Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thank You, Vivitar

A warm and heartfelt THANK YOU to Vivitar Corporation, the maker of the Vivitar digital camera.

Well over a year ago, I purchased a model 5MP-Q93 Vivicam with 5.1 megapixels at my then-local Wal-Mart.

It was a good camera, took good pictures (and I took a LOT of pictures) and served well.  I took it on vacation and took LOTS of pictures there, too.

Then without warning, and well after the one-year warranty had expired, the thing stopped working.  It would turn on, but not take pictures.  Looking at the LCD display on the back, it was dark.

Despite the thing being out of warranty, I called Vivitar at their toll-free number and asked them how much it would cost to fix it.  They said they'd actually have to examine it in order to give an estimate.  Frankly, although it's not what I wanted to hear it makes perfect sense.

I sent the camera to them along with a note about what happened and what I'd been doing when it stopped working (taking pictures, of course.)

So imagine my surprise when I got the mail.  There was a box from Vivitar.  Inside the box was a new (for me anyway) camera.  It is a model 6300 ViviCam.  It was refurbished, but that's not the point.  The point is that I'm thrilled the Vivitar did this.

Under the terms of the warranty, if it HAD malfunctioned within the warranty period, I would have been entitled to having it fixed, or a refurbished camera sent.

As it was out of warranty, however, my option would have been to pay for them to fix it, or pay for a replacement.

Instead, they sent me a new camera ... free of charge.

Thank you, Vivitar.  Thank you VERY much.

I purchased my original Vivitar camera due to their reputation and quality.  And although I'm sure there are some people out there who had really bad experiences with Vivitar, I am not one of them.  As far as I'm concerned, based on my experience, they've earned their good reputation.

If in the future I need to purchase a new digital camera, I can safely say it'll be a Vivitar.

Thank you again.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Must've Missed Something...

(Entry edited at 17:31hrs to remove names of ACI manager and offending ACI.)

Well.  First, kudos to AOL.  Yes, I did just say that.  As you may know by now, I used to be a Community Leader (a HOST) on AOL before I got removed for daring to speak my mind.  I dared to say that removing the HOSTs would result in lawlessness in the Community and that it would be a watershed event in the end of Communities on AOL.  History has proved me right on both counts.

The ACI at the time lied when she said I could re-apply in six month's time.  I say she lied because 1) once you're removed as a HOST, you're done, and 2) she KNEW the HOST program was going away.  And our "working relationship" was supposed to be defined (in the words of an ACI manager) by "trust" and "mutual understanding."  Trust her when she lied?  Um...I missed something.

But, I digress.  Kudos to them for finally putting more emotions in the "feeling" section.  I went with "confused" this time because, frankly, I'm really really confused.  Seriously confused, in fact. 

But now we need to take a step back.  Bill Keller of the NYT said in December 2007: "…we are agnostic as to where a story may lead; we do not go into a story with an agenda or a preconceived notion. We do not manipulate or hide facts to advance an agenda. We strive to preserve our independence from political and economic interests, including our own advertisers. We do not work in the service of a party, or an industry, or even a country. When there are competing views of a situation, we aim to reflect them as clearly and fairly as we can."

OK.  That's a direct quote.  They don't go into a story with an agenda or preconceived notion.  Got it.  You don't manipulate or hide facts to advance an agenda.  Got that, too.  You strive to preserve your independence from poltical and economic interests.  I got all that claptrap.  And my favourite line, which they continue to disprove in their biased reporting: They aim to reflect competing views as cleary and as fairly as they can.  (Yes, I did nearly choke on that last.)  One question, Mr. Keller:  Do you take me for being as completely stupid as my ACI took me to be? 

Now we come to what John Fund, an Op-Ed writer for the Wall Street Journal Online wrote when talking about BHO's numerous gaffes.  "That hardly disqualifies Mr. Obama from being president. But you can bet that if Hillary Clinton had done the same thing it would have been the focus of much more attention, especially after her Bosnia sniper-fire fib. That's because gaffes are often blown up or downplayed based on whether or not they further a story line the media has attached to a politician."  (emphasis added)  As Rush Limbaugh would say "STOP THE PRESSES!!!"  (The entire article is here: )

I need to repeat that "...gaffes are often blown up or downplayed based on whether or not they further a story line the media has attached to a politician."  Um...Mr. Fund?  According to Mr. Keller of the NYT, the media doesn't do that.

