And The Calender Indexes Again

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Posted on : 12/31/2011 02:56:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

Happiest of New Years to my regular readers.  If we can get another one they we can take a shot at playing Euchre.

As a parting gift, I am going to point you toward John Scalzi's blog and invite you to view some photos he shot nearby.  "Nearby" being a relative term southern Michigan is close to Ohio.  This is the beauty of the mid-west.

Sunsets to close the old year.

And a sunrise to welcome the new.

All the best to you all in the coming year.

The Feeding Frenzy

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Posted on : 12/30/2011 08:10:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Periodically, some marketeer will do something so confoundedly stupid that it simply must be passed on.  Telling a customer to put on his "big boy pants" qualifies.

Meet Paul Christoforo.

[update 6-22-2016]

Well the internet breaks every once in a while.  Those links are dead.

But here are a couple about the marketing faux pas that occurred.  Also, here is a link to the follow on from the company that made the game controller being marketed.  They didn't do anything wrong, but it's a nice bit of closure for their customers nonetheless.

Never, Never Look

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Posted on : 12/23/2011 07:58:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

I never should have looked.  Now I can't wait.


 
 
 
 
 

Once you watch this trailer for Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit", you won't want to wait either.  Sadly, we have no choice in the matter.

Oh Man, What A High

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Posted on : 12/22/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

"The high I feel when I actually remember to bring my reusable bags to the store -- and take them inside rather than leave them in the parked car -- can last for days."
Indeed it can.  And here is the comic strip in question....

A Visual Feast

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Posted on : 12/21/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Audrey Munson was a muse for many artists in the early 20th century.  Sculptures for which she modeled still adorn New York City.  Ms. Munson has the distinction of being the first actress to appear nude in a moving picture.

The Daily has a brief profile of her life that is worth your time. She was simultaneously an unassuming and an amazing figure in the history of American art.

I largely have to agree with Ms. Munson regarding the relative value of abstract art.  Some abstract art is most worthwhile and thought provoking.  The rest seems limited to splotching worthy of a 5th grade student still shivering from a long walk to school in the snow.




Guaranteed Profit?

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Posted on : 12/20/2011 10:23:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.

- Lifeline, by Robert Heinlein




Messrs. Bush and Obama - and most members of Congress - should have the above tattooed on the inside of their eyelids and across their asses.

A Dragon, Curiously

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Posted on : 12/11/2011 09:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Or more correct, a drakling.  Forever preserved in resin.




Other views are available at the artist's Etsy store, linked above.

The Conduct Of Science

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Posted on : 12/10/2011 10:11:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority.

- Lifeline, by Robert Heinlein




Longtime readers will recall my skepticism regarding the enthusiastic pursuit of the theory of a climate that is sensitive to human CO2 emissions.  A big part of that skepticism is the observation that the data is being molded to fit the theories instead of molding the theories to fit the data.  That observation was effectively validated by the Climategate episode that released thousands of CRU documents along with the software they generated to "model" our climate.  The programmer's notes in the software alone should be enough to convince every man and woman of science that "science" - the pursuit of theories that explain the facts - was not being conducted by the influential staff of the CRU.

I suspect that they are not unique in their approach to studying our climate.

Giving Unique Gifts

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Posted on : 12/09/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Sci-fi author, John Scalzi, is using his blog to promote unique gifts for this Christmas season.  One need not limit themselves to our Happy Holidays when using this promotion, but that is what got it started.  he has used a day for promoting traditional authors, non-traditional authors, and now other handicrafts.

The last category has reminded me of Etsy; a website for selling hand made goods.  Think of it like Ebay or Amazon, but with a focus on hand crafted products.

Friends have been using and recommending Etsy to me for quite some time.  Perhaps you, my gentle and faithful reader, will find it of some value as well.

Someone Call Tom Selleck

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Posted on : 12/08/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,


I saw where this was leading in 1984.  Someone call Tom Selleck!

Actually, I'm a bit of a technology geek.  I find this stuff to be fascinating.

Now That Is Quidditch!

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Posted on : 12/07/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Oh Ginny!  And we thought we knew you well.  Now we wish we knew you better!

Potentially NSFW for certain environments.


Have to remember to add this strip to my daily read!

So Thick You Could Cut It With A Knife

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Posted on : 12/06/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Louis CK is not really my kind of comedian.  But the irony here is really thick.  Capitalism is the reason why we have all that technology!


I suppose the other option is that he is using some double reverse ironic ninjitsu.  Perhaps he is suggesting that if capitalism implodes and we have to go back to the barter system for a while, perhaps we will be better stewards when we bring capitalism back.

Reason To Pause

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Posted on : 12/05/2011 07:22:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

A long standing concern regarding Mr. Obama is his attitude towards governance.  He appears to have an attitude that is perfectly encapsulated by an address made by his lovely and gracious wife in 2008.  In that address, she said "Barack will require you to work."  Emphasis added.

It seems that the left has finally taken note of his autocratic nature.  He doesn't call.  He expects results, but he apparently doesn't bother to build the kinds of large tent relationships that enable those results to be achieved.

Psssttt....Can Someone Do Something To Fix This?

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Posted on : 12/04/2011 02:23:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

It might help.

It took Bob Bertsch 25 years to build his construction business and just a day for it all to go away.

...


"I am tired of carrying all the tax load," Bertsch said. "I renew 13 licenses here every year just so I can spend money in this city."

Bertsch makes no attempt to conceal his frustration with the costs government imposes on small businesses like his.

"Government is killing small business. We used to have 24 employees at our peak. Now, all of those people who used to work here are in unemployment lines," he said.

...


Bertsch told a friend at the auction he is selling out because government was taking more out of his business than he was.

Or we can keep giving handouts to big businesses with ties to the government.  The whole idea of keeping everyone's taxes low is apparently over rated.
 
Link to the source.

A Tribute Worth Watching

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Posted on : 12/03/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

The Corps got the loudest cheers.  It is a toss up as to whether the Air Force or the Navy got the better formation.

Carbon Dioxide May Not Have As Much Influence As Originally Thought

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Posted on : 12/02/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

You don't say.

The climate may be less sensitive to carbon dioxide than we thought – and temperature rises this century could be smaller than expected. That's the surprise result of a new analysis of the last ice age. However, the finding comes from considering just one climate model, and unless it can be replicated using other models, researchers are dubious that it is genuine.
Folks, the science, she ain't settled. Ignore the charlatans masquerading as scientists that suggest otherwise.

The Museum That Belongs In A Museum

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Posted on : 12/01/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Just.....go read it.

It's easy to forget that ancient peoples also studied history - Babylonians who lived 2,500 years ago were able to look back on millennia of previous human experience. That's part of what makes the museum of Princess Ennigaldi so remarkable. Her collection contained wonders and artifacts as ancient to her as the fall of the Roman Empire is to us. But it's also a grim symbol of a dying civilization consumed by its own vast history.

Delusions

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Posted on : 11/30/2011 10:11:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?

- Lifeline, by Robert Heinlein

Popular Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Posted on : 11/29/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Some time ago, I posted something on Facebook about a then current poll being conducted by NPR to determine the 100 best books in the science fiction and fantasy genre.  I let the poll fall from my concerns and moved on.

It happens.

Serendipitously, I ran across the following graphic that presents the results of the poll.


Click the link and enjoy!

There is one deceptive aspect of the poll.  Some of the books listed are really series.  Some of the series are trilogies....or longer....rather than being discrete books.

