Friday, October 31, 2008

We beat the price hike

proform-5-5-crosstrainer I'm feeling somewhere between smart and lucky this afternoon because I just discovered the price of the treadmill we bought online Sunday evening has gone up 20% since then.

The Proform 5.5 CrossTrainer originally sold for $999 and was listed at $499 when we did the deal Sunday. We got free shipping on the 210 pound beast since we paid by credit card.

I checked the Proform Web site a few minutes ago and found the unit is now priced at $599. Woo-freaking-hoo!

The Old Dominion Freight Line Web site tracking system shows it's sitting on a loading dock in Jonesboro at the moment and is scheduled for delivery on Monday.

News from Nordex

Since Nordex announced plans last week to build their $100 million U.S. wind  nordex logoturbine production facility in Jonesboro next year, their Web site has been on my watch list.

Here's what's new from Nordex:

Cause for celebration: Nordex produces its 1,000th large-scale turbine
Proven plant engineering and optimised production process
Rostock, Germany 27 October 2008.  - Celebration at Nordex in Rostock: today the company completed the 1,000th turbine in its N80/N90 series. Nordex is considered a specialist for proven multi-megawatt turbines. “We produced our 1st 2.5 MW machine in the year 2000 – a world record at the time”, recalls Carsten Pedersen, COO Sales and Marketing. “More than eight years of wide-ranging experience with this turbine class in all climate zones give us a considerable competitive edge.”
1,000 N80/N90s also mean eight years of “evolution” in production processes and plant engineering. As a result, this year alone the manufacturer has managed to reduce production hours by around five percent thanks to increased numbers and improved processes. In addition, Nordex developers are constantly optimising their turbines on the basis of long-term practical experience with this turbine class. The most recent member of the product family is the N100, which is designed for inland locations with an extra-large rotor diameter of 100 metres.
Some 60 persons worked in shifts on the jubilee machine. As with every turbine at Nordex, it passed through six production stages with a total of around 570 parts being installed – from the gearbox down to the smallest screw. The “Number 1,000” is intended for the “Lisset Airfield” project in the United Kingdom. At this site, some 40 minutes to the North of Hull in Yorkshire, Nordex will be installing 12 N90/2500 turbines for Novera Energy Ltd as of November.

Happy Birthday, Steve!

My son Steve is 38 today - born on Halloween, 1970.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

At the liquor store

When you live in a dry county, you make your rides count.

Happy Birthday to my Ex

lisa diane and bill 01

My ex-wife Diane, seen here with her husband Bill, my daughter-in-law Nicky and granddaughter Lisa, is 62 years old today.

One more boomer on the Social Security rolls.

My Man Mitch

mitch bike

One of the worst things about living in Arkansas is not being able to vote for Mitch Daniels for a second term as governor of Indiana.

I've talked with Mitch several times and ridden motorcycles with him. I consider him the most genuine elected official I've met in my 40 years in and around the news business. I've been around long enough to spot a phony from a great distance and all of my experience, knowledge and instincts tell me that Mitch is the real deal.

He's also the real deal when it comes to motorcycling. Being a BMW rider, I'm not nuts about his choice of Harley-Davidson, but I realize it's just a matter of taste. He's a genuine motorcycle enthusiast. He rides because he loves it, not because he thinks it looks cool and will impress some voters.

He's also been the best friend Indiana motorcyclists have ever had in the governor's office. He took motorcycle skills testing out of the hands of the BMV bureaucrats and put it back into the hands of motorcyclists and has been a strong advocate for rider education.

I hope all of my Indiana motorcycle-riding friends - even those who consider themselves Democrats - will pull the lever for Mitch on Tuesday.

13 Reasons (But I can think of lots more)

Why I'm voting to for John McCain and Sarah Palin. Let me count the McCainPalinButton[1]reasons (any one of which would be sufficient):

  1. McCain has a genuine record of service to his country in war and in peace, Obama does not (and made a big deal about refusing to wear an American flag lapel pin).
  2. McCain is on my side of the gun control issue, Obama is not.
  3. McCain is on my side of the right to life issue, Obama is not.
  4. McCain is unrelenting in his stance against terrorism, Obama is not.
  5. McCain is a maverick, who has a record of working across party lines. Obama does not.
  6. McCain is not a Chicago Machine politician. Obama is.
  7. Obama has socialist/Marxist economic views calling for the redistribution of wealth, where as McCain still believes in the American Dream of self-determination - in short Obama wants to give part of my piece of the pie to someone else while McCain wants to grow the size of the pie.
  8. Obama has repeatedly lied about his connection with ACORN, the Rev. Wright, Bill Ayres, Rashid Khalidi, and who knows who else?
  9. Obama and his campaign have refused or are unable to produce conclusive proof that Obama was not born in Kenya, which would disqualify him from serving as president. There is good reason to suspect that his mother falsified the record to show he was born in Hawaii.
  10. An Obama presidency, coupled with a Democrat-controlled Congress would create a liberal dictatorship and change his country in ways that are unthinkable and absolutely unacceptable to me.
  11. Sarah Palin has proven herself as an administrator - something none of the other candidates have done. She's bucked the system and ably managed the largest of the 50 states.
  12. McCain and Palin share my values across the board, Obama and Biden share virtually none of my values.
  13. It's time for a woman to be on the ticket and I am perfectly comfortable with Sarah Palin being one heartbeat from the presidency.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Amazing Flying Lisa

lisa flies 01lisa flies 02lisa flies 02a

Son Steve recently posted these photos of granddaughter Lisa enjoying a bungie-style ride at what appears to be a carnival or fair in Las Vegas.

Maria saw them and remarked, "She's a freaking lioness! She's a force of Nature!"

Yep. Her dad was a fearless tree-climber when he was a kid, so she comes by it naturally.

Imperial Candlewick


My mother was bigtime into entertaining and especially enjoyed hosting the bridge club she and Dad belonged to.

Chief among her hostessing accouterments was her collection of Imperial Candlewick glassware - plates, cups, saucers, relish dishes, salt dips, and on and on.

Unfortunately, it's not something that we ever expect to use, it's taking up space in the garage and just might help with our cash flow problems at the moment.

So I'm putting it all up for auction on Ebay. I learned a long time ago that good photography is a huge asset when you're trying to sell stuff on Ebay. So I ran everything through our dishwasher to make it sparkle, set up a purple velour backdrop on the dining room table and started shooting today. Here's the shot of the set of eight cups and saucers.

I've found and photographed two boxes of the stuff and know there's at least one more somewhere in the pile of boxes in the garage because I found Mom's hand-written inventory of all 85 pieces.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The 8-week digital photography course is done

JMF_0003_1_2a72I taught the eighth and final session of my digital photography class last night.

The management at the Senior Life Center said the fact that almost all of the folks who signed up attended all of the sessions is unusual and indicates I did a good job.

I hope so. I enjoyed it, but I'll be happy to have my Monday evenings back.

I showed them how HDR images are made, which seemed to really light a few of the people up. campbells04

Because I can only take so much politics...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good news, bad news

The first $100 payment from the Google AdSense ads on my blog rolled into our checking account today.

