The Electoral College

I am not really a proponent of the electoral college.. if you are not familiar with it check out the wiki on it here. I think that the idea of states voting for a president seems bureaucratic and a bit off to me.

Gary posted this interactive map (above) on his blog and I thought that it was a good way to show how crazy the electoral college is. I mean really.. does it make any difference which presidential candidate a Kansan votes for?

Here is how to use the map widget. Click on a gray state and choose who you think will win. Do the same with each remaining gray state and watch the path to 270 (Victory) for one candidate. Try different combinations to achieve different outcomes.

I agree that Kansas will go Republican. How do you think your state will go?

Residential Wind Power

A home wind turbine already installed at 250 sites in Scotland is now being sold across the pond.Cascade Engineering said Monday the Swift wind turbine, for homes and other buildings, is available in the U.S. and Canada.

The Swift tries to set itself apart from existing small wind turbines with a design that reduces noise. Also, the turbine can be attached to a home, rather than to a free-standing pole or tower.
So what do you think? Would you consider putting a wind turbine on your house? I think that my neighborhood probably would have a restriction prohibiting their installation.

Happy Halloween

Funny 1 minute video from The Shoebox Blog

Election Issues Poll

I voted with the 23% because of it's impact on all of the other issues.
Which one would you have voted for?

I Used to Rule the World

This Coldplay song, Viva La Vida, begins with the phrase that I use in the title of this post. Every time I hear the song I remember back to those days when I seemed to have it all and seemed to have life by the tail. Those days were characterized by:
  • Back and white simplistic thinking. I had a firm grasp on right and wrong.. I was judgmental and people who did no agree with me were just plain ignorant.
  • An illusion of control. I believed that I was in charge of my family, my career and things most important to me.
  • A self-centered ego driven personality. I gave lip service to loving others but, like the pharisees in the new testament, really didn't understand compassion. My life was all about me.
My hair turned gray from dark brown with six months of my first wife's heart attack.. I was 40.. and ever since then my life has been one in which my thinking more and more mirrors the color of my hair. Every day I seem to get a glimpse of how little control I have over the things that are most important. In each difficult season I get a picture of how much life is all about being compassionate and loving other people. I no longer rule the world but I am content with my place in it.

The Vote Hour

Interesting one minute video.

What time of the day will you vote?

Whitlock on the Chiefs

Jason Whitlock, one of my favorite sports columnists had an interesting column this week on the Chiefs loss to the Jets.. here are a few excerpts:
Chan Gailey put together a brilliant game plan. The no-huddle spread simplifies a defense, makes a quarterback’s reads a bit easier. The easy reads lighten the load on the offensive line; it doesn’t have to protect as long.

Thigpen looked like an NFL quarterback, and KC’s line appeared competent.

With 5 minutes left, the Chiefs were playing with house money. No one expected them to win. They were going to get credit for spooking the Jets. Why not let Thigpen go down winging the football? He earned the right to win and/or lose the football game.

Had he tossed a pick-six, no one would’ve blasted Edwards, Gailey or Thigpen. There was only one way to ruin Sunday’s game, and Edwards and Gailey found it.
I agree with Jason about those last five minutes. Thigpen's passing game was going well on Sunday.. offensive coordinator Gailey and head coach Edwards should have showed some confidence in him instead of playing it safe with lackluster running game.

Trash Heap Energy

An MSNBC article titled One man's garbage, another's power plant fascinated me. The caption for this picture says:

A methane gas collection pipe sticks out of the 1-E landfill in Kearny, N.J. The site is among 21 landfills in New Jersey that convert methane gas produced by decomposing trash into electricity, according to the state Board of Public Utilities.
Apparently, methane from 455 landfills nationwide is being used to power thousands of homes. Why have we not heard of this before? Another example of "green" energy?

Grocery Shopping

Since Ann's recent disability I have taken on the grocery shopping duties. I can really relate to the list thing shown in this cartoon.. we keep one on the refrigerator and add to it during the week.. and I have almost lost the list on several occasions. Fortunately for our family I have a cell phone.. I call my wife from the store at least three times.. sometimes asking for clarification and often just getting her advice

How about you? Who does the grocery shopping at your place? Do you use a list? Ever have to phone home from the store? Any tips to share? Inquiring minds want to know.

Our Need to be Liked by Politicians

This Christianity Today article titled "Can We Come to the Party?" reveals how Evangelicals and their leaders are often carried away by their desire to be influential in the political process. Here is the way that the article starts:
"I know you can't endorse me, but I want you to know that I endorse you." Nothing solidified the alliance between evangelicals and the Republican Party so much as that 1980 comment from Ronald Reagan to 2,500 pastors.

"You can imagine what that did for caring, traditional-values people," James Robison, who organized the event, said later. "He endorsed us. It was a big impetus."