One disappointing result is that the "Fire and Ice" series came it as high as it did.  I am currently working through that series.  Mostly, because I was able to purchase the first four books as a set for about one third of the cost of buying them separately.  It isn't a bad series.  It doesn't rate to be the fifth best book/series either.

In any case, the above chart provides a good starting point for those that have not delved too deeply into the realm of science fiction and fantasy.

Don't Step In The Marketeer* Droppings

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Posted on : 11/28/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Somewhere, somehow, there is a manager at J.C. Penney's that thought reinforcing an anti-intellectual image of girls was a good idea.  Specifically, "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me."   Erg.

The good news is that J.C. Penney's is media savvy enough to understand the problem when it started.  They have pulled the t-shirt in question from their online store and are investigating the decision to add it to their product line.

Major league kudos to the horde of folks traveling the inter-tubes that spotted the shirt and began spreading the news.  Big companies are sometimes loath to make changes unless the perceive a significant downside to doing nothing.

Not only do we have a daughter, but the missus and I produced a geek daughter.  We are so proud.  Big things will happen for her soon enough.  There just simply isn't another option in her mind...or ours.

Messages that reinforce the anti-intellectual image for young women are not welcome here.

I came across this issue by reading John Scalzi's blog "Whatever".  He has a geek daughter, too.  I hope to write more about Mr. Scalzi.  In fact, the way I schedule my posts, you may have read it by now!

*The word "marketeer" was used on purpose.  It is a reference to that special little "wonderland" that many marketers inhabit that causes them to confuse using the word "quality" with actually producing products that actually have high quality, and to confuse my telephone, mailbox, and email inbox with public toilets.

Turn Left In 600 Centimeters!

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Posted on : 11/27/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Via John Scalzi...for similar reasons.

What A Tax Payer Wants

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Posted on : 11/26/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Rasmussen recently released the results of a recent poll regarding tax policy.  While I might quibble a bit with the question as to whether or not a simpler, yet still progressive tax structure is a good idea, I am willing to consider it.

Most folks I know do want a simpler tax code.  They don't want lots of deductions.  They want to pay their taxes and know what they will owe at the end of the year.

I know that I find the inability to accurately predict my tax debt to be terribly frustrating.  I don't necessarily want to get a huge refund at the end of each year.  Nor do I want to write Uncle Sam a big check.

A simpler, less intrusive system would be an improvement over the current system.

Send 'Em A Message

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Posted on : 11/25/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Via your rear window.

Ever want to send the idiot in the car behind you a message?  This is one way to do it.

Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over, Son?

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Posted on : 11/24/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I love our Constitution.  I love our Constitutionally limited republic.  It is right and just that the government should be limited to a few defined roles and that government authority should not impinge on individual liberty.

Mickey Kaus has an entry about the legally specious arguments being made in favor of the so-called "individual mandate" portion of Obamacare.

Can the government compel you to buy broccoli?  Can it ban all means of disposal other than consumption in order to force you to consume broccoli?

Well, OK then! As long as we can just leave it rotting in the fridge.** … But it’s a little suspicious–and surely not a selling point–that under Elhauge’s argument the only limits on government would be the rights — like “bodily integrity” and privacy — that liberal  lawyers have dreamed up but not the limit — i.e. whether or not something is “interstate commerce” – the Founders dreamed up.
Just what are the Constitutional limits that modern leftists would obey?

One suspects that the answer is "none", as long as they agree with the law in the first place.  Such is the seed from which the vine which will choke liberty is grown.

How Do You Do That?

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Posted on : 11/23/2011 07:21:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

How do you build a city our of rock and roll?  What about the engineers?  The skilled trades; carpenters, iron workers, electricians, plumbers?  What about the vendors that sell the stuff you actually build stuff with?  What about the finance folks that get the cash to fund the project?  What about the teachers that taught them all?

Where is Dr. Sheldon Cooper[1] when you really need him?

[1] Ok.  Read the link.  If the amount of information cataloged there isn't the definition of irony, then I don't know what is.

Who IS That Girl?

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Posted on : 11/22/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

A couple weeks ago, Instapundit had a link to "Who is that hot ad girl?"  A site devoted to identifying notable actresses in advertisements.

Notable primarily because they are....well.....hot.

Sexist?  Probably.

Worth a look?  Definitely.


Look Out For His Right

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Posted on : 11/21/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Attempts at government control of the economy always give me reason for concern.  The record for such control is not exactly stellar.

I wonder what trouble is lurking in our future.  In a modest bit of irony, the Federal Reserve in San Francisco has a model that you can play with that suggests where things might be heading in the near future.

Everywhere you look these days, it seems that ZIRP, or the Fed's Zero Interest Rate Policy, is the panacea to all the world's problems. In fact, ask any tenured economy Ph.D. what inflation is and you will get a stare down, be told you are a moron, that banks need to print more, more, more and that we are really roiling in deflation, with some latent mumblings about buying their economics textbook for the inflationary price of $124.95. Everywhere, that is except the Fed itself. Because in an extremely ironic twist, it is none other than the San Francisco Fed, which operates the "Be Fed chairman for a day" simulation, where you try to keep both unemployment and inflation within the "price stabeeleetee" barriers, that reveals the reality of ZIRP. The laughter really begins when one recreates precisely what the Fed is doing: namely the policy of Zero Interest Rates, now well in its third year, that things take a turn for the surreal. We challenge any reader to play the Fed simulation game, and to do what Bernanke has done: namely lock the Fed Funds rate at the legal minimum: between 0.00% and 0.25%. In our personal experience, we were dismissed as Fed Chairman after annual inflation literally went off the charts and hit 38.36% following 4 years of ZIRP.

If this model published by the Fed is right, then we have some dark days coming soon.

Of course, if it is wrong, then it still leaves open the question as to whether or not the "quantitative easing" and other Federal Reserve policies are good for the long term health of our nation.  If they can't publish a reasonably accurate model, then how can we trust their other decisions?

Delinquency

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Posted on : 11/20/2011 10:10:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

"I told you that 'juvenile delinquent' is a contradiction in terms. 'Delinquent' means 'failing in duty.' But duty is an adult virtue - indeed a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be a 'juvenile delinquent.' But for every juvenile criminal there are always one or more adult delinquents - people of mature years who either do not know their duty, or who, knowing it, fail

- Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Criminal Occupation

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Posted on : 11/19/2011 08:53:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Disclaimer first, opinion after...

I am certain that most of the Occupy folks are decent enough people.  It is always tempting to make the weirdos and oddballs be the mean rather than the outlier.

But still, the Tea Party folks never had weirdos and oddballs of these dimensions.  Check out the list of serious crimes that are being committed in these Obamavilles.  And those are just the ones that have been reported.

The list does not include the many crimes that the various Occupy committees have successfully hushed up.  Their official position appears to be that they are unwilling to engage local law enforcement over criminal activities.

Rape appears to be the most common crime that these "committees" have the most trouble containing.

Worth considering by but unlisted is racism/anti-Semitism.  (A prominent theme for those following the Occupy antics via Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit.)

Many of the positive changes in our society over the last 30-40 years have occurred due to an expanded sense of tolerance.  What is lacking from the Occupy folks is discernment.  Tolerance is what causes a 16 year old girl to avert her gaze to the normal nudity experience when one is preparing for a good night's sleep.  Discernment is what causes her to call the cops when she becomes the object of to public masturbation.

Sadly, she possessed more discernment than the supposed adults that are running these protests.

