Friday, May 26, 2006

What Are They Thinking?

As everyone now knows, our wonderful Senate passed a bill to the House which essentially would lead to the illegal immigrants working for citizenship with little or no penalty. I don't have all the details, but the more I hear, the more I believe that the Senate has absolutely no clue what is important to the hardworking citizens of the United States.

What is important is the security of this nation. Giving a pass to 11 million lawbreakers sure doesn't make me feel secure at all. One wonders if they even remember 9/11. What's worse is that the Government of the United States is charged by the Constitution to provide for the security of the country. Without secure borders, we are open to attack from multiple sources.

While I've written on this topic before, I thought (mistakenly) that our elected representatives understood where the average citizen stood. BUZZZZ!!! Wrong!!

I understand fully the desire for people to better themselves, and to travel to places that offer them more opportunity. But I also understand respect for the law, and the immigrants that come to this country by sneaking across the border are not respecting our laws, our country, nor us. How does giving them a shot at citizenship while ignoring the laws of the land beneficial to this country? I have yet to hear of a logical, common-sense (!) explaination.

As I see it, this issue is broken down into 3 parts - security of the order, people who enter illegally, and companies who employ those without citizenship or papers. Each of these issues must be dealt with independently of each other. This so-called "comprehensive legislation" being thrown around as a one-stop shopping solution is a bunch of weasel words designed to delay, obscure, and otherwise mislead the citizenry from the issues until the next election is over. Then they'll do whatever the H*** they want no matter what our desires as citizens are.

Here's the kicker: There are already laws on the books that deal with these issues!! If our elected representatives would start worrying about this country instead of the next election & political power struggles, enforce the laws on the books by funding the appropriate agencies for manpower & equipment, there would be absolutely no need for new legislation. Illegals would be apprehended & deported, companies would be fined, and the border wouldn't resemble Swiss cheese. And we, as citizens, would show our gratitude by voting to allow these wonderful representatives to keep their jobs.

But then again, what the H*** do I know...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Why I Don't Trust or Like Hillary

The political pundits are trying to anoint Hillary Rodham Clinton (hereafter HRC because I hate repeatedly disinfecting the keyboard after typing her name) as the next Democratic Presidential candidate, and as the next President. I cannot at this time think of anything more distasteful as I do not believe that HRC is a trustworthy person. Here are my views:

HRC flip-flops on the issues. Over a year ago, HRC made a speech where she stated that she was against rights for illegal immigrants. Yet just a few weeks ago during the "immigrant walkout," she made a speech for immigrant rights. She also voted for the war before she voted against it just like John "I Wanna be Prez" Kerry.

HRC takes a very biased view on the law. Just like her husband Bill, she will twist the law around to suit her needs. For instance, I understand that she was on the legal team that stated that Executive Privilege did not apply in a criminal investigation. What? Yep, that was during the Watergate scandal with President Nixon. Yet when an investigation into her Presidential Husband's "affairs" and actions demanded that documents & records be turned over, Executive Privilege was cited as the reason not to turn over said documents & records.

Would HRC comply with any investigation? A resounding NO! is in order here. If you remember, HRC was compelled to turn over billing records from the Whitewater real estate work that she did as a member of the Rose Law Firm. Months passed before the documents "mysteriously" appeared on a coffee table, and HRC stated that she had no idea how they got there. Mysterious, indeed...

Why the name change? When ole' Bill was trying to get elected to his second term, HRC's handlers demanded that the press use her middle name anytime she was to be mentioned by name. My thought is that she was starting to plan a Presidential run in the future, and wanted her name to sound "strong." Considering that Bill had some fun on the side with Monica, she needed to be...

What's good for the gander might have also been good for the goose... There are unsubstantiated reports that HRC had an affair with the late Vince Foster. They were seen in public patting each other's fannies and talking in endearing terms to each other. It does make you wonder, doesn't it?

World's Smartest Woman? Show me the IQ test results, and I might change my mind on this one. To the best of my knowledge, Marilyn Vos Savant has the highest IQ on the planet. The spin masters have really taken this one for the ride around the block several times. Just because you write a book doesn't mean you're a genius. (By the way, I knew we were in trouble when Bill's own people were calling him "Slick Willie.")

Investment Whiz? Who out there can take $1000 and turn it into $100,000 with almost no knowledge of what you were doing? HRC did, and even though the SEC found no evidence of fraud, I'm still not convinced there wasn't something more than odd about the deal. If only my investments did as well... Perhaps she could use this "experience" to bail out Medicare and Welfare from going into the toilet in a few years without asking for more taxes out of my pocket...