Reagan, who was divorced, did not attend church, and gave less than 1 percent of his income to charity, hardly delivered on any of evangelicals' expectations as president, William Martin noted in a CT article after Reagan died. "What Reagan did give evangelicals, in great abundance, was symbolic affirmation in the form of photo ops. For many, that was enough."

Evangelicals didn't care that Reagan wasn't like them. It was enough that he liked them.
Did you catch that phrase "symbolic affirmation"? I have to admit that I was sucked into this whole mess.. often buying the rhetoric and believing that politicians were actually like me and had values similar to mine.. and I voted that way as well. I liked that these politicians really seemed to "like" me.

In hindsight, voting for people who seem to "like" us is pretty foolish. Better to vote for people who we believe will make a good mayor, congressman or president than to vote for someone who "likes" us.

Health Insurance

Can anyone relate to Ziggy? In this year where the candidates are playing the health care card I was wondering how many of you are really happy with their health insurance. I have seen my retirements benefits slip away inch-by-inch as my deductibles and premiums have escalated. What do you think?

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Heart Sin

Check out my new post here.

Chiefs 24, Jets 28

This game was rather enjoyable one.. even though we lost I feel that we played better than we have most of this season. I was especially encouraged by the play of QB Tyler Thigpen who played well in his second start as an NFLer.

This loss puts the team at a pitiful one win and six losses on the season. Here's hoping that the team rebuilding gets a shot in the arm with some great draft picks :(

What Undecided Voters Think

Just a few notes that have been spinning around in my head.. and yes.. even though my wife has voted by mail.. I have not voted yet because I am yet undecided. Here are my thoughts of late.. I think that they may be representative of undecided voters:
  • Neither candidate is evil.. each is a sitting US Senator.. they do not deserve to be demonized with talk about being Un-American.
  • Obama is pro-choice but not pro-abortion.. really.. undecided voters aren't buying the idea that Obama thinks that it is okay to kill babies born alive.
  • Talks of socialism are political rhetoric.. our country redistributes wealth all of the time.. Medicare and Social security are a few redistribution programs that comes to mind.
  • The main stream media may lean left but it is not evil.. and neither are those fair and balanced news networks.
  • Medicare, social security, the budget shortfall and the national deficit are sadly nowhere to be found in the candidates dialog and debates.. this is indicative of why this campaigning falls short for many of us.
  • The real issue is the economy.. both candidates seem to be comfortable with spending billions of our dollars.. neither candidate is a fiscal conservative.
Undecided for a reason.. do not see a candidate that is clearly better than the other.. unless you are a single issue voter.. which most undecided voters are not.

WiFi Poaching

Can anyone relate to this cartoon? There used to be several wireless networks within range of my house but (I just checked) and I seem to be the only game in my neighborhood. Any experience that you'd like to share?

Dilbert on CEO Greed

Happy Days Mayberry Endorsement

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Worth watching for the memories even if you are voting against Obama -
no one is really voting for McCain.

HT: Barbara

Blaming Younger Evangelicals

At Christianiy Today's politics blog, Sarah Pulliam points out that the 16-page letter from Focus on the Family offering a hypothetical look back on the first term of an Obama administration that's disastrous for religious conservatives blames young evangelicals for an Obama victory:
Many Christians voted for Obama - younger evangelicals actually provided him with the needed margin to defeat John McCain - but they didn't think he would really follow through on the far-Left policies that had marked his career. They were wrong.
Is this "talking to" from evangelical elders to the younger generation likely to help reverse the migration of young evangelicals out of the Republican column? Or will it urge more to leave?

HT: God-O-Meter

McCain on Unborn Babies

According to this article:
In an interview with evangelical leader James Dobson that aired Wednesday Palin said she thought Republican presidential candidate John McCain would implement the GOP platform if elected - "I do, from the bottom of my heart" - but McCain doesn't support the platform on three issues important to evangelicals: abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

The platform calls for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, an issue McCain says should be left to individual states. Similarly, the platform seeks a constitutional ban on all abortions; again, McCain supports allowing states to decide the question. McCain supports research using embryonic stem cells, which the platform opposes.
Interesting that McCain believes that the rights and person-hood of the unborn is one that should be relegated to the states. Got to wonder if he understands this issue at all.. or if his pro-life position is just another case of pandering for the votes of folks that have deep felt and strongly held beliefs that the rights of the unborn are ones endowed to them by their creator.

Voter Test

You Should Be Allowed to Vote

You got 14/15 questions correct. Generally speaking, you're very well informed. If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for. You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

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HT: The Shoebox Blog

The World Series

It’s World Series time again or as we call it here in Kansas City: Football Season.
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As I have indicated previously.. in the past I really liked Slimbrowser when it came to surfin' the net and blogworld in particular. Well, recently this tool has been sluggish and verrrrry slow in loading some websites. So I thought that I would give Mozilla's Firefox a try - busted!