Never Think The Worst

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Posted on : 11/18/2011 07:04:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I'm glad I waited for clarification before offering any commentary about this event.  This was what I was hoping had happened.

"Whoever shot at the White House is basically a terrorist," LoRusso tells CityBeat, "and I was holding a moment of silence for the White House and President Obama and everyone in the White House. I wasn't holding a moment of silence for the terrorist in any way. We're a peaceful movement, and we don't support people shooting at the White House."
Although I do wonder if Dave Maass is aware that there are leftist blowhards that do much the same to folks that are not of a leftist mindset.  Me might try reading the pages of the NYTimes, WaPo...etc...etc....

Now That Is Fast!

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Posted on : 11/18/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

At least if you scale it up properly....

More info and a poll here.

Consequences Of Arabian Affluence

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Posted on : 11/17/2011 07:05:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

As anyone who has studied wealth and demographics will tell you, money changes a people.  Along with a better standard of living, wealth buys a longer lifespan, education, and thus a more fulfilling way of spending one's years than simply squatting out a football team in some muddy backwater field.

Here is one illustration of how wealth and knowledge have changed birthrates.  The focus is on the Middle East, but the lesson is useful around the world.

A View From Above

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Posted on : 11/16/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

This time lapse video from the International Space Station is fantastic.  Most of the views are of the night side of earth.  I saw Michigan and the rest of the Midwestern states in several passes.  The Nile river is also clearly visible.

The natural light shows are even more impressive.  Lightning rolls through the clouds as the space station flies overhead.  Also, the aurora borealis hangs shimmering in the atmosphere.

Just beautiful.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael K├Ânig on Vimeo.

Miss Aurora's Long Lost Quilt

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Posted on : 11/15/2011 06:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Although it was not exactly lost.  I knew where it was all the time.

What I didn't know was "when".  As is "when will I ever finish that quilt!"


A Small Update

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Posted on : 11/14/2011 07:32:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

You may have noticed that my Google Reader feed is gone.  Google, in their infinite wisdom, has eliminated the ability to "share" things read via Google Reader via that gadget.  Instead, you are expected to "share" with your Google+ page.

Google -.

'Cause There Is No Such Thing As Too Much Shatner

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Posted on : 11/13/2011 06:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,



OK.  For those paying attention, this post appeared way before it was scheduled.  Then when I tried to change the date, it stayed published.  So I reverted to a draft, and tried to add this note.  But Blogger screwed with the video size.  Argh!!

In any case, this is the selected moment for you to enjoy Mr. Shatner's unique stylings.  Enjoy!

Violent Solutions III

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Posted on : 11/11/2011 11:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

"If you wanted to teach a baby a lesson, would you cut its head off? Of course not. You'd paddle it. There can be circumstances when it's just as foolish to hit an enemy city with an H-bomb as it would be to spank a baby with an axe. War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose. The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him...but to make him do what you want to do. Not killing...but controlled and purposeful violence. But it's not your business or mine to decide the purpose of the control. It's never a soldier's business to decide when or where or how - or why - he fights; that belongs to the statesmen and the generals. The statesmen decide why and how much; the generals take it from there and tell us where and when and how. We supply the violence; other people - 'older and wiser heads,' as they say - supply the control. Which is as it should be."

- Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein



Offered in remembrance of all those that served our nation in defense of liberty.  Happy Veteran's Day to all.

The Engine Is Warm Now

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Posted on : 11/10/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

As it was with racial integration, so it is with recognizing and validating the service of homosexuals in today's military.  It took a while to overcome the military opposition to racial integration.  But once it became policy, once the order was given, the military attacked the issue until it was essentially a non-issue.

I would expect that we will see the same thing now that people may serve openly in our armed forces.

Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos — who strongly opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell last year — told NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday that he is “very proud” of how the Marines have handled the repeal of the policy last month. “I’m very pleased now,” Amos said and explained that his previous statements in support of the ban were expressing the hesitancy for change within the Marine Corps.

The Difference Between Occupiers And Tea Partiers

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Posted on : 11/09/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

While there are some elements that should unite the two groups (i.e. distrust of the well connected well-to-do and their government toadies), there are other elements in which the difference could not be more clear.  Jeff Jacoby tries to get some mileage out of the 10th Commandment, but the larger point is in the sadly growing catalog of vandalism, rape, assault, and continued threats of violence from the Occupy group. 

Where the Tea Party folks left their gathering spots devoid of trash, the Occupy folks trash their gathering spots.  Policy pretentions aside, the Occupy folks appear to value nothing beyond their own existence.  Nothing matters to them unless it matters to them; narcissism in spades.

Of course, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the barrel.  Were it not for a complacent media that ignores the blatant lawlessness of those few bad apples and their prior zealous attempts to convert a few minor blemishes into a worm in every Tea Party apple, we might justly and quickly purge the public debate such destructive disinterest in the well being of anyone not "occupying" a tent located inside a major metropolitan park.

Only then can a serious discussion of the issues at hand commence.

As Seen On Instapundit

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Posted on : 11/08/2011 08:25:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

Who saw it first on Facebook:

“The social contract exists so that everyone doesn’t have to squat in the dust holding a spear to protect his woman and his meat all day every day. It does not exist so that the government can take your spear, your meat, and your woman because it knows better what to do with them.”

Indeed.

Abolish Money?

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Posted on : 11/07/2011 09:02:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Via Classical Values:


I'm sure there was a fair amount of cherry picking going on, but still!

Voter ID Is A Good Requirement

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Posted on : 11/06/2011 08:25:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

So says Artur Davis, former US Representative from Alabama:


The truth is that the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt.

Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally-impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights -- that's suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don't; I've heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I've been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.

...

The case for voter ID, however, is a good one, and it ought to make politics a little cleaner and the process of conducting elections much fairer. I wish I'd gotten it right the first time.

Keep the above in mind when we go to the polls a year from today.  There are professional vote fraud agents in the land that sell their services for politics and profit.  And they are working to steal your vote.

h/t to Instapundit

Successfully Patient

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Posted on : 11/05/2011 06:21:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I have been intending to write something along these lines for quite some time.  Guy Fawkes was not, despite his popularity among anachronistic anarchists, a friend of liberty.

I waited long enough for someone else to pretty well cover my thoughts.  Success at last!

A Reminder For Scale

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Posted on : 11/04/2011 08:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Mr. Obama's "stimulus" and other spending is much more than was spent on the Iraq war.

Just in case anyone has forgotten.

Won't You Please Let Me In?

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Posted on : 11/03/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , , , ,

Via the Blogfather comes this excellent essay from The Volokh Conspiracy about the Occupy movements and the underlying socioeconomic forces that have created it.  The short version is that they have dutifully gotten their tickets punched and now expect the rewards to flow regardless of their actual talents or the collective need for their "abilities".  Such as they are.

The longer version....

Pick One, Herman

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Posted on : 11/02/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Mr. Cain supported the right of homosexuals to be homosexual, and opposed government intervention in the private decision regarding abortion.

And then he flipped.

*Sigh*

The Currency Of Time

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Posted on : 11/01/2011 09:59:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.

But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants "just a few minutes of your time, please - this won't take long." Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time - and squawk for more!
So learn to say No - and to be rude about it when necessary.

Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.

(This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don't do it because it is "expected" of you.)

-Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

The Definition Of Cluelessness

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Posted on : 10/31/2011 08:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Or an indication of a future politician.