Thank you to everyone who clicked on an ad. It took 10 months for those clicks to amount to $100, but it finally happened.

Chase Bank in Indiana has decided the value of our Thorntown house has dropped - based on their computer formulae rather than any actual appraisal - and froze our home equity line of credit. So much for that safety net.

Thank you so very much to all of the malignant Democrat imbeciles in Congress who blocked Republican attempts regulate the idiotic lending practices and to the ACORN criminals who intimidated bankers into making loans everyone knew would never be repaid.

Yes, now it's very personal.

I've run out of excuses


This is the Proform 5.5 Cross-Trainer Treadmill and one of them is presumably on its way to our house.

My sedentary lifestyle is killing me. My doctor put me on blood pressure medicine last week out of concerns that my elevated blood pressure - probably related to the presidential election campaign - and Type 2 diabetes may conspire to blind me or whack me with a stroke.

Pretty much all of my ailments, as I have probably mentioned here before, are caused or aggravated by the fact that my 5'10" frame is carrying about 250 pounds.

Those ailments include:

  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Acid reflux
  • High cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea

The doc got on my case in his gentle understated Arkansan way last week and I determined it was time to get off of my ass and take action.

When we lived in Thorntown, Ind., I had a mile-long walking loop marked out along paved streets and sidewalks and I actually enjoyed hooking up my iPod and getting my heart rate into the aerobic zone for 20 minutes a day. I felt better for it and my weight went down after I started the regimen.

One of the few disadvantages of living here in our little wooded subdivision between Goobertown and Buck Snort is the absence of a good place to walk. The subdivision streets are uneven gravel and the county road at the foot of the subdivision is a heavily traveled blacktop with bad sight lines and no berm for walking.

I've joined fitness clubs before and made the management very happy by not showing up to use their equipment because of a myriad of excuses, chiefly that it's inconvenient to drive several miles to get sweaty and have to wait for some doofus to get out of my way and surrender a piece of equipment.

Everything points to a treadmill as the place to start and the Web site ranks the Proform 5.5 Cross-Trainer Treadmill as #1 in its Top 10 Treadmills list for October. It gets a chili pepper icon and "Hot! Best Value!" next to its name.

The price was right $999, reduced to $499 with free shipping thrown in, so I ordered one yesterday and eagerly await its arrival.

I know exactly how he feels

By Michael S. Malone

ABC News

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer,” because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist.

You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I’m cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kan., during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian).

My hard-living — and when I knew her, scary — grandmother was one of the first women reporters for the Los Angeles Times. And my father, though profoundly dyslexic, followed a long career in intelligence to finish his life (thanks to word processors and spellcheckers) as a very successful freelance writer. I’ve spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.

So, when I say I’m deeply ashamed right now to be called a “journalist,” you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.

Now, of course, there’s always been bias in the media. Human beings are biased, so the work they do, including reporting, is inevitably colored. Hell, I can show you 10 different ways to color variations of the word “said” — muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. — to influence the way a reader will apprehend exactly the same quote. We all learn that in Reporting 101, or at least in the first few weeks working in a newsroom.

But what we are also supposed to learn during that same apprenticeship is to recognize the dangerous power of that technique, and many others, and develop built-in alarms against them.

But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.

That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire. If we can’t achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty — especially in ourselves.

Reporting Bias

For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions. But I always wrote it off as bad judgment and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.

Sure, being a child of the ’60s I saw a lot of subjective “New” Journalism, and did a fair amount of it myself, but that kind of writing, like columns and editorials, was supposed to be segregated from “real” reporting, and, at least in mainstream media, usually was. The same was true for the emerging blogosphere, which by its very nature was opinionated and biased.

But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth.

I’d spent my entire professional career scrupulously pounding out endless dreary footnotes and double-checking sources to make sure that I never got accused of lying or stealing someone else’s work — not out of any native honesty, but out of fear: I’d always been told to fake or steal a story was a firing offense & indeed, it meant being blackballed out of the profession.

And yet, few of those worthies ever seemed to get fired for their crimes — and if they did they were soon rehired into even more prestigious jobs. It seemed as if there were two sets of rules: one for us workaday journalists toiling out in the sticks, and another for folks who’d managed, through talent or deceit, to make it to the national level.

Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation’s leading newspapers, many of whom I’d written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.

But what really shattered my faith — and I know the day and place where it happened — was the war in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia, only carried CNN, a network I’d already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse.

I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story & but it never happened.

The Presidential Campaign

But nothing, nothing I’ve seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass — no, make that shameless support — they’ve gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don’t have a free and fair press.

I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather — not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake — but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

The few instances where I think the press has gone too far — such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain’s daughter’s MySpace friends — can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side — or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn’t Sen. Obama’s fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media’s fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven’t we seen an interview with Sen. Obama’s grad school drug dealer — when we know all about Mrs. McCain’s addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

Joe the Plumber

The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.

Middle America, even when they didn’t agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.

I learned a long time ago that when people or institutions begin to behave in a matter that seems to be entirely against their own interests, it’s because we don’t understand what their motives really are. It would seem that by so exposing their biases and betting everything on one candidate over another, the traditional media is trying to commit suicide — especially when, given our currently volatile world and economy, the chances of a successful Obama presidency, indeed any presidency, is probably less than 50/50.

Furthermore, I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes … and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCain’s. That’s what reporters do. I was proud to have been one, and I’m still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.

So why weren’t those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors. The men and women you don’t see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn’t; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.

Bad Editors

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power … only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe — and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway — all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself — an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country …


This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michael S. Malone is one of the nation’s best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation’s first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world’s largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling “Virtual Corporation.” Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, “The New Heroes.” He has been the “Silicon Insider” columnist since 2000.

It just gets curiouser and curiouser

Overview: Barack Hussein Obama may not meet Constitutional criteria to serve as president because there is reason to believe he was not born on U.S. soil, but rather in Kenya. He and the Democratic National Committee are fighting a suit by a Pennsylvania attorney demanding conclusive proof of his citizenship. Why fight it unless you have something to hide?


By Jon Christian Ryter

October 7, 2008

On September 29, 2008 Pennsylvania attorney Philip J. Berg, filed a response to a motion to dismiss by defendant Barack Obama who was joined in his effort to quash Berg's lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee, claiming it has no standing to proceed. Berg argued in the brief response that he has provided the precedents which establish the standing and petitioned US District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to pursue the case. In his Sept. 29 filing, Berg said: "Plaintiff served discovery in way of Admissions and Request for Production of Documents, on Defendants on September 15, 2008 and has attempted to obtain verification of Obama's eligibility through subpoenas to the government entities and the hospital's in Hawaii. To date, Plaintiffs and two of (2) the locations, which subpoenas were served upon, refused to honor the subpoenas.

"For the above aforementioned reasons, Plaintiff respectfully request Defendants and the Democratic National Committee's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to F.R.C.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) be denied and order immediate discovery (the unsigned order requiring Obama to produce..." within three (3) days{

1. Obama's "vault" version (certified copy of his "original" long version) birth certificate; and
2. a certified copy of Obama's Certificate of Citizenship;
3. a certified copy of Obama's oath of allegiance."