Gotta admit that I should have tried it a long time ago. I like it's speed, flexibility and custom-ability. Here are the add-ons that I have loaded already:
  • All-in-One Sidebar - especially like for bookmarks
  • Colorful Tabs
  • Facebook Toolbar
  • Fast Dial - this one is a great productivity aid
  • Smart Bookmarks Bar
  • Tiny Menu - save room at the top
  • Twitterfox - corner popups for my friends
  • Zemanta - still exprimenting with this one
Am I missing something? I am depending on you expert Firefoxers to help me out :)

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Voting the Supreme Court

Over at Rose's Reasonings we have been having a spirited debate about the presidential campaign. Several of the commenters have asserted that "discerning" Christians could not vote for Barack Obama because he would appoint pro-choice justices. The insinuation and innuendo is that to vote for Obama is tantamount to sinning.. but I digress. Following is a comment I left about presidents and their supreme court nominations:
For the past 28 years.. in the last 7 presidential elections I have voted pro-life.. the abortion issue trumped every other issue.. I believed that Ronald Reagan and George Bush (the elder) would nominate pro-life justices.. Reagan nominated O'Connor and Kennedy.. Bush nominated Souter.. and Ford nominated Stevens.. much of the present court make-up can be attributed to these republican presidents.

I understand how strong this issue is but I simply no longer believe that the supreme court is the answer to abortion. I think that the best that they will do is return the issue to the states.. they will not outlaw abortion in our country.

The rights of unborn babies is not a state issue.. it is one which.. like slavery.. demands a national answer. William Wilberforce was a man of integrity who made a change in slavery for England. We fought a civil war to give slaves person-hood.. this led to a change in our constitution.

I do not believe that John McCain has a fire in his belly about the unborn.. he has never introduced legislation to abolish abortion in our country.. his support for unborn babies has been passive at best.. he will do nothing for the unborn if he is elected.. and I don't think that even a pro-life justice nomination is assured.. he makes many decisions by the seat of his pants.. if he had not listened to advisers we would be looking at a pro-choice Ridge or Lieberman VP nomination.
What do you think? Is it the position of the high court to send the legalization of abortion back to state legislatures? Do you think that they would ever rule that unborn babies have a right to life? I am interested in your thoughts.

Branson Getaway

A picture of the fountains, flames and fireworks show just outside of our hotel in Branson. Ann and I are having a great time and enjoying a few days of escape before Ann's new (brief) round of chemo. I won't be online much.. see you on the flip-side :)

I updated the picture with one that I took yesterday.. see ya later.

Levi Stubbs, 1936-2008

One of my all-time favorite lead vocalists of one of my all-time favorite groups passed away yesterday. This video showcases Levi Stubbs at his best. I have so many great memories of listening to him singing this song and many others on the radio. I am sad that he passed at such a young age. Here is Brian Williams' tribute to him.

Al Jazeera Propaganda

I found this video to be a pitiful excuse for journalism from an Arab news channel. It presents a skewed view of Americans and is pure propaganda. The vast majority of US citizens do not hold the ignorant and biased views that are portrayed in this video. Sad that this is the view that is being presented in other parts of the globe.

Colin Powell Endorsement

This Sunday former Four Star General and Secretary of State Colin Powell will appear on NBC's Meet the Press. There is speculation that he may endorse one of the candidates. Vote in this poll and let me know what you think.
Will his endorsement.. if he makes one.. affect your vote at all?

Stayin' Alive

According to this Wired article:
The Bee Gee's 'Stayin' Alive' Could Save Your Life

The Bee Gee's 1977 hit song "Stayin' Alive" has just about the perfect tempo for performing chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), according to the American Heart Association.

The song has 103 beats per minute, and doctors recommend compressing the chest 100 times per minute in order to perform CPR, a resuscitation technique that can increase a patient's chances for survival by up to 300 percent -- but only if the chest compressions are done at the proper rate. Read more here
I always knew disco was good for something :)

Candidates Roast Each Other

Two funny videos from last nights Alfred E. Smith memorial dinner in NYC. I love to see this sort of stuff. You can view both videos in under 20 minutes.. well worth your time.

Accepting and Loving

I ran across this quote and thought that I would share it with you:

"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart." -Marcus Aurelius
So often the challenges in our lives can eclipse and darken the things that really matter. I think that acceptance of life's limitations can be so difficult. An unhealthy nonacceptance of life's difficulties can often cause us to forget the importance of loving those dearest to us. In difficult times it is good to remember that acceptance and love are things that must be fully embraced at a heart level.

Halloween Candy

Can anyone relate to these statistics?

Probably closer to 25% at my place :)

Inconvenient Truths and Myths

A blog friend recently sent me a link to this website. Here are two inconvenient truths presented there:

Each household's share of the nation's $53 trillion hole is $455,000.