How I Want To Die....

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Posted on : 10/30/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Of course, I'd prefer to avoid the car crash, but holding her hand when I go would be fine with me.  And if there is another side, then I wouldn't want to keep her waiting for very long!  And being the sort of greedy wretch that I am, I'd miss her terribly if I went first.

Gordon died at 3:38 p.m. holding hands with his wife as the family they built surrounded them.

"It was really strange, they were holding hands, and dad stopped breathing but I couldn't figure out what was going on because the heart monitor was still going," said Dennis Yeager. "But we were like, he isn't breathing. How does he still have a heart beat? The nurse checked and said that's because they were holding hands and it's going through them. Her heart was beating through him and picking it up."

"They were still getting her heartbeat through him," said Donna Sheets.

At 4:48 p.m., exactly one hour after Gordon died, Norma passed too.

But I'd wait forever if that is what it took to be with her again.

From Surprising Corners

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Posted on : 10/29/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

I was listening to someone a couple weeks ago.  This person is a hard core anti-socialist, pro-freedom individual.  They mildly chastised me once for suggesting that corporations should not be considered the legal equivalent of a person.

They were observing that some of the Occupy protesters were making a few fair points about their respective situations.  His concern was that the Occupy movement would be subverted by the minority that wants to impose socialism on the country.

The point?  This is someone that I would not expect to be giving any credence to any of the OWS arguments.

I have some further thoughts that I am working on and hope to have posted soon.  Given that I am writing this post a couple weeks in advance, you might have seen them by now!

Incremental Improvements

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Posted on : 10/28/2011 07:34:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Oil dependency.  Pollution...the legitimate kind.  Transportation problems. We need solutions. 

I do not have much faith in electric cars.  We would need a new electric distribution system and hundreds of new power plants if every car on the road today was to magically convert into a 100% electric vehicle.  The only thing that changes is that the pollution would be generated at a central power plant instead of at 100 million locations where ever a car or truck might be running.

There are many good ideas out there that would make small steps at improving fuel efficiency rather than a wholesale restructuring of society.  One such good idea would be to switch to diesel engines.  That change would create a 15-20% boost to fuel efficiency

Couple that with the use of a flywheel and we could get a further 20% improvement.  Used together and we could cut our fuel consumption by up to one third.

Care to see what happens to the price of fuel when consumption falls that far?  Care to see what America's economy does when fuel prices fall that far?

Boost Your WiFi With A Can Of Beer

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Posted on : 10/27/2011 07:25:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Or perhaps with a lowly can of Coke.  I am betting that this does not work with Pepsi.

I love a good hack, especially one that requires me to throw back a cold one before hand (or during). This simple wifi boost has actually been shown to increase signal strength by at least 2 to 4 bars. And, well, I will drink to that.

Religious Mathematics - "Jewish" Problems

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Posted on : 10/26/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Anti-Semitism from a likely source.

Back in the seventies, the mathematics department at the Soviet Union's Moscow State University (one of the most prestigious departments in the USSR at the time) used a special collection of math problems, informally referred to as "Jewish" problems or "coffins" ("coffin" problems translating roughly to "killer" problems in English), to keep Jewish students and other so-called "undesirables" out of the department.

Predictable Outcome Only Because It Has Been Predicted

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Posted on : 10/25/2011 08:13:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Fans of "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand are doubtlessly familiar with the process that led to a government that would attempt such a thing.  They are also familiar with the most likely result.


This week alone has seen a ratings downgrade for Spain as well as a threat by agencies to review France's AAA status -- and the markets have taken notice. Once again, it would seem, ratings agencies are making things difficult for European countries.


Now, the European Union is considering doing something about it.


European Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier is considering a move to ban the agencies from publishing outlook reports on EU countries entangled in a crisis, according to a report in Thursday's issue of the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.

Of course, that isn't good enough.  The EU also wants to put ratings agencies in a "no-win" position by:

The internal market commissioner appears to be taking a tough stance against the agencies. He is also pushing the 27 EU member states to take steps to ensure that investors can pursue civil action against agencies for "deficient ratings." He is also calling for addition ratings requirements for complexly structured financial products and steps that would create greater competition among ratings agencies.

Investors will find a place to invest.  If they cannot rely on ratings information for EU governments, then they will simply take their money elsewhere.  Given the need for financing and re-financing of government debt, this lack of cash will have predictable results.

Either the governments will start printing fiat Euros and thus begin a cycle of high inflation.  Or the governments will discover that dog catchers do not require 42 levels of supervision and a 1300 page handbook to catch dogs and cut their budgets accordingly.  Historically, the latter option has been the most effective solution as well as the most difficult to implement.

Ms. Rand provided the blueprint for the result of the former option.

An Unusual Source For Terrorism

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Posted on : 10/24/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Saturday Night Live writers??

h/t to the Blogfather....

Karma Doesn't Always Work That Way

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Posted on : 10/23/2011 05:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Courtesy of television impresario and executive producer, Chuck Lorre.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #329

I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. I see my doctor once a year and my dentist twice a year. I floss every night. I've had chest x–rays, cardio stress tests, EKG's and colonoscopies. I see a psychologist and have a variety of hobbies to reduce stress. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I don't have crazy, reckless sex with strangers.

If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I'm gonna be really pissed.

Punishing The Guilty

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Posted on : 10/22/2011 09:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

As I hope I have noted in the past, there are many reasons for the fiscal meltdown of 2008.  Some bankers, financiers, mortgage brokers, and other unscrupulous actors within the home buying industry clearly acting in bad faith to push people with marginal credit into accepting marginal loan terms.  The 'Occupy' folks are correct to note that the government has not done enough to pursue those private sector bad actors.

But what about the unscrupulous public sector actors?

Your Color Comrade?

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Posted on : 10/21/2011 08:45:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

It works in other parts of Michigan as well.  Our burst of color is about done now.  But it was beautiful while it lasted.


Update:  Dang.  I hate sites that won't let the images be referred by another webpage.  I'm even giving them some link love!

Whell Met My Friends

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Posted on : 10/20/2011 07:27:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Motorcycle helmets come in many shapes and colors.  The folks from Hatari Helmets may have come up with the most interesting helmet of all.  These helmets display video loops on the back surface.

Supposedly.  I am a bit skeptical.  The video shown on the helmets does not look like they have a working model.  Their websites are via a couple of 'free' website builders.  Something does not smell right. 

I hope I am wrong as wearing one of those would be very cool.

Link via the Discovery Channel.

Classic Movie As Propaganda?

0

Posted on : 10/19/2011 05:47:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

A curiosity in the history of film; the CIA funded the animated movie adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm".  I am certain that some folks will find this situation to be dripping with irony under the believe that the CIA is a fountain of propaganda that should never be trusted.

Trusting the government is always risky business.  The CIA certainly has a track record that should urge caution.

However, CIA funding should not be enough in an of itself to undermine Mr. Orwell's central theme; that tyranny, oppression, communism and socialism are synonymous and denigrate the human condition.  They are a creeping, poisonous vine revealed at the moment whenever a "committee" is formed to "run things".

Drudge - THE American Editor

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Posted on : 10/18/2011 07:33:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

This is a story from last month.  Matt Drudge's website on 9/11 led with a banner showing various police agencies and the quote “These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear.”

He presents precisely that sort of insightful juxtaposition on a routine basis.  It is the sort of thing that makes his website the 'go to' resource for news and current events.