Here we have two different writers, writing for two different publications.  We have the liberal NYT (as demonstrated by that study I referenced in an earlier posting) and then we have the somewhat more mainstream WSJ Online. 

Mr. Fund is telling us that gaffes get blown up or downplayed "...based on whether or not they further a story line the media has attached to a politician."  Mr. Keller says they don't do that. 

So which is it?  This isn't wave-particle duality here, this is a straight forward question.  Does the media in fact ramp-up or downplay certain parts of a story? 

And if so, why do they hide it?  Or try to hide it?  Oh, how I'm reminded of that Cox and Forkum cartoon from 2006:

Oh.  One more thing.  Another cartoon from Cox and Forkum:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"I'm right and YOU'RE WRONG!

How many times have you heard that?  "Well, I'm right and you're wrong."  OR, "I don't need to change, I'm perfect." 

I love a good debate.  Now, take a step back and note that word I used.  Debate, not arguement

I consider myself at least somewhat versed in the issues.  I'm not an expert, nor do I claim to be.  Somewhat versed (informed.) 

Care to debate?  GREAT!  Let's keep it civil.  Because in keeping it civil you show that you acknowledge that the person has beliefs different than yours and that you're willing to listen to them.  And perhaps ... just perhaps, each of the participants might learn something.

But then we come to people on both sides of the political divide.  Those that are "perfect" (in their own words!) and who are always right (again, in their own words.)  "Global Warming?  It's manmade.  Entirely." 

"But what about the fact that four other planets besides the Earth are also warming?" 


 "But it's..." 

"NO, It's not true.  Global Warming is entirely manmade." 

"Is it just barely possible that it might not be entirely manmade?"

"No.  Global Warming is entirely manmade."  (If you can't tell, I've already had this arguement.  Sadly, it did turn into one.  (Like I said in an earlier post, I'm not perfect either.))

Yes, there are people like that out there. 

Folks, I'm 41 years old and I've done some seriously stupid stuff in my years.  Seriously.  I'm not perfect, I never have been.  And, I never will be.

Is it possible that I'm wrong?  Oh, yes.  I've been wrong before and I will be again.  I neither doubt nor deny that. 

But too many folks on both sides of the issues are stating that they are right, cannot be wrong, and that to disagree with them is "...a crime." (Seriously.  There are people out there who are trying to make it a criminal offense to disagree with the view that Global Warming is entirely manmade.)

But at this point, we need to take a step back.  Scientists have been wrong before.  The prevailing view used to be that Meteor Crater in Arizona had been caused by an eruption of steam, perhaps caused by volcanism which is common in that area.

It wasn't until Eugene Shoemaker proved Daniel Barringer's earlier hypothesis that the cause was known to be an impact event.  Dr. Shoemaker proved the 1903 hypothesis of impact in 1960.  That's 57 years.

The earliest pilots had been told that if they hit the sound barrier, they'd be killed.  Then-Lt. "Chuck" Yeager broke the "barrier" in 1947. 

We'd always thought that invisibility was impossible.  Two years ago, it was done.  That's right, at Imperial College in London, they caused an electron to become invisible.  Granted, it was just an electron but the implications are profound.

We've always thought that quantum computers were impossible.  Enter Orion.  It's in the lab, and to be fair its best calculation to date is 3 x 5 = 15, but it is a working quantum computer.  And it did that calculation across five electrons.

Get the point?  Scientists have been wrong before.  It's the good ones that admit it.

Why then, can't people on both sides of the political divide admit that maybe, just maybe, they too might be wrong? 

It used to be that if you disagreed with the great thinkers of earlier eras that you were wrong.  Disagree with Aristotle?  You're wrong!  Disagree with Ptolemy?  You're due to be burned at the stake.  Heretic.

With the problems currently facing us, we don't need such outmoded and (dare I say it) archaic thinking.  You could even call it "Dark Age" thinking. 

We need answers.  We don't need politics. 

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Did you catch the title?  WARNING and then WarMing.  WARNING WARMING

Yes, another planet is warming...this time it's ... GASP ... JUPITER!!

OH NO!!!  STOP ALL THE CARS ON JUPITER!  Wait...there aren't any.

You mean Jupiter is warming now?


Mr. Gore, hellooooooo?