The certified copy of the citizen of the world's "oath of allegiance" to the United Sates is a document attesting to the fact that the newly "naturalized" citizen (usually an immigrant who has just been granted citizenship) or for native born Americans who have forfeited or otherwise surrendered their citizenship, and have requested reinstatement at their majority, usually 18, has sworn allegiance to the United States and its Constitution.

In this filing, Berg argued that he has legal standing to bring suit against Obama—and the DNC—pursuant to 5 USC §702; 524 US 11 (1998); 8 USC §148(b); 5 USC §552(B); 28 USC §1343 and also standing pursuant to Federal Question Jurisdiction. Berg rightfully claimed he has suffered "...the kind of injury that Congress expected might be addressed under the statute..." since the issue of where Obama was born with conflicting birth certificates and conflicting claims of what hospital Obama was born in—with Obama's own family members claiming he was born at three different hospitals in two countries.

The Obama "Birth Flap" was not of Berg's making. It began in June when National Review's Jim Geraghty raised the question and asked the Obama Campaign to release a copy of his birth certificate in order to prove that he actually was born in the United States. (Reports had previously surfaced claiming that Obama's Kenyan grandmother, Sarah Hussein Obama, told reporters that Obama was not born in Hawaii, but in Kenya. She also reportedly told reporters that when her son, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. returned to Kenya he was accompanied by his pregnant white wife who was close to term.)

Obama's family did not take to Stanley Ann Dunham Obama very well, because she was white, according to Sarah Obama. Shortly after she arrived in Kenya Stanley Ann decided to return to Hawaii because she later said, she did not like how Muslim men treated their wives in Kenya. However, because she was near term the airline would not let her fly until after the birth of her baby. Obama's grandmother said the baby—Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.—was born in Kenya and that shortly after he was born, Stanley Ann returned to Hawaii.

Reportedly, when she arrived back in Hawaii, Stanley Anne registered her son's live birth as an event which had just happened—in Honolulu, Hawaii. This supposition is supported by the appearance, shortly after Nov. 6, 2007, of a Hawaiian birth certificate that was issued, as a duplicate birth certificate, by the State of Hawaii to a US Senator who requested it.

Conservative bloggers on the Internet screamed that the birth certificate, which appeared on the Obama Campaign's "Fight The Smears" website and was also downloaded and used by far left blogger Markos Zuniga on his website, Daily Kos, was forgery concocted by Daily Kos, A self-described cyvbersleuth who uses the cyber-pseudonym Techdude claimed—without ever presenting an actual resum eto support his qualification claims—that the document was a fraud. There is little doubt it is the real McCoy—even if it was issued as a political favor to a prospective Democratic presidential candidate by some innocuous petty official in Hawaii. The clerk who issued the document, which purports to be a copy of an original document, was date stamped "Nov. 6, 2007" on the reverse side of the birth certificate in blue ink which bled through and is visible on the front of the electronic image.

Sleep deprivation

It's a little after 5 a.m. and I've been up since about 2:15 when Ruthie the Wonder Dog woke us up panting and pacing around the bedroom.

She seemed keen to go outside, so I let her out into the back yard where she ran around and barked for awhile.

I let her back in, but she refused to settle down and let us go back to sleep. I put her into her kennel in the garage, which also didn't suit her and she kept us awake with a yip or a yark every two or three minutes until Maria let her back into the bedroom.

This was followed by more panting and pacing until I gave up and brought her up here to the upstairs office to give Maria a chance to get some sleep. She, after all, is the one with the job, so she needs the rest more than I.

This seems to have suited Ruthie. She flopped down on the office carpet and has only stirred a couple of times since we came up here about two hours ago.

Maria gets up at 6, so maybe I can get some sack time after that.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A helluva good reason to move to Jonesboro

 nordexA Nordex-built wind farm in Canada.


Jonesboro and northeast Arkansas just got a whole lot more attractive last week, thanks to the announcement by a major player in the wind energy game that it will build its U.S. manufacturing facility here.

Nordex, AG, a German company that manufactures wind turbines for use worldwide, announced on Friday that it will employ about 700 people at a facility to be build on 187 acres in the Craighead Technology Park at Jonesboro.

Jonesboro has been an odd little island of relative prosperity throughout the recent economic downturn and Nordex's $100 million plant, which is expected to pump more than $24 million in payroll money into the local economy may make this place recession-proof.

The growth of wind energy in the U.S. has been explosive. Wind farms are popping up like mushrooms from Texas to North Dakota and officials in New Jersey nordex logorecently announced plans for offshore wind farms out where oceanic winds are constant and abundant. Given this country's headlong rush toward alternative energy sources, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Nordex won't have more orders than it can fill.

Gov. Mike Beebe was in town for the announcement by  Ralf Sigrist, president and CEO of Nordex, USA, Inc.

Nordex, Sigrist told a capacity crowd at St. Bernards Auditorium Friday, "is one of the fastest-growing companies in its industry with a compound annual growth rate of 50% in the last 4 years and revenues of almost $1 billion in 2007."

He continued: "Our expertise is in large-scale wind turbines. We are a technological leader in multi-megawatt wind power systems and, to date, we have produced more than 1,000 of these multi-megawatt turbines around the globe.

"Turbine assembly here in Jonesboro will begin end of next year and as early as 2010 the first locally produced 2.5 MW N80/90 wind turbine will be installed in the U.S. Our $100 million investment will go toward establishing annual production capacity of 300 wind turbines by 2012 (equaling 750 megawatts of nominal capacity per annum). By 2010, we want to invest two thirds of our investment in rotor blade production. With the rotor blade production being operational at full capacity in 2012 we will have over 700 Arkansans as a part of our Nordex USA team. That is nearly 1/3 of our current global workforce. You can see how important Jonesboro is for us.

"Today is only the beginning. Our goal is to become one of the leading wind turbine manufacturers, generating 20% of our revenue here in the U.S. And thanks to this partnership, we are one significant step closer.

"Looking toward the future, the prospects for our industry remain very encouraging. Wind is the world’s fastest-growing energy source with an average annual growth rate of 29% over the last 10 years. It is also the most affordable renewable energy and at some locations simply the most competitive. Power generation costs have fallen by 50% in the last 15 years, moving the generation costs of wind power system close to grid parity. The worldwide installed capacity is estimated to more than triple over the next 5 years to reach 290 gigawatts by 2012," Sigrist said.

But why Jonesboro?

"We started this process more than a year ago," Sigrist said. "We have looked at over 35 different prospects. We finally chose Jonesboro because it provides the perfect environment for us as a renewable energy company with its central location, ideal infrastructure, its training facilities and its skilled workforce. But, in the end, it was the people here, the Governor, city officials and their great team that convinced us that we had made the absolute right decision. I thank you and look forward to a long, fruitful relationship."

What strikes me as so incredibly cool about Nordex is that they not only make the wind turbines, they also get involved in the planning and construction of wind farms, down to the point where a Nordex installation can be a turnkey operation where they create the whole thing and then turn it over to the customer ready to generate electricity for the power grid.