Our children and grandchildren will face tax rates that more than double over time without real reforms to the government's existing entitlement programs and current spending and tax policies.
Here is their list of their inconvenient myths:

We cannot grow our way out of these problems. To do so, our economy would have to grow by double digits in real terms for decades. Even during the relative prosperity of the 1990s, the economy grew at an average rate of 3.2% per year.

We cannot solve the problem simply by eliminating earmarks and pork-barrel spending, cancelling the Bush tax cuts, and ending the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Combined, these actions would get us only 15% of the way to solvency.
While I am not sure that I agree in total with the specifics of their truths and myths I do agree with their sentiments on what we need in a president:

"We need a President who will tackle these critical issues, help educate the public, and lead a bipartisan effort to make meaningful reforms a reality."
Not sure that either candidate is up to the task.. and I'm pretty sure that no one will be debating Medicare in tonight's debate.. but I hope that I am wrong.

Last Debate Tonight

All kidding aside I think that this evenings debate is an important one for many of us undecided voters. I'll admit that I am certainly leaning a bit left these days but I am really not happy with our voting choices. I think that many have similar misgivings but, for whatever reason, they have felt a need to commit to a candidate before they vote.

I am not sure that I will even commit to a candidate before I actually vote.. I may even do the unthinkable and write Ron Paul in or.. oh no.. vote for .. Bob Barr :(

Harvesters Community Food Network

In support of the poverty focus of Blog Action Day I decided to write a brief post on Harvesters - our local food pantry network. Here is a paragraph from their site:

Hunger Knows No Boundaries

When people think of hunger, many imagine a homeless man in line at a soup kitchen. However, the majority of the people Harvesters serves are families, and nearly half of the households receiving assistance have someone who is employed.

Rising food and energy prices make it difficult for working families. Maureen, a mother of three, is employed but has difficulty paying the bills.

“I sometimes come up short at the end of the month,” she said. “Thank you for all your help.”

Because of the community’s support, people in Kansas City have somewhere to turn in their time of need.
Our church became involved with the Harvester food network about 3 years ago and it has been a blessing to many families in and out of our church. Initially our church made a request to become a Harvester Food Pantry and they came out and inspected the space that we would be using for it because it had to meet certain guidelines to become an official pantry. We called it Hope Rocks Food Pantry.

Once we were approved we could go online and order food from their warehouse at extremely low prices. A day or so after we order (usually monthly) a team from our church goes over to the warehouse and picks up large quantities of food.. often on pallets.. and loads them into a van or two. Once we started advertising the food pantry we have had many folks call and come in for bags and boxes of food. Over the years we have blessed many families.

To fund and support the pantry each month we take an offering we call "the dollar offering". Ushers and others stand at the exit doors to our worship center with coffee cans and ask people to give loose bills and change. The church has also budgeted a monthly amount to supplement this amount and we take an offering around the holidays as well.

On several occasions I was involved with giving food from the pantry and I was so very blessed to be able to not only pray for people in need but be able to help them with some food as well. People always seem to be so thankful.

I encourage you to google "food pantry" in your neighborhood and possibly donate or help out in some way to the needs of the poor in your city.

Australian Elections

My blog friend Lynne posted about elections and voting in Australia in her post titled Politics for Pickles. A good read.. here are two of the seven points that she makes:

I live in a country where voting is compulsory, not optional. I have spent my life not seeing my vote as an option I may or may not choose to exercise, but as a responsibility I have to my country. I am confused by the whole American concept of voter registration, here we must all register to vote when we turn 18, and if we don’t vote we receive a letter from the electoral office with a fine to be paid. Elections are always held on Saturdays, to make it as easy as possible for people to get to the polling booth, and there are arrangements for people who are sick, busy travelling or whatever.

Very few Australians have any notion that we are trying to create some sort of perfect godly society here on earth, and when we pick up strains of that in American politics, we find the notion quite strange. I’m sure that there are historical reasons for this. Your nation was founded by the Pilgrim Fathers and their ilk, who came to a new land with the express purpose of setting up a society where they could live and worship according to their understanding of scripture. My nation was founded by a bunch of convicts, (and the soldiers who guarded them and were often as corrupt and desperate as the convicts). They didn’t have any choice about coming here, and their goal was simple survival. In this harsh, strange land you didn’t survive unless you helped one another.
Lynne also writes about the lack of Christian influence in the elections and about the challenges that they face. I suggest that you take a look at Lynne's post and see how voting is a bit different on the other side of the world.


As I am interested in buying a new laptop this CNET piece, titled What is a Netbook computer?, peaked my interest. According to the article:

A Netbook is a new type of laptop computer, defined by size, price, horsepower, and operating system. They are small, cheap, under-powered, and run either an old or unfamiliar operating system.

Netbooks run either Windows XP Home edition or Linux. They do not run XP Professional, Vista, or OS X. Microsoft arbitrarily restricts Netbooks from running the Professional Edition of Windows XP. Likewise, Apple arbitrarily restricts OS X to Apple hardware and it has never played in the low-end realm that Netbooks occupy. Vista requires too much horsepower to run on a Netbook.