No cars on Jupiter, folks.  No cars on poor little Mercury, Venus, Mars OR Jupiter.  And yet ALL of those planets are warming.  This, again, is according to NASA and the folks at JPL.

Do you STILL think that global warming on Earth is ONLY a man-made problem?

Perhaps I'm not the one out of touch...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Politics of Physics?!?

Yes, the politics of physics.  ::sighs::

This summer, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) will be turned on.  I've written about it before, but I do need to make a correction (yes, even I make misteaks(see?))

In an earlier posting, I wrote that the LHC should be powerful enough to discover a Higgs Bozon.  I also wrote that ST (String Theory) was the theory that predicted the Higgs. 

I was incorrect.  That's what happens when you're half asleep. :)  The theory that predicts the Higgs Bozon is the Standard Model of Particles and Forces.  And to my readers (and those who pointed it out) I do apologize.

But that's not what I'm writing about ... I'm writing about the people who are trying to get the LHC shut down (permanently) because it COULD create a strangelet. 

A strangelet is a hypothetical particle which COULD (in theory) convert 'normal' matter to 'strange' matter.  Those trying to shut the LHC down are stating that the danger to the Earth is far too grave to allow the accelerator to be turned on. 

But let's look at this objectively.  First, is it POSSIBLE that the LHC COULD create one?  The answer is yes.  It is theoretically possible.

Second, is it possible that the strangelet would last long enough (be stable enough) to convert normal matter into strange matter?  That answer is also yes.  But it's not very likely. 

Why?  Because if they do exist, they're only going to be a few femtometers across (a femtometer is a quadrillionth of a meter)  That's really REALLY small.  Second, although they're theororized to be composed of a roughly equal number of  up, down, and strange quarks, they're not going to be very stable.  The weak nuclear force will see to that, since it is what should govern the interactions at this scale.

As a strangelet grows more stable, it will grow in size by converting normal matter.  Once a strangelet reaches a macroscopic size (a size that you can see with the naked eye) then it would be capable of converting the Earth to strange matter.  (This is the 'ice-nine' hypothesis.)

The question, however, remains.  Is it possible?  Yes.  It's just not very likely.

First, nobody is exactly sure that these particles even exist. 

Second, there is a particle which has already been found that has strange properties.  It's called a Lambda Particle.  It also is composed of an up, down, and strange quark, but it ALWAYS loses its strangeness due to the weak nuclear force.

Third, in order to become stable, the strangelet would have to last for a matter of minutes.  It's THEORIZED that it will last no longer than 10(-43) seconds.  In plain English, it should last 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds.  That's not very long.

But those trying to shut the LHC down permanently are ignoring this inconvenient fact.  Shame on them.  Shame.

Yes, it is POSSIBLE that the LHC could create a strangelet.

No, it's not very likely.  Even if it did, it almost certainly wouldn't last long enough to begin converting matter.

Lastly, the Lambda Particle has already been found.  It too has strange properties.  However, due to the weak nuclear force, it doesn't last long enough to do any harm.

I've had quite enough of politics.  I really have.  Leave politics to the lying, back-stabbing politicians.  It has no place in science.

Pollution Tax - Not just a Conspiracy Theory

I think I've written before that I'm not a conspiracy theorist.  God knows there are enough of them running around.  There are conspiracy theories covering everything from sunspots to hairloss.  Seriously.

But this isn't one of them.  As I've said before (and at the beginning of this entry) I'm NOT a conspiracy theorist.  But when I was writing security articles (about computer and national security) I got called one for saying that the US would soon have a "global warming tax."'s coming.  (If you're eating or drinking something, put it down.  This'll make you snort.)

Of course, the same people that said that I was a conspiracy theorist for saying this about the US also said I was one when I stated that the UN wanted such a tax ... globally.  Again, if you're eating or drinking something, please set it down.

I'm now going to quote from the last article (the link I just posted):  "The IPCC, which won this year's Nobel peace prize jointly with Al Gore, will confirm it is 90% sure that recent global warming is down to human activity, "

This is from 2007, so they missed what I wrote about earlier, the 31,000 scientists who debunk the manmade global warming hysteria.  To be fair to them, they didn't exactly MISS it, because the disclosure of the names of those scientists hadn't happened yet.  But, they KNEW that those scientists existed and CHOSE NOT TO ASK FOR THEIR INPUT.  They also forgot one key fact:  At the upper levels of the atmosphere (where the atmosphere meets space) all of the climate models break down ... badly.  The simple truth is that we have no concrete idea of what goes on up there.  Throw clouds into the mix (they run some of their scenarios without clouds) and the situation gets more and more complicated. 