I do have to agree with one commenter that voices some frustration with following links from Drudge only to find that the story did not mesh well with the catch phrase shown on Drudge's website.  It is a frustrating form of misdirection.

Rotten Applies

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Posted on : 10/17/2011 08:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

How does one describe a situation were a person works for the government, pledges to not get involved in negotiations between his department and applicants, is married to someone that is a partner in a law firm working for an applicant, writes emails to other government agencies with oversight responsibilities to push for release of funds that will ultimately go to that applicant, and who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of a Presidential election campaign?

Do you suppose that there is some corruption in there somewhere?


“Any word from OMB?” Spinner wrote to a DOE staffer in reference to the Solyndra loan, which was awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget. “I have the OVP [Office of the Vice President] and WH [White House] breathing down my neck on this.”

Spinner was one of several department officials pushing to get a final decision on Solyndra in August 2009, ahead of a scheduled press event at which Vice President Joe Biden praised the company as “exactly what the Recovery Act [stimulus package] is all about.”

“How f***ing hard is this?” he wrote to another department official on Aug. 28, 2009. “What is he waiting for? Will we have it by the end of the day?”
Disappointing....to say the least.   Given the many allegations of corruption against the Bush administration, why on earth is Mr. Obama's administration making the Bush administration look like amateurs?

And if you have not heard of Solyndra, then perhaps you ought to ask the somnolent "main steam media" what sort of watch dog they really are.

Ever See A Real Flying Carpet?

0

Posted on : 10/16/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

I have.  Sort of.

Watch the video.

Accurate...Now

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Posted on : 10/15/2011 10:20:00 AM | By : Dann

This David Horsey political cartoon was premature when it was created back in 2009.

Not any more.

Just......Stop.....Please

0

Posted on : 10/14/2011 08:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

This story is from a couple weeks ago.  Hank Williams Jr. decided that he would make the comparison between President Obama and....


A Leak For Science

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Posted on : 10/13/2011 12:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

They haven't perfected it yet, but it looks like we may someday be able to turn urine into rocket fuel.


Scientists on Sunday said they had gained insights into a remarkable bacterium that lives without oxygen and transforms ammonium, the ingredient of urine, into hydrazine, a rocket fuel.
 
So-called anammox -- for anaerobic oxidation -- germs caused a sensation when they were first identified in the 1990s, but uncovering their secrets is taking time.

In a letter published by the British science journal Nature, researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands reported they had identified the by which the bugs do their fuel-trick.
Sort of makes renting your beer on Friday night seem as if it is almost worthwhile!

Sort Of Like A Matryoshka Doll

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Posted on : 10/12/2011 07:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

So we invented the PN junction.  In turn we invented transistors.  We figured out that transistors made great electronic switches.  They can be included in circuits so they are either on...or "1"...or off...or "0".  A basic, stable, two-state electronic circuit.  We miniaturized transistors until we had very complex circuits all present on a very small computer chip.

And thus the computer was born.  A computer is nothing more than a sequential command reader that looks at a row of data (1110010110001010) and seeing some positions on and others off, then changes holding locations known as registers.  Those registers can then do other interesting things.

Say for example, one register can identify a single pixel on your screen.  It can also determine the color of that tiny pixel.  In the beginning, pixels didn't have color.  They were either on, or they were off.  And they were HUGE!! By changing pixels, you could create the world's first video game. Pong!

After a couple decades, pixels had gotten a lot smaller and they had gained the ability to be any one of 64 colors.  And we developed cool games like Duke Nukem.


Then we took Duke into 3D land so you became Duke instead of walking him around on the screen.  That led to a bunch of other "first person shooters" like Quake, Halo, and on and on and on.  Surfaces became more detailed, and more granulated.  Colors shot up from 64 to millions of colors. 16 to 32nd power or some such thing.  A lot of colors!  And the pixels were getting pretty tiny, too!


But all that variation, all the attempts to mimic reality, are just too much for some folks.  Which is why the good folks at Mojang Studios came up with Minecraft.

In Minecraft, every element is a perfect square that is 64 x 64 x 64.  You can look up close and see Pong sized pixels.  Or you can back away and each dot on the face of a block becomes as small as a pixel on your screen.

Like Halo and other first person shooters, you can play Minecraft as the guy, or you can look over his shoulder as you make him run around and do his/your thing.

Now Minecraft has this stuff called Redstone.  Redstone is a magical sort of substance as it responds to input to cause other things to move, or light up, or darken, or close, or open, or.....you get the point.

It wasn't long before someone had figured out how to create a circuit to pass either a "1" or a "0".  Now it is possible to transmit one bit of information with your stable two-state circuit.  And if you have enough stable two-state circuits, you have the beginnings of the modern video game.


Redstone Television!
Now that isn't really a video game.  But I'm sure that someone, somewhere is working on assembling enough Redstone circuits so that two people can play a Redstone video game while playing inside the Minecraft video game.

Now THAT is entertainment!

Why Can You Roll Eighteen Double Ought For Strength....

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Posted on : 10/11/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

... but not for Intelligence?



Link love for The Order Of The Stick.  And yes, those of us that enjoy Dungeons and Dragons are an odd lot.

Excessively....odd...sadly.

Who Is A Racist?

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Posted on : 10/10/2011 07:35:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

After being subjected to two year's worth of slurs suggesting that the Tea Party is based in racism, the news of this weeks "Occupy" protest in Atlanta is spreading quickly.  The group that is/was protesting there refused to let John Lewis, civil rights stalwart and legend, speak.

Congressman Lewis (D, GA) was ready to talk to the group, but they didn't give him a chance to speak.
"I was going to say, I stand with you. I support you, what you're down," said Lewis to the media.

He said he wasn't disappointed he wasn't able to address the crowd. Several people CBS Atlanta spoke to were upset.

Michelle Williams was excited to attend the event and no longer wanted to be associated with the movement, citing how Lewis was treated.

"I am angry because this is not what democracy is all about. This is Marxist more Stalin like. Your movement, you're just riff-raff. You're an organized mob," said Williams.
I am prepared to be a bit kinder....one might suggest more civil...than many left leaning polemicists by suggesting that the decision to not let Mr. Lewis speak was probably made by whatever passes for "leadership" in this movement and does not reflect the thoughts of the many participants.

I disagree with Mr. Lewis on a long list of issues.  But even I would be interested in what he had to say.

A side note to Ms. Williams.  The "leadership".  This "movement".  Marxist.  Stalinist.

This isn't particularly new.

As Dr. Wes suggests, this group isn't particularly gifted with "clue".

Where To Cut First?

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Posted on : 10/09/2011 11:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

The GAO released a report earlier this year that identified $200 billion in wasteful spending.  Given our current annual deficits of roughly $1.4 trillion, cutting $200 billion in spending would represent a 14.3% reduction in the size of the deficit.

That is well short of 100%, but you take it where you can find it.

How many of those programs have the Republicans and Democrats in Congress cut?  None.

What agency was targeted to have its budget cut?  The GAO.

Demotivator - Consistency

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Posted on : 10/08/2011 11:17:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,



More here.

The Grass Has A Funny Color

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Posted on : 10/07/2011 07:30:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Via Instapundit comes the news that protesters at the DC version of "Occupy Wall Street" are not there because they support the cause.  They are there for the paycheck.

Given the number of protests with lots of professionally printed SEIU signs, and other organizations, it isn't terribly surprising to learn that this leftist "movement" is really just AstroTurf.  Again. It is as if everyone to the left of Bertolt Brecht bought stock in Monsanto.