Size-wise, Netbooks have 9- or 10-inch screens, weigh from 2 to 3 pounds, and sport keyboards sized from 80 percent to 95 percent of normal.

Price-wise, Netbooks start at about (all prices are rounded off and approximate) $330 for a Linux-based model and $350 for an XP-based machine. The high end of the Netbook price range is debatable. To me, anything over $500 isn't a Netbook. If you are interested you can read more here.

Not sure if this geek is ready to go cheap on his new PC.. but the Scrooge in me does like the price :)

Guilt by Association

This week's Washington Post / Newsweek question to religious columnists is:

Obama and Wright. McCain and Keating. Palin and Muthee. To what extent is it right or wrong to judge candidates by the company they keep?
I posted some of ther responses on my other blog. Stop by and let me know how would you have answered he question?


When I was about twelve years old I regularly played penny-ante poker with a few of my friends from the neighborhood. One Friday night my friend Tom's dad came home from his job at the post office and horned his way into our game. I was winning and continued to win. As it got late I told everyone that I had to go home. Something interesting happened when I did that - Tom's dad said that I couldn't leave until I had given everyone a fair chance to win. Well, I stayed and lost all of my pennies before I left for home. It was a shameful night that would often be repeated in Tom's family.. how his dad took little Bobby's money.

That night I began to see the underbelly of gambling in the obsessive way that Tom's dad acted.. winning was more important to him than having fun. In my teen years I remember playing pool for money and it seemed that I was never good enough to win. I didn't like losing and began to realize that gambling a few dollars sucked the joy out of shooting pool. I guess that was my take away from these events - a friendly game of penny-ante poker and a competitive game of eight ball became something different when money was involved.

When my son was growing up I would sometimes say that I did not really believe in the gold standard. I would tell him that I believed in the work standard. In other words I believe that what makes paper money valuable is not precious metals such as gold or silver but precious labor. So often is the case with folks that gamble heavily and regularly do so because they are interested in windfall profits without commensurate work.

The Kansas City metroplex has four casinos and a new casino will be opening next June. Many people feel that this is a great thing for the area because of the increased tax revenue and jobs that are generated. In an article titled "The Gambling Scam on America's Poor" the Christian Science Monitor asks this question:

"What kind of government spends millions of taxpayer dollars peddling false hope to confiscate cash from its poorest citizens to fatten state coffers?"
Here are a few excerpts from that article:

"Three decades ago, there were no casinos outside Nevada, and only 13 states ran lotteries. Today 19 states support commercial gambling in densely populated markets near interstates, 28 states host Indian casinos, 41 run lotteries, and 43 allow track-side betting. Even so-called riverboat casinos have expanded rapidly as states lift wager limits to permit casinos they couldn't sanction on solid ground. Only Utah and Hawaii still ban gambling."
"Of the many ways government can raise money, gambling is the worst. It's regressive. And it can ruin lives.

To be sure, most states gain political support for their lotteries by earmarking them for appealing causes such as education, schools, roads, and parks. But there is no practical way to prevent a legislature from allocating these revenues to other reelection-prompting purposes – and most do.

Anyone comforted by the idea that gambling is voluntary should spend a day with the casino staffs that segment local markets, track prospects' and players' observed worth, define their predicted value, and systematically maximize individual "share of wallet" through targeted and customized promotional messages, limited-time cash offers, and carefully tracked time-to-response and spending analysis.

This is highly sophisticated and systematic coercion – and it works. At casinos such as Pechanga in Los Angeles, demand for drive-in slots has become so great that the parking lot is jammed on weekdays and two-hour lines often form on the weekends. State lotteries are among the largest buyers of radio advertising in their metro markets. What kind of government spends millions of taxpayer dollars peddling false hope to confiscate cash from its poorest citizens to fatten state coffers? The same government that spends more taxpayer money on ads offering help for addicted gamblers."
The article ends with this advice:

"In the next election, consider asking your state legislators whether their mandate is to serve or to swindle the people. No government should be running soak-the-weak scams."
As reported in this NY Times article, there is one presidential candidate who is an overt advocate of casino gambling. Possibly you may want to weigh this into your voting decision?

Happy Birthday Cellphone

It was 25 years ago today, October 13, 1983, that the very first commercial cell phone call was made. Bob Barnett, president of Ameritech Mobile communications, called Alexander Graham Bell's nephew from Chicago's Soldier Field using a Motorola DynaTAC handset (pictured), referred to as the "Brick" because of its hefty size.

Weighing in at 2.5 pounds, the phone wasn't exactly portable. And it was expensive, retailing for about $3,995. Cell phone service back in those days was also pricey, costing $50 a month just for the service, plus 40 cents a minute at peak hours and 24 cents a minute at off-peak times. Cell phones in those days were gadgets for the super wealthy.