Do you remember back in the '70's when the hysteria was about global COOLING?  Well...sit back.  Exhibit #1

And now exhibit #2:

(The picture can be found here:  It's from Newsweek (aka Snoozeweek) in 1975.)

The simple truth is that since our climate models break down, we don't know exactly what's going to happen in the future. 

But we DO know that the Earth is now warming.  As I've written before, this is partially due to increased output from the sun in that Venus, Mars, and poor little Mercury are also warming.  (However, I'm not sure we should count Mercury for the simple reason that it's so CLOSE to the sun that if the sun burps, poor little Mercury fries.)

Sorry to burst your bubble.

Oh...and I'm now down to #3 on the Google list. But to still be there is an honour.  I know that this is being read and I am honoured and humbled.  As I wrote the other day, it is somewhat frightening to know that this is being read. 

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Deja Vu, Anyone?

Well.  The BIG headline of the day (aside from Mr. Kennedy's brain tumour) is this:

Talk about Deja Vu.  If you remember, on Friday 2-MAY-08 (nineteen days ago), I wrote:  "And making the oil industry answer to Congressional hearings?  I've not forgotten that they have ALREADY had their hearings in the past over the price of petrol.  We've already been down this road, HRC.  It didn't do any good because the politicians (that's you, by the way) and the oil industry decided it shouldn't.  Now here we are again.  Same problem." (emphasis added)

Yes, just like I wrote, the politicians, trying to make you believe that they care about you, have started their dog-and-pony show and their "hearings," trying to make the oil execs explain their profits.

Yes, I wrote about that too.  And yes, the oil execs also should be explaining things.  Too bad the politicians have their hands up each others rectums and don't know the right questions to ask.  The politicians also have some explaining to do.

If you remember, sixteen years ago Bill Clinton talked about hydrogen fuel cells.  That was in 1992, folks.  He did the same in 1996 while trying to keep the presidency.  Then, Shrub (George Bush) talked about hydrogen fuel cells EIGHT years ago while trying to win the office.  FOUR years ago, he did the same thing.

And, as I also wrote before NOT.  ONE.  DAMN.  THING.  GOT.  DONE.  Yes, the politicians also have a great deal of explaining to do.  Too bad they're too busy trying to make you believe that they care about you.  They don't.  And the energy they're putting into this farce should be better spent trying to wean this country off of oil.

As I wrote before:  Just imagine what we could do with all the money we're using now to buy petrol.  Just imagine the money we'd have to solve problems right here at home.  Drilling in ANWR doesn't solve the problem, it just postpones it.  Drilling off the coast of the US doesn't solve the problem, it just postpones it.  We need to get off of oil, and IT CAN BE DONE.  But ONLY if the politicians actually get off their fat asses and DO something.  We don't need more dog-and-pony shows, we need YOU to get involved and to TELL THE OIL LOBBYISTS that you're serious this time.  Of course, (sadly) I'll probably die before you do.  Some bottom-line company is making a tonne of money right now.  And, you're letting them. 

And now a few words about Sen. Kennedy's tumour.  I was shocked, dismayed, and saddened when I read this.  To be frank, I don't like Mr. Kennedy's poltics or his stance on a great many issues.  Frankly, I think he's too liberal.  BUT, he is also a human being.  And he is now facing an almost certainly terminal illness.  I can only imagine the things that are going through his mind right now.

I can only imagine the things that are going through his family's mind as well.  To know that somebody you love is facing a hard and terminal illness is not easy.  I know ... I've been there.  My ex-wife's mother died while we were still married and though she wasn't my mother, I cried a great deal ... grieved a great deal.  As is his family.

Whatever your politics, whatever your beliefs, I ask you set those aside and pray for Mr. Kennedy and his family.  The road ahead of them is not an easy one.  Take a second (please!) to think about them...send some positive energy their way.  They'll need it.  Also, take a moment to let somebody that's close to you ... and that you love, let them know that you do love them.  Mr. Kennedy is 76 years old, but that's still too young to die.  My heart aches for him and his family.  As the profile on one of my other screen names says "Tell those you love that you DO love them.  You may never get another chance." 