A real movement doesn't have to pay its protesters.

A Twitter Feed Worth Considering

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Posted on : 10/07/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

I don't use Twitter.  But if I did, #OccupyWhiteHouse2012 would be a tag I would follow.

The hashtag for the rest of us.


The silent majority.

The ones who pay the bills, and the taxes, and the tuitions, and the pensions, and the benefits, for the people who falsely claim to be the 99%.

The ones who did not graduate from the school of perpetual expectations and handouts.

The ones who falsely have been called terrorists and extremists and racists because they dared to object to trying the same socialist policies here that have failed everywhere they have been tried before.

The ones who showed up at the polls in 2010.

The ones who will show up at the polls in 2012.

Turning The Economic Engine On

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Posted on : 10/06/2011 06:57:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , , ,

Finally, some light in the tunnel that doesn't come from a train.

The president's decision marks the first bright economic move he has made to boost the nation's ailing economy. Dropping tariffs, opening markets and equalizing investment terms are a proven way to boost economic growth.

...

The legislative process will begin next week, and both the White House and congressional leaders say the votes are there to pass it. But they always have been - the big change is the end of the president's hesitancy to submit them and Big Labor's campaign to block it.


Now if we could just get his administration to stop demonizing "the rich" and threatening to raise taxes while minimizing cuts to the federal budget.

Moral Behavior

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Posted on : 10/05/2011 10:03:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

Morals - all correct moral laws - derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behavior is survival behavior above the individual level.

- Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein



Parenthetically, this is one of my favorite books of all time.  Ignore the movie.  Read the book.

Freedom Works, Each And Every Time That It Is Tried

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Posted on : 10/04/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Via Instapundit comes a link to an NPR story talking about the oil boom currently underway in the Big Sky states.  The US, Canada, and the nations of South America are poised to out produce the Saudis and other Middle Eastern oil producers.

As a side bonus, we are sidelining the Russians that were in the habit of using natural gas as an economic weapon against Europe.

Drill baby drill!

Demotivator - Curiousity

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Posted on : 10/03/2011 07:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,


More here.

After 3 Years Of An Obama Adminstration...

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Posted on : 10/02/2011 05:46:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,



Click the image or the link for a larger, more detailed version.

Vocally From Another Dimension

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Posted on : 10/01/2011 08:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

A small bit of history.  I used to sing.

You have no doubt heard of the proverbial big fish in a small pond.  We had a pretty decent pond.  I was a keeper if I stretched my tail fins.  A lot.

Though I don't sing much anymore, I do still enjoy music a great deal.





The Limits Of Artificial Intelligence

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Posted on : 9/30/2011 07:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,


XKCD is one of the coolest uber-geek comic strips going right now.  Check out the 'mouse-over' text for an extra punchline.  Thrice weekly fun and humour.

Glissaria

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Posted on : 9/29/2011 07:54:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

I tried this a few weeks ago.  Liked it.  Sucked a few hours worth of time from my life.

Worth a few minutes of yours.  Combines the elements of a "match 5" game with strategic elements of defending a castle using towers.  I have played both types of games and usually have more fun with the latter.  This combination was very enjoyable.

Glissaria.

You can thank me later.

Demotivator - Wealth

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Posted on : 9/28/2011 11:20:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,


More here.

Everybody Gets A Chance

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Posted on : 9/27/2011 07:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

My disagreements with Mr. Obama's policy are many.  Yet in a single moment in a single interview, he has offered me a modest reason for hope.


"What has always made this country great is the belief that everybody has got a chance," Obama said. "Regardless of race, regardless of creed." 
Indeed.  Disagreements, criticisms, and other acts of profunditerotery* aside, I remain proud of having Mr. Obama as my President.  I was proud of his predecessor as well, so I suppose the preceding won't mean much with some people.



*Nothing wrong with sacrificing a bit of the English language when it fails to provide more suitable fodder.  In this case, I thought of the following as I was typing.

  • profound - (what writer is not seeking a concise phrase that illuminates the human condition?)
  • pundit - (most bloggers carp a lot, too)
  • idiot - (the better bloggers will admit to moments of idiocy before all four limbs are tied behind their backs)
  • erotic - ('cause you always get accused of screwing someone)

Baby Tonight!

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Posted on : 9/26/2011 07:25:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

 This is hilarious.  I wish the game would really let you behead creepers!


If you do not understand the video, then you have not been here!

Censorship

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Posted on : 9/25/2011 04:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything - you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

- If This Goes On, by Robert Heinlein

Offered in honor of Banned Books Week.

Inquisting Minds Want To Know...

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Posted on : 9/24/2011 07:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In :


A Little Something Different...To Eat!

2

Posted on : 9/23/2011 08:33:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Inspired by Ruth at Nostalgic For the Pleistocene, I thought I would try a little food blogging.

I was poking through the freezer when I found some psuedo-crab that was quickly headed towards freezer-burn-dom.  Crab is a favorite of mine.  Even the fake sort of crab is tasty to me.

Cookery to the rescue!

This is the time of year when local farmers put fresh produce out on "honor stands".  We have one around the corner that claims to be "organic".  We found another one a few miles away that had fresh corn.  Yum!

My beloved bride loves zucchini.  We slice it, run it through an egg wash, dip it in seasoned flour, and fry it up.  We also use a lot of it in zucchini bread in the winter.

But you cannot get zucchini in the middle of winter.  So we buy a lot of it in the fall.  As a result, there were several courgettes sitting on the counter.

I tossed the salvagable frozen crab into a medium frying pan with some seasame oil, five spice, powdered ginger, paprika, and powdered garlic.  I added zucchini chopped into large cubes and some red onion.

Scott Conant be damned.

I think I probably should have held off on adding the crab meat.  The chunks of zucchini needed a little more cooking and the crab kind of fell apart by the time the zucchini was done.

Towards the end I added some seasame and ginger marinade that we had in the fridge.

As I pulled the mix out of the pan, I wasn't terribly certain that I had something that was....um....edible.

Surprise!  It was pretty good! 

A bed of pasta or rice would have made it perfect.  Next time, I would like to have some red peppers to toss into the pot.  Perhaps some broccoli as well.

At Low, Low Rates!

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Posted on : 9/22/2011 07:06:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Via Zero Hedge, and all of the unquantified credibility that the anonymity of the site suggests.

The group wondered aloud why the Treasury and the Congress were not being more opportunistic. Rates are at historical lows. Why aren’t we issuing 50 year or even 100 year treasuries? At these exceptional rates, that would allow us time enough and room enough to put the debt in order - a chance to structure the debt hodgepodge in an almost logical manner. It would give us a chance to hand off to our children something far less burdensome.

More ice cubes were marinated and the brain trust (ex me) concluded that the primary deterrent probably was that going to a 50 or 100 year might raise interest costs somewhat. That would yield, quickly, to political finger-pointing.

So, here it was again - politics. I don’t want to be accused of “busting the budget” by auctioning something that yields several basis points more. “The kids? The hell with the kids! They ain’t voting in this election.”
 I do not know if this conversation ever existed, but I think the idea is reasonably sound.  We use short term treasuries to access much lower interest rates.  But now long term interest rates are lower than short term rates were a few years ago.  Doesn't it make sense to lock in the low rates now?

Mental Break

1

Posted on : 9/21/2011 09:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

A New Biopic On Hitler?