As a result of this project, Jonesboro and northeast Arkansas can also expect several parts and components suppliers for Nordex to be drawn to the region.

“We are very excited that Nordex has selected Jonesboro,” said Mark Young, president and CEO of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce.  “They will be a tremendous asset to our community and Northeast Arkansas.”

So if I were an industrial electrician or a very creative designer in some economic backwater spot like, say, Crawfordsville, Ind., I'd give some very serious thought to moving to Jonesboro.

Just sayin'.

If you want more information about Nordex, check out the company Web site here.

Myth: Gun Control Reduces Crime

While we're on the subject...

William Shatner on Gun Control

Set phasers on "maim."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sam's Club

Didn't expect to see gas this cheap.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Timothy Leary's (still) dead


I somehow let Timothy Leary's birthday slip by unnoticed on Wednesday. He would have been 88.

Who needs phone books?

I found an inch-thick copy of the local (not the one in the picture) Yellow Book clogging up our smallish mailbox at the post office this morning.yellowbook

I bought it home and threw it into the trash.


Because we haven't used a phone book at home for years. When I want to call someone who isn't already in my home phone or cell phone address book, I look up the number online.

If I'm searching for a business - say a plumber, roofer or heating and air conditioning firm - I Google it.

I used to keep a phone book around, just in case. But I never used it and it became annoying clutter.

I did open the phone book we got today, just to confirm that our unlisted number has remained unlisted. It has.

Phone books have become increasingly irrelevant with the proliferation of cell phones. Neither of Maria's two kids has a home land line - they use their cell phones exclusively.

Younger users are leading the charge away from land lines and many older people are omitting a land line when they set up housekeeping in a new home.

USA Today reported last December that there were about 170 million land lines in use in the U.S., compared with nearly 250 million cell phones. The figures include residential and commercial use.

Pay phones are disappearing too. There's a gaping space in the downtown Jonesboro Post Office where pay phones have been unbolted from the wall and carted away because they weren't getting used.

So if I were a Yellow Book advertising sales guy, I'd start looking for a new job.

It's surprising how quickly this transformation has occurred. When I was in my 20s, newly arrived in Indianapolis to begin my newspaper career with The Indianapolis News, I was elated to open up the 1968 Indianapolis phone book and find my name, number and address. (I don't remember the number, but the address was Apt. 1A, 3360 Meadows Court.)

It was kinda like Navin Johnson tearing open the new phone book to see his listing in Steve Martin's "The Jerk."

I need to go back to the post office this afternoon to ship a CD and a DVD sold on, and I'll peer into the trash cans there to see if they're filling up with Yellow Books.

Breakfast in chaos

I thought I picked a booth at Mc0donald's where I wouldn't be disturbed. Then this guy sat his three girls next to me in the car-booth and they proceeded to scream and crisis their way through breakfast.
I'm only here because IHOP was overflowing. Shoulda just gone home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bad karma on parade

In the patient lounge waiting for a routine doctor's visit. Several of these people reek of cigarette smoke. It's been 30 years since my last Viceroy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shaking the tree

geniEric Flora, my fourth cousin once removed, who lives in the ancestral hometown of Flora, Ind., joined the family tree this week and has added a bunch of heretofore unlisted relatives.

I started the genealogical project on a whim back in January, 2007, and it's grown to include 528 people - most of them deceased - going back to the first Flora/Flory on American soil - Great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Joseph Flory (1682-1741) who emigrated to the Colonies from Switzerland, by way of Germany, in 1733.

Fortunately, I had the work of others to build upon and it hasn't been all that difficult.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sounded too good to be true, and it was


I bought a 2GB shuffle MP3 player on Ebay last week and it arrived today.

What I got for my amazingly low price of $18, with free shipping, was a crappy Chinese counterfeit of the Apple iPod Shuffle. It was advertised with the above photo, which looks like the Apple version.

What showed up was as pictured except that the volume and track controls on the circular white piece are rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

I will concede that the seller made no reference to Apple or iPod in the listing, but they hooked me with the word "shuffle," which I supposed was an Apple trademark.

I've got it on its three-hour charging cycle now just to see if it works.

But the worst thing about it is that it doesn't synch with iTunes. The instructions say:

  1. Synch using Windows Media Player
  2. Copy files with Windows Explorer

To paraphrase John Belushi in "Animal House," I fucked up. I trusted them.


Later: The good news is that the thing works but is far less user-friendly than an Apple product.

I can load MP3s using Windows Explorer, a slow and tedious process. But this "shuffle" doesn't shuffle - it plays songs in a fixed sequence rather than randomly shuffling them. It is, then, a very basic crappy $18 MP3 player. Caveat emptor.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Somewhat understated...


I've been surfing around over at, looking at the political t-shirts and bumper stickers. This is one of my favorites.

Securing our mail


Our mail is delivered to a rural mailbox - the kind with the flip-up red flag - down along Pine Log Road, just off of the U.S. highway, maybe a quarter-mile from our house.

It's on a rack with six or seven other such boxes. We've been told we can't get delivery to a box in front of our house unless and until our little subdivision's gravel road network gets officially incorporated into the county road system and until it gets paved.

None of our mail has been stolen, so far as we know, but we all know that economic downturns can give rise to more crime and that includes identity theft.

I asked our postmistress if mail theft is a problem and she allowed as how there has been some in the area and agreed it would be a good idea to rent a post office box.

So when we took today's batch of CDs and DVDs to the post office for shipping, we filled out the paperwork and rented a box. Those of you who have occasion to need our mailing address will likely get an email soon with the new post office box address. If you don't get the email and want the info, let me know.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday at Kroger

First time in memory that I've filled the Subaru for less than $30.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Museum Quality

Museum Quality
Originally uploaded by johnbmwflora
I just love huge pictures! Especially of me.

Great photo


My granddaughter Lisa is my new desktop wallpaper. Great shot, Nicky.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A moment of prayer, please

pearlsend01Our Realtor says a woman looked at our Thorntown house on Monday, said she liked it a lot and wanted her husband to see it.

It's scheduled for a second showing at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday).

We would be eternally grateful if everyone would say a little prayer that this showing results in a purchase offer we can live with.

Thanks, in advance, to any and all who help us.

Harvest time in Indiana


A red windmill in a harvested field on the north side of Ind. 47, just east of Darlington, Ind. It's an HDR composite image from three frames I shot about a year ago.

New CV joints, less garage clutter


The CV (constant velocity) joint on the left front wheel of our Subaru Forester has been falling apart and making more and more noise over the past couple of months, but we''ve put off repairs because of cash flow problems.

I got a check on Tuesday from the State of Indiana for some unclaimed funds from my mother's estate and decided it was time to bite the bullet and fix the car before it got any worse and failed in a catastrophic way while Maria was driving to or from work.

Reporter Curt Hodges recommended Gateway Tire down on South Caraway, so I turned them loose on it, with instructions to replace both CV joints. They did the work in less time and for far less money than we'd expected.

I also went to the local quick-lube place and got an oil change and lube, since the oil level was so low that the dipstick was dry. Even so, the oil warning light had not yet come on.

