing them their money, but, hey "I want an iPhone. Gimme gimme gimme gimme. Let the government pay for my health care, I just spent my monthly premium on an iPhone. I can't afford to fill my car but I can afford an iPhone and monthly service contract."

Nonetheless, people certainly have the right to spend their time and money as they please. I just don't get it, though. All levels of government do a good enough job taking my money and the best part is that I don't have to wait in line for them to do it.

If you are one of those who do wait in lines for gadgets, just take a moment to think and be thankful that today in America, images like this, only exist in statues.

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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.

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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



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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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