I did get a shock the other day.  I got an email telling me that my screenname is now #2 on Google if you look it up.  I was floored.  While I get very few replies in my mailbox about this journal, and nobody has yet replied to an entry, Somebody, somewhere, is reading it.  For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It's humbling (and frightening) to know that this journal is actually being read.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lobbyists, Part 629,517

Put down your drinks and munchies for this one.  It's short, but it'll make you snort.

How many times have I blamed lobbyists for part of our political and social woes?  Oh, a few.

Now, one key republican says "No one in real America cares (about lobbyists).  But McCain cares."

Hey, I'm not in Real America?  Really?  Just how out of touch are you people, anyway?

I think we now know the answer.  Rrreeeaaallllllyyy out of touch. 

Get your fat butts out of the beltway and into mid-America.  You might learn a few things.  But Mr. McCain, it IS a start and for that I do commend you.

All you need to do now is get rid of Juan Hernandez, the former Mexican Cabinet official who just recently lobbied for rights and benefits for those here illegally.  And he did it at the behest of the Mexican Government, Mr. McCain. 

Oops.  Can we say ... "conflict of interest?"  Or "...the appearance of impropriety."  Helloooo??  Doesn't YOUR OWN POLICY state “No person working for the Campaign may be a registered lobbyist or foreign agent, or receive compensation for any such activity.”

What about Mr. Hernandez, Mr. McCain?

I'll say it again:  No matter who wins, we lose.

Dr. Arthur Robinson - Press Release

May 15, 2008 12:39 PM EDT

Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM)

Who: Dr. Arthur Robinson of the OISM

What: release of names in OISM "Petition Project"

When: 10 AM, Monday May 19

Where: Holeman Lounge at the National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC

Why: the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) will announce that more than 31,000 scientists have signed a petition rejecting claims of human-caused global warming. The purpose of OISM's Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of "settled science" and an overwhelming "consensus" in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climate damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis.

It is evident that 31,072 Americans with university degrees in science - including 9,021 PhDs, are not "a few." Moreover, from the clear and strong petition statement that they have signed, it is evident that these 31,072 American scientists are not "skeptics."

CONTACT: Audrey Mullen, +1-xxx-xxx-xxxx, for the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

/PRNewswire-USNewswire -- May 15/

SOURCE Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine


Are you listening, Mr. Gore?  How about you, Mr. McCain?  Mr. Obama?  Anybody?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Politics of Global Warming


Well, yes it is.  But not for the reasons that you might think.  You won't hear this in the mainstream media because it, frankly, doesn't fit into their agenda.  And despite what they say, they DO have one.

Yes, the Earth is warming.  But then again, so is Venus.

And Mars.

And poor little Mercury. 

This isn't just me saying this, folks.  This is JPL and the folks at NASA and other astrophysicists

The last time I checked, there were no cars on any of those other three planets.  No coal-fired power plants, either.  No petrol-guzzling SUVs, either.  So why are those other three planets warming?  It has to do with the output from the sun.  Again, do a Google search and you can find this out for yourself.  There are some that think this raised output is also causing the Pioneer Anomaly (also known as the Pioneer Effect,) but this isn't supported by the facts.

But those with a political or power agenda tied to global warming would have you ignore this inconvenient truth.  So would Al Gore.  They would have you believe that even though those other three planets are warming, they Earth's warming is due to mankind alone. 


I'm not denying that our activities are making the problem worse.  I can't deny that, because to do so would be to fly in the face of stark reality.  Again, Google it. 

Mankind didn't cause the problem, but we're not helping solve it either.  The emissions from volcanoes (including at the mid-ocean ridges (what are those you ask?  G O O G L E  I T.)) as well as the output from the sun as well as the methane from the warming Alaskan tundra are working together to create a really big problem. 

Add to that the fact that warming and cooling periods on the Earth are cyclical.  In other words, they follow cycles.  Warming, followed by cooling, followed by another cycle of warming followed by yet another cycle of cooling.  I could go on, but that should give you the idea.  Weather on Earth is cyclical, it always has been over the course of many millions of years.