The guy at the quick-lube opined that I had an oil leak, but I assured him it's a consequence of a leaking head gasket, diagnosed more than a year ago at Bob Rohrman Subaru in Lafayette, Ind. That's why our oil and coolant levels need monitoring.

A head gasket replacement is a $1,000-plus bit of work and that's just not in the budget as long as we have two house payments. Besides, the engine seems to run fine, the car still delivers about 24 miles per gallon and the "check engine" light hasn't come on yet.

When I delved into my photo archives for a picture of the Subaru, I came across this HDR image from the last snow we had, on Saturday, March 8. I was struck by how much stuff we've cleared out of the garage. We had a narrow path between the bikes and the boxes back in March. The pile of boxes now ends about even with the right side of the green trash container. That's not quite enough room for both cars, but it's a huge improvement.

It's raining here this morning which means I can't mow the lawn today. It's 54 degrees and the high temperature is supposed to be 63 - more than 20 degrees cooler than yesterday's high. Autumn is definitely here and I'll be glad to dig out the turtlenecks and corduroys that I stockpiled last fall when I was plundering Dillard's discount center.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

iPod indecision


I loaded the 10,000th song into my 60GB 5G iPod Classic this month as I eyed the latest iPod offerings from Apple.

I was resigned to waiting for flash memory capacity to pass the 60GB mark before stepping up to a newer model - ideally something like the new iPod Touch, the current version of which lacks the memory I need for music, podcasts and video.

It's becoming increasingly obvious that hard drive iPods - the current 160GB Classic being the only one left in the lineup - represent a dead-end technology. Flash drive is faster, less prone to damage and draws less battery energy.

But then I noticed some spam from Circuit City this week offering trade-in credit for used iPods. It seems that mine in its present condition is worth $114 in trade-in value. That would make upgrading to the $249 160GB iPod Classic a lot less painful.

If we weren't counting pennies and burdened with double house payments, I'd be all over that deal.

Eight years of retirement

I've been preoccupied with computer problems and other stuff lately and let a significant anniversary slip by without notice.

Last Saturday was the eighth anniversary of my early retirement from The Indianapolis Star. And the Sunday before (Oct. 5) was the eighth anniversary of my mother's death- the event that precipitated my escape from The Star.

I won't dwell on the reasons why I quit as soon as I realized my mother had handed me a golden parachute, except to say it just wasn't fun anymore and everyone around me was feeling the same way. Within two years of my departure, virtually everyone in the Metro North Bureau of The Star had taken retirement, left for another job or just flat-out quit. It stopped being a news organization and became a newspaper factory.

Since then, I've done newspapering on my own terms, freelancing and working parttime for Maria's papers. I've written more award-winning stories and shot more award-winning photos since I retired than in my entire career at The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News. Granted, I pretty much never entered my stuff in competition in the old days, but the point is that I'm doing better work now that I no longer toil in the service of people I couldn't respect.

My coworkers - Art Harris, Diane Frederick and Scott Miley especially - watched in a kind of stunned silence as I cleaned out my desk at the Metro North Bureau on Oct. 11, 2000. They never expected a precipitous move like mine. Actually, neither did I. I went through the whole thing with a kind of detachment - watching myself pull the plug on a 34-year career with the largest newspaper operation in Indiana. "Wow! I'm really doing this!" I thought as I stuffed file folders into a cardboard box.

I never would have imagined that box would end up in a garage in Arkansas.

And I'm still waiting for the panic attack that never came after I made that life-altering decision.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Damn those menus!


This is what I wrestle with every Monday night in my digital photography class at the Senior Life Center - the complex menu structure of today's digital cameras, especially the point-and-shoot types.

I gave them the bad news at the beginning of the first class session, "Every point-and-shoot digital camera maker has a different menu system and I can't learn them all, so you're gonna have to read your manual and learn what's in it."

Last night was the sixth of eight scheduled class sessions and I am convinced most of the point-and-shoot crowd have not looked at their manuals or done any serious exploration of the camera menus.

I am reminded that tech guru Leo Laporte claims that the reason why Japan has the best cell phones in the world is because the Japanese read instruction manuals, whereas Americans do not.

Yes, digital camera menus are complex. That's because the cameras do a lot of things, ranging from fully automatic shooting to complete manual control of the shooting process, plus video recording in many cases.

In that respect, digital photography is more demanding than the old Kodak Brownie film camera of their youth. All you had to know about those old cameras was frame the shot in the viewfinder, push the shutter button and twist the film-winder knob to advance the film. They were dirt simple - no focusing, automatic or otherwise, no shutter speed control and no f-stops to think about.

In about 80% of the shooting situations, the exposure and focus were acceptable for a shot of Uncle Joe and Aunt Cassie on their front porch. But those cameras also gave rise to the expression that a picture "didn't turn out." That is, the print came back from the processor too light or too dark.

Today's digital cameras are more complicated - but not much if you leave everything set for full auto - and give near perfect exposures almost every time.

Maybe I've taken the wrong approach. Maybe I should tell the folks to just leave everything on automatic.

Then I could concentrate on teaching them how to understand the file architecture of a PC so they actually understand where the pictures go when they download them to the computer and how to find them later, and how to work their e-mail client and how to attach pictures to e-mails.

The oldest woman in the class is so befuddled by her camera and computer, I suggested she adopt a high school kid to be her fulltime tech assistant.

The ultimate feeb-phone


I cringe every time one of those Jitterbug cell phone commercials comes on.

Why? Because they presume to target my generation and not the genuinely old people who are their real market - the people in their late 70s and 80s you see in the Life Alert ("I've fallen and I can't get up!") and power chair commercials.

The Jitterbug commercials feature people my age (63) and younger whose adult children are convinced are hopelessly addled and simply cannot cope with a modern cell phone. So these younger-than-me TV actors fondle the phone named for a 1940s dance they've never seen or done and coo about how big the buttons and numbers are, how bright the screen is, how loud and clear the sound is and generally how dirt simple it is.

One woman in the commercial proclaims, "I don't have time to learn how to use a complicated cell phone."

She looks perfectly capable to me and if I didn't know she was just an actress reading a line, I'd be screaming at my TV calling her stupid and lazy.

I went to the Jitterbug website to research this rant and was stunned to find they have a model that doesn't have any number buttons. It's the One Touch (shown above) and it has three buttons - one to have an operator place the call for you, one for a pre-set direct dial number and one for 911.

They don't show you the One Touch on TV. Yet.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Watching a guy bowl on the Wii before my digital photo class.
This guy was actually breaking a sweat, so maybe some exercise is taking place when you play games on the Wii.

Checking in, checking out

I've been throwing stuff together for my digital photo class students all day today and - until now - haven't stopped to blog.

The desktop computer seems stable. I went to the Dell site and downloaded an updated BIOS which may help things run a little better, but I'm still planning to swap out the C: drive for the 500GB Western Digital model I bought the other evening. That may happen tomorrow when I have a few less things on my plate.

I'm pleased to see the ACORN story is gaining traction with the media. I was starting to think Fox News was the only outfit paying attention to the ACORN-Obama nexus.