Healthcare Reform As some of you out there know, the politicians are not on the same health plan for retirement as the rest of us. Yep - their needs will be taken care of until death without the muss, fuss, or worry that the rest of us would need to worry about. Drugs or food - that won't be their worry, it'll be which drugs with caviar & Viagra. HRC's health care reform would have not helped any of us in the long run, raising taxes to support the larger beauracracy which would be needed to manage the program. And we all know how the government manages programs... And I expect this same topic to come up when (not if) she runs for the Presidency.

Public Speaking Ability. Has anyone really listened to HRC give a speech? Her voice grates on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. If she were elected, I think I would mute the TV and radio anytime she would come on. Maybe I'll ask for that overseas transfer...

Taxes. HRC has come out in favor of higher taxes, making the statement that lower taxes will not work. Oh really? Then why is the economy, in general, booming after GWB lowered taxes?

OK, that's my short list, and I expect a few HRC supporters to come in and flame me to a toasty, golden brown. Go ahead - but remember, I OWN THIS BLOG!! And kindly refer to my comment policy posted in the right hand column.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

New Blog

Well, here goes nothing! I've started a second blog called The Stickman Chronicles, which is meant to have fun with the seemingly neverending quest to get back into shape. So visit, have fun, and perhaps we can share a different kind of pain!

Good & Evil Struggle Quotes

Some interesting quotes on the struggle between Good & Evil found in a Frank & Earnest cartoon a couple of weeks back:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

"To do Good is like ascending a mountain. To do Evil is as easy as following an avalanche." - Chinese Proverb

"Wisdom we know is the knowledge of Good and Evil, not the strength to choose between the two." - John Cleaver

"To prefer Evil to Good is not in human nature..." - Plato

"It's not that Good doesn't triumph over Evil, it's that the point spread is too small." - Bob Thaves (Frank & Ernest cartoon creator)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Politics and the NSA

I know I'm a little behind the curve on this, but please bear with me...

Is there any question now that the NSA / phone records "revelation" by USA Today was politically motivated? Don't think so? I do.

For those with long memories, our buddy Bill "Slick Willy" Clinton and his cohorts in a Democratic-controlled Congress passed in 1994 a communications law which would allow authorized government agencies to acquirephone records (not to listen in!) upon demand. Of course, absolutely no fuss was raised by the media. In 2000, 60 Minutes revealed the NSA's Echelon program, in which the attention also quickly died.

Now, with a Republican President and a Republican-controlled Congress, all sorts of fuss is being raised, and investigations are being called to "look into" this apparent violation of privacy rights. Of course, the same politicians that voted for Bill's bill are the loudest voices. Additionally, not a word is being said about the various security committees of Congress. The NSA reports to them on their activities, and they "didn't know what was going on"? That's pure, unadulterated fertilizer!!

The timing is also suspect, with the nomination of the head of the NSA to the lead ofthe CIA. If anything, this move by certain politicians (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) smacks of outright political mudslinging. This is all calculated to embarrassthe current administration, who is doing nothing but continuing and building on the intelligence operations of the previous administrations.

Besides the obvious political power plays, what disturbs me the most is the release or publication of information that would aid our enemies (primarily al Queda terrorists) in their "holy war" against the United States and its citizens. In this war, knowing what your enemy will or can do would be of a benefit, and steps can be taken to avoid or exploit the exposed weakness. How, you might ask? A couple of examples from previous postings of this blog:

1) During the first Gulf War, when fighters were taking off from their bases in Saudi Arabia, CNN dutifully reported their take-offs, and made statements that they would know where they were going in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Of course, this gave Saddam's military time to get ready, and higher losses of aircraft and crews were the result. After the conflict was over, one of the senior Iraqi generals made the statement that CNN was one of their best sources of intelligence.

2) During the hunt for Bin Laden, the media reported that our forces were closing in on Bin Laden's position. Our forces knew his position because of his use of a satellite cell phone, and were triangulating his position from that source. The day after that report aired, the phone was never used again. I wonder why?

Both the Democrats and the media are at fault in this. The shortsighted gain of trying to gain political power puts everyone and this country at risk. (bastards...)

Remember there is an election coming up. Make your vote count for the security of this country, and it does matter. After all, how do you think that Chris was not voted to stay on American Idol? Vote!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Getting Healthy (?)

Sorry I haven't been posting recently. My wife has insisted (along with the doctor) that I need to get into shape. So we both have joined a gym with a trainer. After a week, I'm hurting in places I had forgotten about.