In studying the fossil records, it appears that 14 of the 15 mass extinctions on the planet were due to ... global warming.  The only one that WASN'T was the one of 65 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.  The mainstream media isn't telling you THAT, either.  Neither are those with an agenda, because it really is an inconvenient truth.  Isn't it, Mr. Gore?

The Great Dying of 250 million years ago was probably due to a flood basalt as well as other factors.  This induced ... wait for it ... global warming.  A really REALLY BIG warming

Again, there were no cars 250 million years ago, but those with the agenda would have you ignore this fact.

So, what do we do?  We need to break our dependence on oil and coal and fossil fuels.  There are those who say that nuclear is the way to go, but I'm not in favour of this.  Again, not for the reasons that you think.

People, fuelled by the militant environmentalists, would have you believe that the Earth is drowning in nuclear waste.  This simply isn't the case.  The truth is that ALL the nuclear waste produced by every country on the face of the Earth since the very first reactor went online would fill a ...

... high school gymnasium.  Seriously.  Again, G O O G L E  I T.  That sounds like a broken record, I know, but the information is out there. 

Don't depend on others to look it up for you, since you have no way of knowing if they have an agenda or not.  And the sad fact is that there are too many people on BOTH side of the problem that have agendas. 

I don't give an overweight rat's rectum about agendas.  You shouldn't either.  We've already passed one point of no return and we simply can't afford to bury our heads in the sand and let those with the agendas lead us around by the nose.  That's not me saying that either, that's Dr. Michio Kaku.  Who's he?

He's one of the world's foremost authorities in theoretical physics and the environment.  The co-founder of string-field theory, his PhD-level textbooks are REQUIRED reading at most of the top physics labs.

Again, this information is out there, folks.  Look it up.

Do it with an open mind and you'll learn a great deal.

Yes, the Earth is warming.

No, mankind is not the sole cause.

And Mr. Gore, you've ignored quite a few inconvenient truths.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Something I forgot about the Merdia Initiative.  The following comes from Michelle Malkin's site:

Yet, the Bush administration wants to fork over $1.4 billion to Mexico and Central America–with much of it going into the hands of corrupt law enforcement officials and government bureaucrats who have worked tirelessly to undermine our immigration laws. The funding is tucked into the 2008 supplemental budget. (emphasis added)

Naturally, the State Department has taken a lead role. They’ve held meetings in secret and cut out members of Congress from discussion. You’ll love the explanation for the secrecy: Mexico is “sensitive,” you see. Also, according to one expert, “Mexico is very protective of its sovereignty and very worried about any incursion of U.S. security forces or private contractors—like Blackwater—coming in to train Mexicans.” Yeah, they’re worried about incursions and sovereignty. (From Michelle Malkin's site at:

But then we come to BHO.  "

One of Barack Obama’s Middle East policy advisers disclosed today that he had held meetings with the militant Palestinian group Hamas - prompting the likely Democratic nominee to sever all links with him.

Robert Malley told The Times he had regularly been in contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza but is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation. "

Oops.  BHO did sever all ties with him, to his credit.  But it is worrysome. 

And they want me to vote for them?  HRC wants me to vote for her? 



Stop all amnesty.  More on this later.

"We're Screwed '08"

As I've written here before, "Election 08:  No matter who wins, we lose."

Now, there's a website (and I had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this site) named

I can't vote for HRC.  Why?  She'd force universal healthcare down our throats.  It would bloat government and ... well.  The money for all these government programs that all the candidates are proposing has to come from SOMEWHERE, right?  And we all know that money doesn't grow on trees.  It's not like you can plant a money tree in your backyard and pluck a 20$US every time you need one.  It'd be nice, though.

So, where does that money come from?  Taxes.  They'd have to go up.  There's simply no way around that fact. 

As for BHO (again, the only reason I include his middle initial is because BO makes it look like 'body odour.')  Well, I can't vote for him either.  And it's not because he's black.  It's because I disagree with his stance on a lot of issues.  And his Pastor didn't help him, either. 

JM (also known as John McAmnesty and John McShamnesty) is ... well.  He's chummy with La Raza (literally - THE Race (as an aside, can you imagine the uproar that would happen if a group of white men called themselves 'The Race?'  It'd be the KKK part deux.))

Oh, and let's not forget president Bush.  God, but how I regret voting for him.  I even wrote numerous articles against Al Gore and got invited to the White House Dinner.  Honestly. 