Now, I'm off to confuse some fellow geezers on the subject of digital photography and computers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday afternoon errands

Waiting for Maria at the fabric store, then down to Home Depot for lightbulbs, Hastings to sell 70 CDs that would only list for a penny each on, and finally to Kroger's for the week's provisions.
SpinRite finished a 25-hour deep scan of my C: drive this morning and Windows seems to be function again, but some programs are very slow to load, probably because some of their data got relocated on the drive.
I bought the 500GB hard drive last night and still plan to use it to run a fresh copy of Windows - might even try the copy of Vista I've had for about 18 months, but that may necessitate going from 2GB of RAM to 4GB.
It's always something, isn't it?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Photo expedition

salute It's Saturday morning and we're gathering our photo stuff to go to the dedication of a military marker at the grave of a Confederate soldier up east of Paragould.

Here's the info from the press release:

Thomas Jefferson Shaw born 1846 in Dyersberg, TN to James Garlin and Martha G (Lasley) Shaw. He was born on his father's plantation. At the conclusion of the war they lost all of their possessions. Shaw fought with General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Army in the Civil War. Capt. Thomas Jefferson Shaw was a scout in Forrest’s Cavalry Shaw served with the 5th Regiment, Missouri Infantry State Guard (8th Division) C.S.A. Captain Shaw was wounded at the battle of Shiloh and recovered from his wounds at a plantation in Corinth, Mississippi

He married America Ophelia Baldridge on Feb. 17, 1869. They had the following children: William Jefferson, Eula (married a DeMent) Ella, May, Thomas Bernie and my grandmother, Mattie Maude Shaw French. He moved to Weatherford, TX and raised horses. In 1884 he drove 100 head of horses back to Clarkton, Missouri when they reached Paragould, Arkansas Maddie Maude Shaw French, was born. He was a justice of the peace and Sheriff in Clarkton, Missouri.

In 1921, He came down to his daughter's house, Eula Mae DeMent, and while there he became ill and passed away. He was buried on an island in the St. Francis River in what was then the DeMent Cemetery but is now named the Bertig Cemetery. Capt. Shaw was buried in his confederate uniform. The island no longer exists because a levee was built and the cemetery is on the edge of the St. Francis river and a soy bean field.

The Arkansas Division SCV memorial services are presented to remember their Confederate ancestors. The SCV, UDC, and C of C, and are historical organizations and their charge is to preserve the history of the South and it soldiers. Many descendants of Capt. Shaw will be present at the service including his great grandsons Clovis DeMent of Rector, Larry Dungan of Sand Destin, Fla, and Tommy French Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Still spinning

I ran SpinRite overnight on my C: drive and got it to fire up this morning, loading Windows XP properly.

But it was still shutting down my Blink antivirus software, which sr6turned out to be a consequence of Blink autoupdating corrupted data from the mothership. I got an email from the Blink folks to that effect and it was confirmed by the fact that the Blink software on Maria's computer had also gone wonky.

I followed the instructions and reinstalled Blink, which called for a reboot to complete. I did and it loaded and ran fine.

Then I got a little overconfident and did a shutdown/restart. Windows loaded, but stopped short of displaying the icons, Start button and toolbar. I restarted several times and got the same result. So I now have SpinRite running on my computer and on Maria's machine as well.

I suspect this will end with me buying a new C: drive, moving the old C: drive to a tertiary slot in the box, and reinstalling Windows. I'm reasonably confident I can rescue my programs and data from the old C: drive - I just think Windows may be too corrupted to run on the old C: drive.

Fortunately, I backed up my Quicken and iTunes stuff to my D: drive and also to the new 500GB external hard drive I bought a couple of weeks ago.

The good news is that this takes my mind off of politics and the stock market.

Just one of many reasons, but a huge one


If I had no other objection to the candidacy of Barack Hussein Obama - and God knows, I have plenty, including his connection with Acorn and their efforts to subvert the election process and steal the election through brazen voter fraud - I would oppose him on the issue of gun control.

Several friends whose judgment I otherwise respect are gun owners who profess support for Obama. Like most of Obama's supporters, I suspect these folks are in his camp out of hatred for George W. Bush and the mistaken assumption that John McCain is a Bush clone.

That's a pretty lame reason to hand our government over to an administration that will do nothing to protect our Second Amendment rights to private gun ownership. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that right earlier this year, but by a slim 5-4 margin. Do you think Barack Hussein Obama will appoint Supreme Court justices who agree with that right?

Are you ready to surrender your hunting and personal protection firearms to the government like the poor fools in England, Canada, and Australia?

Putting your gun rights at risk is a really stupid way to register your dissatisfaction with a lame duck administration.

Have you noticed?

Whenever anyone presses an Obama spokesperson about Obama's association with Weather Underground founder William Ayers, they refuse to answer the questions and immediately change the subject to the economy?

It's happening so often that I can predict what they're going to say next.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Free speech: Only for the Obama crowd

Frank Pastore, from KKLA in Los Angeles, recently interviewed Stanley Kurtz, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, about his research into Barack Obama. Kurtz wrote an article for the New York Post, “O’s Dangerous Pals,” detailing the relationship between Obama and Madeline Talbot, head of ACORN— the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Frank Pastore: [ACORN is] involved in election fraud and a number of other things, but in Chicago what Madeline Talbot was doing—and she is actually the person that specializes in doing this—was pressuring financial institutions to make loans to minorities with bad credit ratings, and pressuring financial institutions and banks to do this, or else they couldn’t merge, or do business, or expand, or whatever, so it was really a smack down. And then what happened is these banks were able then to bundle these and sell them to Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae sold them on the international markets and everything was hunky dory as long as real estate values continued to go up. But if they flat lined, or began to turn (as they in fact did), then of course these loans defaulted and you ended up with a $700 billion bail out getting voted on in the House of Representatives.

You were involved a couple of weeks ago with something else on WGN radio in Chicago…. Why don’t you lay out what actually happened and your reaction to the whole thing?

Stanley Kurtz: I was scheduled to go on the Milt Rosenberg show, maybe the first or second day after I started looking at those documents in the archives at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and I spoke with a radio producer a few hours before I came out there. He told me that he had called the Obama campaign and had invited them to send a representative on to debate me. He said that they refused to send a representative and they demand that I not be allowed to go on the radio, and when Rosenberg and his people had said that they wouldn’t do that they asked for the name of the—I don’t know whoever was the head of the station was—so they called and demanded I not be allowed on the radio. I knew that when I went down there, but even so I just thought it was some strange oddity. I didn’t take it that seriously, and when I got there I heard from someone that they had already (this was a half hour before I went on) I heard that they had already received 7,000 phone calls demanding that I not be allowed onto the radio. At that point I was sitting in this big lobby at the Chicago Tribune building which is a very famous old building in Chicago, and the whole lining of the lobby is filled with beautiful things chiseled into the stone of about free speech and free press. So, I kind of read those, and took some of them down and used that later on the show. 

Pastore: Yeah, I’ll bet.

Kurtz: So, they took me into the show and they were just inundated with callers demanding that I not be allowed to speak basically. And Milt Rosenberg—you could see that he was very shocked really by this, and he called his producer down twice in the middle of the show to explain what was happening and they figured out this was coming out of the Obama campaign, and…

Pastore: That’s key. It wasn’t just the fact that Stanley Kurtz was going to be on the radio and then there’s this public outcry. It was coordinated and organized. How did you know that it came from the Obama campaign?