Good Night and Good Luck | ★★★★★★★★

Ann and I watched the TV HD version of this movie last night. It was an interesting probe into a dark era in our country's history when Senator Joseph McCarthy held witch-hunt like hearings in our nation's capitol. The movie also highlighted the effect that the newly formed broadcast TV news had on the hearings.

Initially CBS news anchor Edward R. Murrow (the main character) and virtually all of CBS News cowered at McCarthy's campaign of insinuation and innuendo against communist sympathizers. In a televised speech McCarthy seemed to even say that if you questioned his anti-communist hearings then you were suspect because to do so meant that you must have communist leanings.

I had a hard time not thinking about the way that patriotism is used today in similar ways against people who do not act in ways that we deem to be patriotic. Frankly, I am amazed how much innuendo and insinuation has been used to characterize a sitting United States Senator.. and much of it guised as a search for "the truth" of who this senator is.. sigh.. maybe history does subtly repeat itself.

Back to the movie. I thought that the story line was good because it did not try to cover Murrow's career in it's entirety. The focus of how he courageously confronted McCarthy and how CBS head Bill Paley backed him was a good focus. I am not a fan of the black and white movie genre and would have been happier if at least some of the movie was in color. I thought that the acting was good and David Strathairn's portrayal of Murrow was dead on. On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★★★

H. G. Wells

One of my all-time favorite science fiction movies is the 1960 production of HG Wells' The Time Machine. Here is an excerpt from the wiki on Wells:

Herbert George Wells (1866-1946) was an English writer best remembered today for the science fiction novels he published between 1895 and 1901: The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon. Wells and Jules Verne are each sometimes referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction".

He was an outspoken socialist and a pacifist, his later works becoming increasingly political and didactic. His later novels were more realistic; they covered lower middle class life (The History of Mr Polly) and the 'New Woman' and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica). He was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and produced works in many genres, including contemporary novels, history, and social commentary. Here are a few of his more quotable sayings:

We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.

Affliction comes to us, not to make us sad but sober; not to make us sorry but wise.

Beauty is in the heart of the beholder.

Human history in essence is the history of ideas.

If we don't end war, war will end us.

If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.

It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not pay with their own.

The doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven, which was the main teaching of Jesus, is certainly one of the most revolutionary doctrines that ever stirred and changed human thought.

New Surge in Iraq

According to a Reuters article titled:

Baghdad bourse booms as Western stocks go bust

Worried about the global financial meltdown? Here's a tip: try Iraq.

Stock markets across the globe may be tanking, but the Baghdad bourse is booming, with the general index of Iraq's stock exchange up by nearly 40 percent last month. The floor of Baghdad's stock exchange was heaving with investors and brokers on Thursday, many glued to their phones and eager to snap up bargains on the second day of trading after a national holiday. Read more here.
Not sure about you but this story really intrigues me. There just seems to be something amiss here. I wonder if American tax payers should be benefitting from this new kind of "surge" in Iraq?

The Debates and The Series

I just had a thought and I was wondering:

Why do folks that have already committed to vote for McCain or Obama watch the debates?
Do you that they feel a need to:
  • root on their candidate like they might root for the Rays or the Sox?

  • be prepared to defend their candidates performance?

  • get entertained like they would if they were watching the World Series?

  • express their patriotism by participating in the political process?
Or is there some other reason for them to watch the debates. Thinking back when I was in the tank for Reagan, Bush, Dole and Bush I would have to say that I watched the debates for a little of each of these bullet points.

These days undecided Bob watches hoping with a pitiful hope that one of the candidates will give a positive reason to this year.

How would you answer? Why do you think "decided" folks watch the debates?

Dwight David Eisenhower

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (1890-1969) was President of the United States from 1953 until 1961 and a five-star general in the United States Army. During the Second World War, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, with responsibility for planning and supervising the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.

As President, he oversaw the cease-fire of the Korean War, kept up the pressure on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, made nuclear weapons a higher defense priority, launched the Space Race, enlarged the Social Security program, and began the Interstate Highway System. Here are few notable things he said:

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.

Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy.

Only strength can cooperate. Weakness can only beg.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center.

Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.

History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?

Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.
Wanda's comments about Ike on my yard sign post brought back my earliest memory of political campaigns when a "Vote for Ike" car drove by my house in New York complete with a loudspeaker system that shouted out "Vote for Ike".. it must have been 1956 and I was 7.. campaigns were diffrent back then.

I am also reminded of when Ann and I visited the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. I came away from that visit so impressed with a man who seemed to possess a such quiet strength of leadership and honor.