But now?  I regret voting for him.  He's stuffing the Iraq spending bill with something called "The Merida Initiative"  What is it you ask?
It's a bill to help Mexico secure their southern border.  Honestly.

We can't secure ours, but we can help them secure theirs.  AMERICA first, Mr. Bush.

And if I had it to do over again, I would NEVER have voted for you.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"But We're Only Making 8 per cent!"

I'm sure that by now, you've heard the oil company's excuse "We're only making 8 per cent profit on petrol/oil!"

And ... they're right.  They've used this excuse before.  They've also said that they should be allowed to earn as much as a profit as other consumer goods.  Well...

To understand this, we need to take a step back.  So, let's imagine.

"Widgets Are Us" is the world's largest maker of widgets.  That's ALL they make.  They tried to make waggles, but they didn't sell.  So, they only make widgets.  After their costs (payroll, rent on building, health insurance for workers, utilities, etc) are taken into account, it costs them $.27 on the dollar to make each widget.  BUT...they're also in business to make a profit, so they can't SELL the widget at "Cost (what it costs to make.)"  They need to make a profit.  So, they sell their widgets at $.30 to each of their buyers.  In other words, they make $.03 PROFIT per widget.

Your friendly neighbourhood store (and I've worked retail, so I KNOW this happens) buys their widgets directly from Widgets Are Us.  They buy them at $.30 per widget, and they buy a LOT of widgets.  BUT, this store (let's call them XYZZ Corp) is also in business to make a profit, so they can't SELL the widget to you at $.30.  And, in fact, when you went shopping the other day you did indeed see one of their widgets for ... $.45?!?!?  Yup.

This difference between what they sell it to you for ($.45) and what they BOUGHT it for ($.30) is called MARKUP.  (This is NOT profit...not yet.)

So -  .45 - .30 = .15 markup.  In this case, it's also 50 per cent.  A 50 per cent markup?!?  Yup.  Again, I've worked retail.

But ... we haven't figured in XYZZ's costs yet.  And they do have a lot of cost.  Their employee's salary, healthcare costs, rent for buildings, utilities, costs for shipping, etc.  When you subtract the COST from the MARKUP, you're left with PROFIT.

Well, XYZZ didn't make this sucker ... er widget, they BOUGHT it, so there's no production cost.  BUT...shipping from their DC (Distribution Centre) to your local store does figure in.  So... we know that it cost you $.45 to buy this widget and they bought it for $.30.

Now it's time for math.  The way you figure profit is the profit relative to the sales price, or (.30/.45) x 100% = ?

In this case it's 66.67 per cent?!?  Yup.  66 per cent profit.  Again, I've worked retail.

The oil companies are correct in that their 8 per cent is peanuts compared to some other items.  BUT ... considering the sheer VOLUME (amount) of petrol purchased at the pump, it becomes easy to see where their record profits are coming from.

An excellent primer to MARKUP (business) can be found here:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

John McCain and La Raza

Oh, the Politics of Identity!  "I'm a (hyphenated)-American!"  Whatever happened to just being a plain American?

Read the whole thing (yes, it is long, but it's necessary to read and understand all of it.)

Read especially the part where he talks about a hyphen.  And then read about La Raza (literally; THE Race.)  An excellent article about it is here: which states that, contrary to many wild claims you might have heard about it NOT having been coined by a Mexican...BUT:  "The term originated in the book La Raza Cósmica written by a Mexican writer, José Vasconcelos. He described La Raza Cosmica as the product of racial mixing over time that was already in progress in the Hispanic world."

YIKES!!!  Don't mention that to the PC crowd!!!  Or that he believed in supremacism.  Just of the Mexican people, of course.  And their decendants. 

Hellllloooo, Mr. McCain? 

I know this next link goes to Michelle Malkin's site, but there's a lot of good info on it:

Oops.  I won't be voting for McCain, either.

As I've written before:  Election '08:  No matter who wins, we lose.

And you can take THAT to the bank.

Survey SAYS ... I was right.

Well, another night of insomnia has come ... and gone.  I'm gonna try to get a least an hour or so of sleep soon, but before I do:

Their first paragraph:  "May 5 (Bloomberg) -- More than 200 economists, including four Nobel prize winners, signed a letter rejecting proposals by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain to offer a summertime gas-tax holiday."