Kurtz: Well, the producer figured out—there is something called an Obama Action Wire and it, but I don’t remember all of the details, but I think it called me a “smear merchant,” and it called me a “right-wing hatchet man,” and that people should call up and demand that I not be allowed to speak on the radio. So that’s what they were doing. I have to say, I was a little bit taken back. Frankly, I thought it was also absurd, and I think I’d been borne out in this.… At the time I really didn’t feel that upset. I felt that these people were making fools of themselves essentially. And Milt, you know, once he let some of them start talking to me they were just reading their talking points and they kept saying “he’s a liar,” and Milt would say, “What did he say that’s a lie?” and they couldn’t come up with anything. Some of them made some claims that what I said was a lie, but I had some documents right there with me that you know, “Ayers never sat on a board meeting.” I had a document right there that said that Bill Ayers was an ex-officio member of the board—that he was at a meeting with Obama. It was right there on the schedule. So, I just read the document. I felt at the time that they were just making fools of themselves, but you could see that the people in the studio were concerned. And I would have to say that at that point—I mean this is a famous old building and the studios have big windows that are open to the outside—we had to close the blinds. We were a little concerned….

Pastore: Let me ask you the things that they were concerned about. What is it that you have been finding in the University of Illinois archives regarding Barack Obama, his ties with William Ayers, and this Woods Foundation and other things?

Kurtz: They worked together at Woods of course, but this is the foundation that I was researching on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. And it was really created and founded by Bill Ayers and Obama and Ayers jointly ran it. Obama was the Chairman of the Board and Bill Ayers was the head of the other key body there called the Collaborative. But especially during that first year Ayers was an ex-officio member of the board. He sat at board meetings. Obama came over and made presentations before the Collaborative that Ayers was the chairman of. They even worked together in a small group of four people to create the by-laws and form this organization. So, obviously Ayers was more than just a guy who lived in Obama’s neighborhood. But I think the most important thing was not just that they interacted with each other, but that for years that Barack Obama was actually funding Bill Ayers’ radical education activities.

Pastore: I thought it was the other way around.

Kurtz: Oh, no. Barack Obama was chairman of the board. And the board was responsible for doling out the money.  So Bill Ayers’—his own personal educational projects—were actually funded by the foundation. That’s why the Obama campaign says in reply to me “Well, look they were only at board meetings in 1995,” but the reason Ayers had to get off the board after 1995 was because he was getting money from the board…

Pastore: Wow.

Kurtz: And the thing is that Obama and the board kept most of the financial decisions that were made in that first year in place. They may have made a technical separation, but the money kept being funneled to Ayers and his allies.

Pastore: So let me get this right: Barack Obama is the chairman of some board whose responsibilities…or it chooses to distribute money wherever it wants. And it’s funding William Ayers.

Kurtz: Oh, absolutely. And by the way this is 1995. That’s the same year that that report came out … The one that started funneling even more money to Madeline Talbot. By the way, Madeline Talbot got more money from Obama and Annenberg too. Basically, Obama set up the situation at Annenberg so it was supposed to help the schools. They spent about $100 or $150 million to help Chicago schools, but all the studies show that there was no improvement in the schools. What they did was instead of giving money directly to the school, they created a system (Obama and Ayers) where they would give money to what was called “external partners.” And these external partners would work with the schools. Well, who were these external partners? Well, they were community organizer groups like ACORN and the Developing Communities Project. So, what Obama was doing in 1995—which is the same year he started running for office—is channel a lot of money to community organizers and to Bill Ayers, and they ended up helping him later in his political campaigns.

Pastore: How did he get to this place?—where he had access to hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. I mean how does one become invited to become chairman of the board of the Annenberg Foundation?

Kurtz: Well, that’s a great question that I wish I could get the Obama campaign to answer more completely more than what I think they have. When Barack Obama in 1995 was chosen to be chairman of the board of this foundation with many, many millions of dollars, he was pretty much a wet-behind-the-ears lawyer, and ordinarily you would never be put in that sort of position.

Now the Obama campaign claims that his name was suggested by a couple of other foundation presidents who were on a committee there, and that may or not be true. But the truth is that Bill Ayers was the most powerful person on that foundation and he was on that committee that selected the board members. It is extremely unlikely that Obama would have been chosen without Ayers’ say so. And I also published recently an e-mail message I got as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. You can read that message a couple of ways, but I think the most plausible reading is that the fellow who sent it—who used to the executive director of this foundation—was basically admitting to some people that he had been avoiding reporters’ questions about the full story about how Obama got chosen. I wish the press would follow it up, but at least it begins to look as though there might have been a cover up there about Ayers’ rule and choosing Obama in that—to be head of that foundation.

Pastore: You had said that Madeline Talbot who is the head of Chicago ACORN had selected Barack Obama to train her personal staff before he was a lawyer.

Kurtz: Yes, that’s right.

Pastore: What was he really good at before he was a lawyer—in order to train her staff?

Kurtz: Well, he’s … we all know what he’s good at: He’s a very smooth, articulate, intelligent person who makes a very fine presentation and knows how to appear even-handed, even reasonable, as he supports and does some pretty radical, liberal things. That talent was spotted out and Talbot thought to herself, “I want this guy to be training my organizers.”

Pastore: Alright … so you are hot on researching this guy and getting the information out to the American public. There’s got to be attempts to silence you beyond just the Obama campaign. How are you dealing with all of this?

Kurtz: Oh, I’m having a ball. I’m having a ball, but—yeah, I mean it could be people writing insulting things on the Internet and people write you letters that are angry. But that’s par for the course.

Pastore: So are you a right wing hatchet man?

Kurtz: I was actually a lumber jack working for Sarah Palin up in Alaska.


My hard drive has gone wonky - wouldn't boot to Windows when I got home Sunday and fired it up.
I fiddled with it awhile and got it working, but it hung up again a couple of times this week.
Today it refused to allow my Blink antivirus to run and wouldn't recognize my docked phone.
So I'm running Steve Gibson's SpinRite 6.0, booting from a CD drive.
It just entered a 7-hour process, so I guess I'll adjourn to my laptop.

From the laptop:
I bought a copy of SpinRite several months ago, but could never get it to run. Turns out Roxio didn't copy it to a CD properly, so my computer didn't recognize the CD as a bootable disk. I tried again, burning the .iso file to a CD with a different program and voila, it's working.
Whether it find and/or fixes the problem remains to be seen, but at least it's running.

Mark Twain said it

marktwainSubstitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

It is wiser to find out than suppose.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot.

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it—and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.

It is best to read the weather forecasts before we pray for rain.

A good walk spoiled. (Definition of golf.)

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does the work.

Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

For in a Republic, who is “the country”? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant—merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

There isn’t a parallel of latitude but thinks it would have been the equator if it had had its rights.

Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion—several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

My body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do is I who suffers, not the state.

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.

Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.

The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

Faith is believing what you know ain't so.

If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.