Buttons, Stickers & Yard Signs

I just got an email message from my state representative which included this paragraph:

Several people have contacted me requesting McCain-Palin yard signs. The county Republican Party has a limited number of McCain/Palin yard signs, bumper stickers, and three types of buttons available at their office. A $3 donation for each yard sign, $1.25 for each bumper sticker, and $3 for each button is requested.
Once upon a time these political advertising vehicles were offered free. I think that it is good that they are asking folks for donations to recoup their costs. I think that Obama's campaign might have a similar approach.

Of course my campaign yard signs, stickers and buttons are all offered free of charge.. if you just make them yourselves :)

I am sporting one political ad on my blog for my friend Nick. Are you wearing any political buttons (even on you blog), sporting any bumper stickers or displaying any yard signs this year?

US National Debt

A few weeks ago I added a bit of code to my sidebar that displays our ever increasing and building US debt. I put it there as a reminder of how our irresponsible government is mortgaging our kids future. This cartoon came out October 10, 2007.. in one year we have added another trillion to our debt. This is a moral issue for the US.. it does not speak well for our future.

Gmail Goggles

According to a Wired article titled Google’s Mail Goggles Prevents Drunk Emailing:

Google released a useful new Gmail feature yesterday in its labs, which could help prevent the intoxicated from sending embarrassing late-night emails they might regret in the morning.

When activated, the program will force a user to solve a series of math problems before allowing any message to be sent.

They are not terribly difficult, but do serve as an extra line of defense in what can be a very dangerous habit.

The service is set by default to kick in only on weekend nights, but you can change the settings to apply whenever.

As for drunk dialing and texting, you’re still on your own.
I had to chuckle about this one. I have never sent an email while intoxicated but I sure have sent a few that I wish I could take back.

How about you? Have you ever got drunk, angry or upset and sent an email you wish you could have back?

Candidate Bob

Some in the blogosphere have advocated for a Kansas Bob presidency.. some have flagrantly offered themselves to be my running mate. Got me to wondering what kind of emails people would get if I ran for president.. hmmm.. consider this email:

I have been concerned about the background of Candidate Bob and from various viral emails and bogus Internet sources I have discovered the following:

While working as a "technician" for Ma Bell in Houston Texas in the 1970s Candidate Bob was influenced and brainwashed by subversive cult members who convinced him that he "needed" Jesus.

After that period in his life Candidate Bob moved to Kansas and became a computer "programmer" (some of these "programmers" are the very ones who infect your computers with viruses and spam).

During this time he also spent much of his time immersed in subversive ideology at "bible" college and could be heard telling people that they "need" Jesus.

One person has come forward and spoke of how he warned them about going to hell.. he was a raving zealot of unbalanced and cult-like proportions. Sometimes he was even seen "praying" for sick people and "visiting" them in hospitals.

Along the way he has had many suspicious associations with foreign nationals. When confronted about this he said that he was just supporting “missionaries”.. some of these “missionaries” live in communist countries thus lending credence to the charge that Candidate Bob is a communist terrorist sympathizer.

A number of years ago Candidate Bob's cult-like beliefs caused him to quit a very high-paying position in Corporate America to take a low-paying position on his cult church’s pastoral staff. He said that "God" led him to do it.

Candidate Bob recently "retired" under a cloud of suspicion.. some people at his "church" (who didn't hear the announcement) still do not know why Bob is not on the pastoral staff.

Rumors abound as to how he now pays his bills.. some believe that communist terrorists are now supporting him.

Though Candidate Bob has never actually done anything even questionable we have to charge him guilty of being un-American and unpatriotic by reason of association and innuendo.

Anything he says will be ignored because we have already committed ourselves to his opponent.
As you can see.. this kind of investigative journalism could really ruin me. Yet I will still run hoping that many will write my name on their ballot next month. May God bless you and the United States of America.

Tesla Roadster

I saw this beauty on 60 Minutes last night. Here is the wiki on it: The Tesla Roadster is a fully electric sports car. It is the first car produced by electric car firm Tesla Motors. The car can travel 244 mi (393 km) on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack and accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.9 seconds with the development transmission. The Roadster's efficiency, as of February 2008, is reported as 199 W·h/km (3.12 mi/kW·h), equivalent to 105 mpg–U.S. (2.24 L/100 km / 126.1 mpg–imp). For 2009 Tesla plans to deliver 1500 cars. The price for the 2009 models has been increased to US$109,000; options ranging from colors to audio to heavy duty cables can add another $10,000.

Sloppy Joe's

This evening I made one of our favorite sandwiches and it reminded me of my visit to Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West about 5 years ago.. definitely visit if you get to this farthest south US city. Here is our recipe (for two) for Charleston Sloppy Joe's:

Saute 1/2 large diced onion in a large skillet.

Add 1 pound of ground beef and cook till brown.

Add to the pan 1/2 cup of catsup, 2 TBSP of yellow mustard, 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar, TSP of sugar, 1/4 TSP of salt, and 1/4 TSP of pepper.

Cook until it looks done.