1

Posted on : 9/20/2011 06:09:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I am sure you have seen many send-ups using this stretch of video.  This one is pretty damned good.  It is a little old.  It takes me a while to get around.

Hitler and the Bollywood Biopic from Gregory Atkins on Vimeo.

Mr. Obama's Great White Whale

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Posted on : 9/19/2011 05:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , , , ,


Every time I hear Mr. Obama talk about raising taxes on the 'rich'....

Every time I hear Mr. Obama speak derisively about the luxury of private jets....

Every time I hear a story about Mr. Obama's NCLB appointees halting the construction of a new Boeing plant in South Carolina....

Every time I read about Mr. Obama's EPA initiatives to install 'Cap and Trade' and other anti-CO2 measures without the benefit of Congressional authorization...

Every time I think of the impact of Obamacare...

I think of the above cartoon.  I've been thinking of the cartoon long before Mr. Ramirez drew it!

Investment drives our economy.  The wealthy and corporations are sitting on huge piles of cash instead of investing it because they fear that new taxes and regulations will make it impossible to recoup those investments.  This isn't about making new money.  It is about recovering the invested principle.

Those investments create jobs.  Jobs like the union jobs in Kansas and Oklahoma that build private jets.  Jobs like the non-union jobs created by the Boeing plant in South Carolina.  (For transparency, my employer has sold and will continue to sell products being used to build that plant.  In the larger scheme of things, it isn't a lot of money.  For us, the amounts are significant.  We also do business with other Boeing plants as well as the aircraft manufacturers in Kansas and Oklahoma.)

The government needs revenue.  Some regulations are indeed required.

There is a reason why the United States had a 'Great Depression' while the rest of the world had a depression.  There is a reason why the United States is in a 'Great Recession' while the rest of the world had a recession.

That reason is an excess of government and a lack of individual liberty.  When Mr. Obama comes to view individuals...and corporations...as being not only qualified and capable of operating without total government direction, but also far more qualified at discerning the best use of their money, then we will see a recovery.

Showing Us What He Has Got

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Posted on : 9/18/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

President Barack Obama used a boisterous Labor Day rally to put congressional Republicans on the spot, challenging them to place the country's interests above all else and vote to create jobs and put the economy back on a path toward growth. "Show us what you've got," he said.
That is precisely what they have been doing, Mr. Obama.  One of the primary reasons why employers have not been hiring new workers is due to uncertainty.  Specifically, they are uncertain if future labor, market, and tax conditions/policies will make it possible to earn a profit.  Repeated calls for punitive taxes on the "rich", our out of control federal deficit spending, initiatives that openly place union interests far above that of business owners, and regulations that raise the cost of business justify those concerns.  

The problem is not that the GOP has yet to "Show us what [they've] got."  The problem is that Mr. Obama and his allies in Congress have shown us what they have got for far too long.  And the people with any money left are doing the smart thing by sitting on it until something changes to make being in business in America profitable again.

In Which My Chickens Come Home To Roost

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Posted on : 9/17/2011 10:20:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Those that know me best, and my friends, not necessarily one and the same, but that is how it works some times...erm...

Those that know me best, and my friends, would tell my gentle readers that I possess a modest disposition towards the arcane and obscure.  I suspect that they would actually use the phrase "inane and irrelevant", but I do try to think the best of the people in my life.

My love of esoterica is not as pronounced as others.  Some prime examples of people a little more focused on reconditia would be the main characters portrayed by the cast of "The Big Bang Theory".  The obvious exception being the character "Penny" as portrayed by that vision of loveliness that is Kaley Cuoco.

Since we are on the subject of "The Big Bang Theory", that is one of our favorite shows here in the Todd household.  We find this program immensely amusing.  Many is the evening when we are howling with laughter over some insane premise made plausible by the thespian talents of the ensemble.

I find "The Big Bang Theory" hilarious because I recognize a few modest traits that I have in common with the characters.  I am then deeply, deeply, deeply grateful that I am not the sort of person to ever engage in the sort of techno-geek behaviors presented on this program.  I know for certain that my minor predilections would never lead me into those kinds of socially awkward situations.

I suspect my lovely and vivacious bride does not share that opinion.  I have no idea why.

Some time ago, I noticed that the Executive Producer, Mr. Chuck Lorre, has included a "vanity card" at the end of each episode of "The Big Bang Theory".  I recently learned that he has been offering these vanity cards at the end of all of his programs.

I first noticed the vanity cards at the end of the episode that aired on April 28, 2011.  This episode featured a monkey that appeared to be smoking.  The monkey was being studied by Amy Farrah Fowler, the girl who is also a friend but certainly not a "girlfriend" of Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  In this particular vanity card, Mr. Lorre thoughtfully sought to reassure his viewers that the monkey had in fact not been actually smoking throughout the show.  Although I was taken aback to learn of the heroin addiction problem. 

Having discovered this veritable treasure trove of minutiae, I thought that my beloved bride would be equally enthused to learn of this source of information and occasional humour.

Unfortunately, the combination of our television size and the selected font makes the task of reading these vanity cards quite difficult.  In addition to the "pause" button on the remote, we also have a "zoom" button to aid in the viewing of side boob and cleavage shots small text.

Having rendered the text readable, I elected to engage in a recitation.  I anticipated a warm reception from my beloved bride.  I imagined an enthusiastic response that included clapping.

This particular vanity card is number 206.  You can read the whole thing here, but what is the point of going there when I am presently going to rip off Mr. Lorre's work.

To create an appropriate re-creation of this event, you need to use your best "announcer voice" and read aloud the following passage originally written by the esteemed Mr. Lorre:


I think we can all agree that the cliche, "no pain, no gain," is a fundamental truth. When we experience physical pain in the gym, we gain muscles and stamina. When we endure hardship and sacrifice in order to succeed, we gain a feeling of satisfaction and achievement, not to mention financial rewards. When we truly embrace emotional pain, we gain compassion for the suffering of others, an appreciation for the fleeting nature of things, as well as wisdom and spiritual humility. Every act of birth is an act of pain. Our very lives are sustained by the suffering and death of plants and animals, who in turn are sustained by other organisms having a very bad day. That being said, I think we can also agree that this system sucks and needs to be seriously re-jiggered. Now I'm not saying I have a better approach than this pain/gain thing that's been in place for millions of years -- but that doesn't mean we couldn't start tossing around some ideas. For instance, why couldn't an infrastructure for life be developed around the theme, "no dream, no gain?" Sounds like heaven, right? Or is dreaming too easy? Would life quickly become complacent and cease to gain? But then, is gain really that critical? Or is gain the whole point? Is the fact that life exists at all proof that God or the universe hates complacency? It certainly explains why aboriginal people are constantly being murdered for the sake of "progress." It even explains why HBO went down the toilet.


Having regaled my beloved...and did I mention vivacious?...bride with this virtuoso spoken word performance, I laughed and turned to my beloved bride to inquire as to her thoughts on the occasion.

She was sound asleep in her chair.

Please stop laughing.

On the bright side, she never reads my blog, so she will never know about this little episode.

No...really....please stop laughing.



A Marine Stands Alone

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Posted on : 9/17/2011 07:11:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,



And honors us all.

Code Of Conduct

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Posted on : 9/16/2011 11:08:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,



Freedom Comes With High Price Indeed

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Posted on : 9/16/2011 12:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,


Never forget.  National POW/MIA Recognition Day. 

