Election? No Problem. 

2008 Universal Press Syndicate All Rights Reserved.

...no problem if you have the media to carry you along, that is. I saw this comic in my local paper a few days ago and it's oh so true. It's amazing how the media goes gaga over Obama. His gaffes like saying he's visited 57 states or that 10,000 people died in a Kansas tornado, or that Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than Illinois or that his uncle helped liberate Auschwitz (the Russians found Auschwitz) go almost completely without notice from the media or, if they are noticed, they cover for him quite nicely. Imagine if McCain had claimed to have visited 57 states or that a myriad of people died in a tornado when, in fact, it didn't happen. It would be horns-a-blowin' and trumpets-a-blarin' about how clueless the man is. But, BHO has an unlimited amount of get out of jail free cards that the media always plays when he gaffes or shows his obvious inexperience on domestic and foreign matters.

Additionally, associations with nutjob Rev. Wright or domestic terrorist William Ayers or crooked Tony Rezko certainly should lead to a debate about his choice of acquaintances, but it hasn't; like the Dan Quayle-like gaffes, a free pass is issued by the press.

But, people want change, I suppose, never thinking that change can be negative as well as a positive. So, I ask people, what do you want to change? Less corruption and cronyism in Washington? Well, Obama's connections to some questionable individuals make that unlikely. Someone who is intelligent? Well, forgetting how many US states there are or hyper-inflating a recent tornado's death toll do little there, too. You want a better life for yourself? Then work harder, smarter, and challenge yourself by setting goals. Seek out government programs that help you find a better job or further your education, not just ones that give you a check and say "here you go, see you next month." From personal experience, I can say that my quality of living is more dependent on my actions than who the president is.

Nonetheless, since the media will carry Obama into November, we need not worry about his gaffes or choice of friends. The media will toss those into the ol' memory hole. Nothing to see here, move along, and when you see that man carrying Obama down the racetrack, get out of their way.

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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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32W 
For the first time since around 1990, I actually bought a pair of pants (shorts, actually) with a 32" waist. I fit into them. I also bought two medium shirts, too. Many of my clothes are now too big for me. I guess losing 22 pounds will do that to you.

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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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Yaesu FT-450AT 
I decided on the Yaesu FT-450AT and purchased one. It was delivered today. I read though the manual and then hooked it up.

Some thoughts:

1. SWR comes in a little higher than on my Dad's Icom 746. The Icom was about 1.5:1. The reading on my Yaesu is about 2:1 with the same antenna. A 1:1 SWR is perfect, even if rarely achieved.
2. Don't like the fact that the microphone was made in China. Thankfully, the radio was made in Japan. Once Motorola's hand gets stronger into Vertex-Standard, I am sure more and more manufacturing will be moved there. I hate Motorola. Motorola just bought a huge share (80%) of Vertex-Standard, which is Yaesu's parent company. I wonder if they will ruin VS like they have ruined themselves.
2a. The microphone is too big and it doesn't have UP/DN buttons to adjust frequency like the standard Icom mikes do.
3. The hidden menu still works on mine. Press and hold ATT/IPO-NB-AGC and then turn it on. Then, turn DSP/SEL and adjust LEDINT1, LEDINT2, and LEDINT3 accordingly. I now have a teal display. I would highly recommend not altering anything else in there.
4. The main tuning knob is too small. It's about the diameter of a fifty-cent piece.
5. My first contact was with a guy near Panama City, FL, so it seems to work. I hope I can still hit the far western states like Colorado, Utah, and California like I could on the 746. Since the antenna is unchanged, I don't see why not, even if the SWR is a shade higher.

Overall, so far so good. I am just learning how to adjust settings to my liking. I will miss the Icom 746, though.

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Firefox 3 Download Day 
Download Day

Today is Firefox 3 Download Day. So, go ahead and download. I will download it at least three times myself. I haven't even tried the RC's for 3 yet but I will download it for my main desktop (Slackware, of course), the XP side of my wife's laptop, and a copy to keep on my flash drive so I can install it as needed.* I'll likely update the Slackware side of the laptop, too, once I give it a go on my main desktop. Jumping from 2.0.0.14 to 3 is a major version leap and apparently worthy of a full version number increment; going from Gecko rendering engineversion 1.8 to 1.9. From what I've heard, FF3 is less of a memory hog than FF2, even though I never really noticed a problem myself. Memory hog or not, it's still better (as was the case with Netscape, Mozilla, and is with Sea Monkey) than that piece of crap, bane of the Web, Internet Exploiter. And if you're using Internet Exploiter, why? Why? Why? Why?

*Not counting the download (FF3RC3 is a 7.1 MB download for Windows), install on a Windows machine takes less than 45 seconds and doesn't require a reboot. I have sat through an IE6 to IE7 update. It takes several minutes, I seem to recall around five which is after the 70MB download (that's right, almost 10x FF3RC3), and requires a reboot. What a joke.

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Veep 
The race is on for a V.P. for both Obama and McCain. I don't think Hillary will be Obama's choice and if that's the case, he can't pick a woman at all. This is where McCain can make a bold move - select a woman as a running mate. Since Obama cannot choose a woman unless she's Hillary, he's in a bind. McCain has some play here and it might work for him if he does it right. However, does he choose a conservative woman to bring back some of the conservatives or does he stay moderate and try to win over the unhappy pro-Clinton women who may not vote for Obama? Hard to say. I don't think a McCain-Clinton ticket is likely but it would be interesting. He would likely loose more conservative votes this way but may win a lot of the Hillary backers, men and woman, with this move. I think both candidates are waiting to see who blinks first, too, in order to offer a strong counter to the other's pick.

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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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