Ding.  And the reasons?  Because it doesn't save people much money and because it reduces the tax monies available to maintain roads and bridges.  DING.  That's what I wrote, too.  And I'm not an economist. 

BUT...then we come to what JM said:  "``I find people who are the wealthiest who are most dismissive of a plan to give low-income Americans a little holiday''  Ummm...I'm not wealthy.  Far from it.  I've debt coming out of my ears, frankly.  It's just that I'm not quite so stupid, JM.  I KNOW this is a bad idea, and I KNOW *WHY* it's a bad idea.  Yes, 30$US does more money to me, but that's saved not at one fillup at the pump, but over the ENTIRE driving season (the summer months.)  30$US saved over several months?  Better than nothing, but nowhere near as much as they want it to sound.

``I'm not going to put my lot in with economists'' (HRC said) because ``we would design it in such a way that it would be implemented effectively.''   Oh?  How's that, HRC?  ::tick::  ::tick:: ::tick::  ::tick:: details here, folks.  Just that she would implement it "...effectively." flash; the President doesn't have that type of authority.  Sorry, HRC, but the President really doesn't.  (Since you're running for that office, I kind of expect you to keep up on little things like this.)

In all, there's nothing new here.  Just stupid politicians giving stupid ideas trying to win votes.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Politics of Oil

Well.  An entry about politics.  :)  Here we go...

Hillary Rodham Clinton (henceforth referred to as HRC) and Barack Obama (henceforth referred to as BHO (because 'BO' makes it sound like he's got body odour)) are on differing sides about the same question.

HRC is touting suspending the petrol tax for the summer driving season.  She's also for having the oil companies pay for the tax, in order that they reign in their record profits.  In theory, that sounds like a good idea.  It would save people some money that they could use for other things ... like groceries, rent, etcetera.  BHO is with John McCain (henceforth referred to as JM) in opposing this idea.

I do like some of HRC's ideas, but she's wrong about this ... in my opinion.  Here's why:

Suspending the petrol tax is about $.18 on the US dollar.  It can be more or less in some areas.  The government uses these monies to build, maintain and repair roads and bridges.  Suspending this tax would deprive the government of some of these monies, and it is possible that some repair projects could face funding problems.

Another reason that this is a bad idea is that BHO is correct when he said that the oil companies would simply raise prices, like they did in Illinois.  Seriously.  The oil companies would raise their price, thereby offsetting the savings from the tax.  The oil companies would make more money ... hence more profit.  Oops. 

I don't know how many people reading this entry (assuming that anybody actually IS) were around during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo.  A very well-written description can be found here: for those that weren't.

I, however, was.  I remember my father and my mother sitting in our vehicle waiting to get petrol.  And it wasn't pretty.  Yes, some fist-fights DID break out.  Harsh words were exchanged.  (I do need to point out right here that my father never participated in the fights or the exchange of words.  None of us did.)

What does that have to do with this?  Simple.  We need to end our dependency on oil.  I've written this before, so it's not new.  Also, after the Embargo, we as a Nation looked at alternatives to oil.  But it didn't last long, and the smell of sweet crude and dollar signs made the industry complacent.

Could the Embargo happen again?  It certainly could.  And at some point, it probably will.  Only this time, we'll have let it happen by not exploring alternatives.  And I don't mean drilling in ANWR, I mean getting off of oil.  IT CAN BE DONE.

But BHO and JM are correct in that this is a bad idea.  I'd go further and call it a cheap political stunt.

I'm in no way suggesting that I'm in favour of higher taxes.  I believe that we're already overtaxed.  But this idea is a bad one...a very bad one.  It deprives the government of monies it needs to maintain the roadways, and does nothing to solve the long-term problem.  And making the oil industry answer to Congressional hearings?  I've not forgotten that they have ALREADY had their hearings in the past over the price of petrol.  We've already been down this road, HRC.  It didn't do any good because the politicians (that's you, by the way) and the oil industry decided it shouldn't.  Now here we are again.  Same problem.

Perhaps HRC will come back later in the campaign and say she 'misspoke' or was taken 'out of context.'  How many times have we heard THAT line during this campaign ... from ALL parties?  As I've already written, it's come to the point where I wouldn't believe ANY politician, no matter WHAT they said. 

We need to get off of oil.  It really is that simple.