We are exceedingly fortunate that we have only one MIA in the current War on Terror suspected to still be alive.  We are exceedingly unfortunate to have had our other MIA service-members be killed by their captors.

Some people never hear the words "welcome home".
  • World War II - 74,074 MIA
  • Korean War - 8,177 MIA
  • Vietnam War - 1,713 MIA
  • Cold War - 165 MIA
  • War On Terror - 2 MIA
    • 1 in Iraq, currently presumed dead and not recovered
    • 1 in Afghanistan, presumed alive and in the custody of his captors

No Coincidences Revisited - POW/MIA Day 2011

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Posted on : 9/16/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

I posted this on my original "Dain Bramage" blog back on 9 September 2006.  I offer it again in recognition of National POW/MIA Day.

And in honor of Scott D. Ketchie.  A son of Alabama who has yet to return home.  I remain honored to wear a bracelet bearing his name.

The Worst Day Of His Life

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Posted on : 9/15/2011 06:44:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Dakota Meyer readily identifies the worst day of his life.  It is the day four of his friend died.  And regardless of what he did, Dakota couldn't stop them from dying.

I am willing to bet that he can identify the second worst day of his life.  The day they hung a medal on him for what he did while those friends were dying.


Hours before receiving the nation's highest award for military valor, a humble Marine from Kentucky wonders, why he's being honored for "the worst day of my life." 23-year old Sergeant Dakota Meyer told CBS Radio News, "it's going to be a hard time" when President Obama presents the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony.

...

"If I was a hero I would have brought them out alive that day. That's a hero. I was just doing my job," he told CBS News.

...

Asked about a message to future Marines, Meyer said, "You got to do what's right." His voice choking with emotion, he added, "Leave no marine behind."


Reading the coverage (scroll down for the links), Sgt. Meyer sounds like the prototypical U.S. Marine.  Decent, focused, hardworking.  The best friend a person could ever hope to have.

A class act, he agreed to accept the Medal of Honor as a memorial to his friends that died that day.  He asked that members of his unit be present so that they too could be honored.

Watch the presentation ceremony...



Seeing all of the past Medal of Honor recipients in attendance, I hope that they offer him the support and advice he needs the most.  They are the voice of the nearly singular experience that they have in common.

While he would gladly trade that bit of gold and ribbon to have his four friends back with him, he should never forget the thirty-six lives that he did save.  And he should never forget the thirty-seventh life he saved that day; his own.  For Sgt. Dakota Meyer is loved, respected, and honored for being who he is.  He is the quintessential American hero.  And we should be humbled to have him walk among us.

Kudos to President Obama for his presentation speech.

A Status Check On Your Activities...

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Posted on : 9/15/2011 08:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,






We now return you to your regularly scheduled Internet.  Have a nice day!

My Most Successful Post?

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Posted on : 9/14/2011 04:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

One of the features in the new Blogger interface is a statistics page.  It shows you all sorts of interesting things like how many times people have visited your blog and what entries they viewed.

My number one post?  The one about the National Geographic diving photos.

I expect the number of page views to that entry to bump up a little more now.

This is a little disappointing in a way.  I hope to bring you something mildly interesting to read whenever I create a new post.  Given that I do tend to lean towards politically oriented entries, I had hoped that one of those would create the most interest.

And The Counter Argument Is?

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Posted on : 9/13/2011 07:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

Simon over at Classical Values is taking a look at response to a recent Sarah Palin speech.

That is all explained rather reasonably by what Palin said,“We have the highest federal corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Did you know our rates are higher than China and Communist Cuba?”

The essence of the plan is to attract businesses to America by making America the best place in the world to do business. It seems like a good idea to me.
 Ahem....me, too!

I would gladly entertain a logical counter-argument for eliminating the corporate income tax.


What Media Bias? - NPR Edition

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Posted on : 9/12/2011 12:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I expect better from NPR's news reporting staff.

In his most recent speech, Mr. Obama claimed that Abraham Lincoln founded the GOP.  He didn't.  He joined the GOP two years after it the first convention.

Not a huge gaffe in the larger scheme of things.  But similar, inconsequential gaffes have been committed...and sometimes were not committed but where inferred by the media....by contenders within the GOP and resulted in all sorts of tongue clicking, tsking, and other forms of disapproval by the media.

In this case?  NPR simply omits the gaffe from their transcript.

But let's not get sidetracked by issues of media bias.  I am 100% certain that the media has no way of influencing any portion of the electorate.

Sure.  Right.

Shoot The Bastards Instead

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Posted on : 9/12/2011 10:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

The NYTimes has this recent report indicating that the government will....finally....press charges of fraud against some of the architects of the 2008 fiscal meltdown.


The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.
I have been contemplating a much larger essay on the causes of the 2008 meltdown.  There were many.

It is now patently clear that the size and scope of the meltdown would have been far less were it not for outright fraud on the part of elements of the banking industry.  I read a piece in Vanity Fair a couple years back that made it clear that Goldman Sachs, innovator of the credit default swap form of securities, had the internal position that those securities were bad risks while simultaneously selling those same securities [to] investors.

Were I of a less temperate nature, I might suggest that stringing Goldman Sachs executives and managers up by the balls and letting the crows feast on their rotting flesh is a fit punishment.  Similarly, I might suggest that distaff Goldman Sachs executives and managers be subjected to forcible sex change operations so that they can be strung up by their balls so that crows might feast on their rotting flesh.

I am too much of a lesbian to ever want to hurt a vagina.

Unfortunately, securities fraud cases are notoriously hard to prove.  The second difficulty is that many of the more obviously instances of potential fraud were committed by companies that no longer exist.  Via Megan McArdle:

Securities cases are hard to prove in the best of circumstances--even Eliot Spitzers' famous crusade against Wall Street consisted of getting fairly minor settlements from most of the big fish he went after . . . and losing every case he took to court.  The first mortgage securities case to go to trial, with two Bear Stearns bankers, likewise returned a "not guilty" verdict.  Many of these same banks got themselves in serious financial trouble by gorging on their own toxic mortgage securities, which dims the fraud angle.  Unfortunately, being arrogant idiots with the risk appetite of a coked-up skydiver is not a crime.

On the issuance side, most of the knowing, obviously provable fraud seems to have been at the mortgage broker level, or in mortgage mills that are now out of business.  Proving that someone ought to have known that they were being scammed is harder--especially since they can argue that if they ought to have known, so should the GSEs.
Shooting them where they stand seems a cleaner solution.  I am open to suggestions involving tar and feathers.

In The Wake Of Chaos

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Posted on : 9/12/2011 07:10:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I found the following while digging around on my hard drive.  I believe that this was eventually published by the local paper; the Jackson Citizen Patriot.  The then editorial page editor, Ken Wyatt, was generous with his space whenever I had something to share with his readers.

This was written in the wake of 9/11/2001, when we had so many questions, and so few answers.  Little has changed.  So much has changed.

A Classy Tribute - Video

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Posted on : 9/11/2011 07:26:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,


Budweiser apparently did not run this commercial for very long.  But I think it was a classy way to acknowledge the tragedy without being overtly commercial about it.

Edit:  I believe this commercial was made explicitly for today's games.  The full ad includes a reference to a 9/11 charity at the end.  The myth running around Facebook is that they made it in 2001 and didn't run it more than a few times to avoid the appearance of trading on the tragedy for corporate gain.

Cynics will say they still are realizing some sort of corporate gain.  Perhaps.  But it is a classy tribute, and they are promoting a valid charity as well.