Serve on fresh bakery buns.
The results are quick, easy and delicious. Maybe you'd like to share a favorite sandwich recipe with us? Please do so in the comments section or on your blog.

Chiefs 0, Panthers 34

With less than 40 rushing yards this pitiful performance gives the home team their fourth loss in five games this year.. this loss being distquished as their very first shutout of 2008.. sigh.

The only bright spot of the game (for me anyway) was when KC star tightend Tony Gonzales caught a pass that made him the all time yard leader for a tightend eclipsing Shannon Sharpe's record. Good for Tony.. but bad game for the Chiefs.

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

This was just fun to watch!

Candidates on Charity

Today Drew posted the following excerpt from the McCain website at his place:
“For 2007, the Palins paid $24,738 (LINE 63) in total taxes on gross income of $166,080 (LINE 37), which is a 14.9% tax rate…In 2007, Sarah and Todd Palin donated $2,500 to charity in cash/check donations and $825 in non-cash/check donations, for a total of $3,325. This is 1.5% of their adjusted gross income.”
It got me wondering if there are any tithers running for the presidency or vice-presidency this year. Here is what I found:
In 2006, John and Cindy McCain had a combined adjusted gross income of $6,405,240 and donated $129,390 to charity. This is 2% of their adjusted gross income. (I used 2006 figures because Cindy McCain figures for 2007 were not posted)

In 2007, Joe and Jill Biden had a combined adjusted gross income of $319,853 and donated $995 to charity. This is .31% of their adjusted gross income.

In 2007, Barack and Michelle Obama had a combined adjusted gross income of $4,139,965 and donated $240,370 to charity. This is 5.8% of their adjusted gross income.
Not sure that I care to comment further on the figures.. I think that they speak for themselves and communicate where the candidates stand on charity.

McCain, Palin and Michigan

This just in from the Associated Press:

Sarah Palin questioned Republican presidential candidate John McCain's decision to abandon efforts to win Michigan, a campaign move she only learned about Friday morning when she read it in the newspapers.

In an interview with Fox News Channel Friday, the Alaska governor said she was disappointed that the McCain campaign decided to stop competing in Michigan. In an indication that the vice presidential candidate had not been part of the decision, she said she had "read that this morning and I fired off a quick e-mail" questioning the move.
Word of the McCain campaign's decision to move staff out of Michigan and stop advertising in the state broke around midday Thursday — the same day as Palin's vice presidential debate against Democrat Joe Biden. The campaign had decided Wednesday night that the $1 million a week it was spending in Michigan wasn't worth it with internal polls showing Democratic nominee Barack Obama approaching a double-digit lead.
It appears to me that Palin is not too involved in campaign decisions. I wonder if this is an indication of how much influence her vice presidency would have on a McCain administration?


Christianity Today reviews this movie and says that Religulous is Bill Maher's attempt to sell the idea that religions are the most dangerous threat facing mankind, that "religion must die for mankind to live."

He loses credibility by sheer fact that he is Bill Maher—an ardently liberal, slightly greasy elitist with a penchant for condescension.

I don't think that I'll catch this one.. let me now if you do.

Unstable Economic Fundamentals

This AP article says that employers slashed payrolls by 159,000 in September, the most in more than five years. It marked the ninth straight month that the economy has lost jobs. So far this year, 760,000 jobs have disappeared.

These fundamentals seem a bit shaky.

CEO Compensation

Well, I voted no on this question because I think that large salaries really mean over-compensation. I am not against executives who risk greatly to be rewarded greatly but with all the scandalous news of Golden Parachutes for executives I favor some sort of oversight and accountability for these folks.

Interestingly Christianity Today recently published an article called:

Where Do Evangelicals Stand on CEO Compensation?

Here are a few excerpts from it:

I do take these evangelical CEOs to task [over executive compensation.] If they are really interested in working for the common good, they ought to figure out ways where they can be a little less self serving. That's really strong language, I realize, but it seems to me this is one area where they can really stand apart from their secular peers and, on the whole, they don't. I did come across evangelicals who presented attractive examples of trying to live out their faith [amidst great wealth,] but these were notable for being rare.
In their 2008 book, Good Intentions, journalist Bob Smietana and Baylor University economics professor Charles North argue that Christians can influence the issue of CEO pay through the clout of faith-oriented institutional investors. Smietana and North write that "the gap between rich and poor should trouble" Christians, and that Christians should "live out biblical concerns" over economic exploitation in general and the executive pay issue in particular "by keeping a watchful eye over companies where their churches have some clout."
Corporate greed is something that has disheartened Amercian workers. Folks have watched their jobs exported and outsourced overseas while fat-cat executives have rolled in millions upon millions of dollars. I do think that Christian executives like Ken Lay of Enron and Bernie Ebbers of Worldcom have been poster children for corporate greed and executive excess.

I think that corporate executives who name the name of Christ should be different.

What do you think?

Happy Octoberfest