Few things are harder to put up with than a good reason.

Just sayin'

Maria's family in Indiana are in a frenzy of planning for Thanksgiving this week.

Yes, Thanksgiving is eight weeks from today, but plans must be made.

I find myself noticing that I haven't seen my son Sean in Portland, Ore., since we attended his wedding four years ago. it's been 17 months since I saw my son Steve and granddaughter Lisa.

And there are no plans to see any of my relatives over the holidays.

Why? Because Maria has very limited time off and because money is extremely tight what with two house payments and high gas prices.

Our Indiana Realtor is handing us off this week to a partner who specializes in rentals and who will work diligently to find someone who can pay enough rent to cover our house payment there. This seems unlikely because I can't imagine someone wanting to pay $1,030 a month to rent a four-bedroom house in that small town.

Excuse me while I return to the fetal position.


The cattle in a nearby pasture have been bawling their brains out for the last 24 hours.

When Maria put the dogs out about 10 o'clock last night, she got so disturbed that she insisted we get in the car and cruise the roads to see if we could tell what the problem is.

She's a farm girl and says cattle don't make that much noise unless there's a good reason - coyotes killing calves, an amorous bull in the neighborhood or all of the calves being taken away to slaughter.

Knowing that a mother cow is sobbing over what will be my next Big Mac is a particularly disturbing thought and if I dwell on it might make me re-think my eating habits.

Now, at 9 a.m. the cacophony seems to have stopped about the time I heard what sounded like about a dozen gunshots off in the distance.

The firearms seasons for deer and turkeys haven't begun yet and I don't think anyone is building anything around here using a .45 caliber nail gun.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Quote of the day

People are crazy and times are strange

I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range

I used to care, but things have changed

Bob Dylan, Things Have Changed

More profits, less service

I got a letter from the dermatology practice I used when we lived in Indiana announcing they won't take Anthem insurance after next March 23. Here's what they said (italics added for emphasis):anthem

According to our records, you are currently covered by Anthem insurance or receive Anthem discounts through your insurance. We are writing to inform you that effective March 23, 2009, we will no longer be participating with Anthem's traditional and Blue Access (PPO) networks.

Over the past several years the Anthem costs to you and your employer for premiums, co-pays and deductibles have increased, and Anthem's profits have more than doubled. However, Anthem's physician compensation has remained at 2001 and/or 2005 rates. Additionally, Anthem has demanded more prior authorizations and other paperwork that has taken time away from caring for patients. We cannot continue to allow Anthem to profit at the expense of our patients and ourselves. We will continue to care for you, but unfortunately you will need to follow Anthem's "out of network" requirements and costs for visits after next March.

Since I'm no longer a patient at Spencer Dermatology Associates, their decision has no effect on me, but this may be the leading edge of a more widespread effort by physicians to boycott Anthem.

AndI can vouch for the increase in paperwork. We get a menacing request almost every week to provide receipts or other documentation for office visits or prescriptions. The letters threaten to suspend the Anthem VISA account we use for medical expenses, so we dutifully run to the doctor's office and pick up the appropriate paperwork to fax to Anthem. This has to be costing them more than they recover from bogus claims.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

God, I love Ann Coulter

by Ann Coulter
October 1, 2008
While Gov. Sarah Palin is being grilled on her position on mark-to-market accounting rules, the press can't bother to ask Joe Biden if he could give us a ballpark estimate on when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president -- or maybe take a stab at guessing the decade when televisions were first available to the public.
Being interviewed by Katie Couric on the "CBS Evening News," Biden said: "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'"
For those of you who aren't hard-core history buffs, Biden not only named the wrong president during the 1929 stock market crash, he also claimed a president who wasn't president during the stock market crash went on TV before Americans had TVs.
Other than that, the statement holds up pretty well. At least Biden managed to avoid mentioning any "clean" Negroes he had met.
Couric was nearly moved to tears by the brilliance of Biden's brain-damaged remark. She was especially intrigued by Biden's claim that FDR had said the new iPhone was the bomb!
Here is Couric's full response to Biden's bizarre outburst about FDR (a) being president and (b) going on TV in 1929: "Relating to the fears of the average American is one of Biden's strong suits."
But when our beauteous Sarah said that John McCain was a better leader on the economy than Barack Obama, Couric relentlessly badgered her for evidence. "Why do you say that?" Couric demanded. "Why are they waiting for John McCain and not Barack Obama? ... Can you give us any more examples of his leading the charge for more oversight?"
The beauteous Sarah had cited McCain's prescient warnings about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Couric, the crackerjack journalist who didn't know FDR wasn't president in 1929, demanded more examples from Palin.
We are currently in the middle of a massive financial crisis brought on by Fannie Mae. McCain was right on Fannie Mae; Obama was wrong. That's not enough?
Not for the affable Eva Braun of evening TV! "I'm just going to ask you one more time," Couric snipped, "not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?"
This would be like responding to someone who predicted the 9/11 attacks by saying: OK, you got one thing right. Not to belabor the point, but what else?
Obama was not merely wrong on Fannie Mae: He is owned by Fannie Mae. Somehow Obama managed to become the second biggest all-time recipient of Fannie Mae political money after only three years in the Senate. The biggest beneficiary, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, had a 30-year head start on receiving loot from Fannie Mae -- the government-backed institution behind our current crisis.
How does the Democratic ticket stack up on other major issues facing the nation, say, gas prices?
Shockingly, Sen. Joe Biden was one of only five senators to vote against the first Alaskan pipeline bill in 1973. This is like having been a Nazi sympathizer during World War II. If Sarah Palin does nothing else, she has got to tie that idiotic pipeline vote around Biden's neck.
The Senate passed the 1973 Alaskan pipeline bill by an overwhelming 80-5 vote. Only five senators voted against the pipeline on final passage. Sen. Biden is the only one who is still in the Senate -- the other four having been confined to mental institutions long ago.
The stakes were clear: This was in the midst of the first Arab oil embargo. Liberal Democrats, such as senators Robert Byrd, Mike Mansfield, Frank Church and Hubert Humphrey, all voted for the pipeline.
But Biden cast one of only five votes against the pipeline that has produced more than 15 billion barrels of oil, supplied nearly 20 percent of this nation's oil, created tens of thousands of jobs, added hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and reduced money transfers to the nation's enemies by about the same amount.
The only argument against the pipeline was that it would harm the caribou, an argument that was both trivial and wrong. The caribou population near the pipeline increased from 5,000 in the 1970s to 32,000 by 2002.
It would have been bad enough to vote against the pipeline bill even if it had hurt the caribou. A sane person would still say: Our enemies have us in a vice grip. Sorry, caribou, you've got to take one for the team. But when the pipeline goes through and the caribou population sextuples in the next 20 years, you really look like a moron.
We couldn't possibly expect Couric to ask Biden about a vote that is the equivalent of voting against the invention of the wheel. But couldn't she have come up with just one follow-up question for Biden on FDR's magnificent handling of the 1929 stock market crash?
Or here's a question the public is dying to know: "If Obama wanted a historically delusional vice president, why not Lyndon LaRouche?" At least LaRouche didn't vote against the Alaskan pipeline.