Not that this is a bad thing! I haven't worked out in 30 some years since I was in high school running track. I'm only 20 pounds more than when I graduated from High School, but the inches around the waist are starting to look ugly, and Liptor will only do so much for the cholesterol.

The end result is that I don't have much time to blog at length - just little short blurbs on the usual. It's a little hard to type when running on a treadmill, lifting wieghts, or trying not to get tangled up in the machines.

I am thinking about starting another blog geared toward the training experience, and would like to know what some of you out there think. Yes or no, and what would you like to see. Thanks!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Is America Weak?

Last week, Zacarias Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison without parole. While I think that the death penalty was totally appropriate in this case, I really didn't want to create a martyr for the radical Islamic terrorists. However, 23 out of 24 hours in solitary confinement just might fit the bill, although I thought he should go to Leavenworth to break big rocks into smaller rocks into pebbles into sand into dust for the rest of his life...

If I were a foreign national with an agenda to cause harm, destruction, and mayhem to the United States, and I was listening to the American media, would I think that the United States is weak and ripe for destruction? Yes, I would, and here's why:

  • The media constantly promotes the divisions within our government. The constant political power plays are reported by our media as consuming great amounts of time and energy of our government. This means that they are not paying attention to other problems.
  • People like Cindy Sheehan are pressuring politicians to bring the troops in Iraq home before a functioning government is in place. Part of the reason is the number of casualties that are being inflicted on the military. This means that if more soldiers are killed, the greater the public pressures the politicians, and the sooner the soldiers would be withdrawn.
  • The US is a nation full of contradictions with our culture and laws. For instance -
    • Life is professed to be precious, but a fetus (a developing human being) can be aborted.
    • Reparations for victims of crimes is often non-existent, but convicted criminals have meals, a bed, laundry service, TV, and Internet access, often exceeding the capabilities of the poor to obtain.
    • The US states that it is a nation of laws, equally applicable to all citizens. But in the case of Patrick Kennedy last week, how many of us common citizens would get the breaks that he did? We would find ourselves in jail next to Bubba praying that nothing would happen until we posted bail.
    • Continuing the above nation of laws point, why are illegal aliens even being considered as having rights other than being treated as human beings? Some of the proposals that I have heard over the past few weeks would almost give them the same rights as citizens of the US!!
    • Our borders are like Swiss cheese, and yet there is continued debate on how best to guard ourselves against people illegally entering the country. (Hint: More laws and amnesty is NOT going to solve the problem.)
    • Where else can you change channels between the 700 Club and a rerun of Debbie Does Dallas?
    • The US has not taken steps to have an energy source independent from the Middle East.Besides being dependant on the Arab kings & despots for our economic survival, they take the $$ from the oil sales and support the very organizations that attack us. In essence, we are funding our own destruction - madness!!
  • Most of all, the enemies of the US believe that the US is not only morally corrupt, but lacks the will to complete any task or mission. For instance, when Japan attacked the US, the country was united throughout the war, even through the defeats. Starting with Vietnam, the US has a reputation of not finishing what it started, often bowing to public pressure to pull out or not committing to finishing the job. Then there was the inaction in response to the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, and the attack on the Cole. We are now seeing the same thing with Iraq with some elements of the public, media, and politicians wanting to cut & run. This is perceived to be weakness in the mind of the radical terrorists.

I know that there are more than what is listed above. Do I have all the answers? NO!! Let's just try & figure out how to make our own country better, safe & secure for our children and ourselves. Part of that is understanding that this is our common goal, and that we must, in this case, be single-minded in our direction and actions. In this effort:

  • The media must support the troops & fairly report the facts.
  • The politicians must have constructive debates instead of mindless & counter-productive power plays.
  • The public must take an interest and let both the media & the politicians know that this nonsense ends now.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Railroad Trivia

Several years ago, I found this in a trade magazine and thought it was hilarious. I'm sure that the wide range of people that read this blog will find a similar application to their walk in life.

From Machine Design, Jan 16, 1997, pg. 211.

The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4' 8.5". Why was that gauge used? Because that is the way they built them in England, and US railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by those who had built pre-railroad tramways, and thats the gauge they used.

Why did they use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools for railroad that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

So why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Because thats the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

And who built those old rutted roads? The first long-distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for their legions.

The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome, they all had the same wheel spacing.

Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The US Standard railroad gauge of 4' 8.5" comes from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman Army war chariot.

So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horses a** came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two war horses!