November 30, 2007

Changing My Spots

I've had a copy of Apple's latest operating system, OS X 10.5 aka Leopard sitting in my office for a week or so waiting for the opportunity to upgrade.

The problem is that i have been so busy and there are so many large, important projects pending that i couldn't take the chance that the upgrade would break some piece of software I need to get my job done.

But that install DVD haunted me. Like the Tell Tale Heart. No matter where I put it, it called to me. Taunting. Teasing.

So I did it.

So far everything seems to work except my VPN connection to the office. I'm pretty sure I can fix that easily, but what I need is on the network to which I can't  currently connect.

First Impressions: Visually very appealing. A lot of very typical Apple design touches. Some very nice interface improvements like cover flow and, quick look. Those are two I new I would like. I was unsure about stacks, but so far I'm liking them. I'm not sold on the translucent menu bar yet, but there are already a dozen or more hacks published to turn that feature off.

I haven't delved into spaces yet but I expect to love that feature. I'm not going to touch Time Machine for a while. My external back-up drive is currently holding a bootable clone of my previous system - just in case.


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:34 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


November 28, 2007

Still Worthless After All These Years

President Bill Clinton continues to be a worthless piece of political scum matched in dishonesty only by his wife.

Speaking at a campaign appearance for his wife (and really what else was his entire career) Clinton said:  "Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers."   Excuse me? You didn't have the "opportunity to support those soldiers?" No one asked? Should they have to?

Neither Clinton would support the troops if their lives depended on them. That I'm afraid is historic fact.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:32 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


November 26, 2007

Pimps For Paul

This story is just made for salacious humor and mockery. The possibilities for double entendres are almost limitless. It would be so easy point out the redundancy of prostitutes supporting politicians that I'm not even going to bother.

I'll just observe that it looks like the Doctor from Texas has all but sown up the Republican Prostitute Vote.

RENO, Nevada — Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, an underdog Texas congressman with a libertarian streak, has picked up an endorsement from a Nevada brothel owner.

Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch near Carson City, says he was so impressed after hearing Paul at a campaign stop in Reno last week that he decided to raise money for him.

Hof and two of his prostitutes, Brooke Taylor and a woman who goes by Air Force Amy, attended a Paul news conference.

The women say they liked Paul's message, but wanted to learn more about other candidates before making a decision.

Paul spokesman Jeff Greenspan say while Paul does not personally condone prostitution, the candidate does not think it's the role of the federal government to regulate such activity.

Greenspan says Paul is a diehard supporter of states rights who recognizes that Nevada voters and lawmakers have decided prostitution should be legal in the state.

Paul also is a devout Christian who opposes abortion.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:00 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


November 25, 2007

Edwards Economic Illiteracy

Fox News: Democratic presidential wannabe and future also-ran John Edwards unveiled his strategy to deal with rising energy costs. The executive summary could best be summed up as "make them go higher."

First Edwards wants to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Currently the SPR holds 694.9 million barrels of oil, and has the capacity to hold 727 million. Current US imports net out at 12 million barrels a day, however the maximum output from the reserve is 4.4 million barrels per day.

Here is the first problem with the Edwards plan. The SPR holds oil as crude. In order to do anyone any good, that oil will have to be refined. Currently the US has domestic refinery capacity to process 17.4 million barrels of crude per day of the 20 million we consume. The balance is imported as refined goods. Refining capacity is currently running at 95%. Releasing oil from the SPR will not increase the supply of refined petroleum products such as gasoline and and home heating oil. The only way to immediately increase the supply of refined products is to increase imports of refined products. This will not lead to lower prices. Of course oil released from the SPR would hit the market at a lower price than the current market price of just under $100 a barrel. But at a daily volume that is about one fifth of our daily consumption and a very small portion of the 85 million barrels per day produced worldwide, even if they were giving it away it would have minimal impact on global supply and price.

Of course Edwards doesn't take into account that the purpose of the SPR is not to manipulate the spot price of crude oil, but to provide a back-up source in the event that world oil supply, or its flow to the US is somehow disrupted. In order to have that reserve, we would need to replace all of the crude that Edwards would release at current world prices. This purchase of oil for the SPR would, naturally, have an impact on global supply and put an upward pressure on global crude prices.

The costs of Edwards price manipulation scheme would very quickly outweigh any minimal benefit.

Edwards, being a typical socialist Democrat, puts all of the blame for the cost of heating oil on the oil companies and wants to use the power of the federal government to take them down

His plan for longer-term relief from high home heating prices involves asking the Justice Department to investigate the massive mergers of oil companies in recent decades and modernizing antitrust laws to target oil and gas companies that take unilateral action to withhold supplies in order to raise prices. Under current law, companies can't be charged for those actions unless they are working with other companies, Edwards said.

He want's the justice department to investigate oil companies for doing something that is actually legal. Isn't the justice department supposed to spend it's time investigating things that are actually crimes?

It's worth a look at just how much of an impact an oil company acting on its own can have on home-heating prices. If one company, even the largest, Exxon Mobile, chose to cut it's distribution by half, who would be hurt the most? Domestic prices would go up a bit and people would conserve more, reducing demand. Other suppliers seeing unmet demand in the market would move to meet that demand. Further reducing the pressure on prices. And given that oil companies and refineries are working at or near capacity to meet current demand, it is in their best interest to increase production. If the U.S. oil industry could produce another 4 or 5 million barrels of refined product a day, they would have no problem selling it. And if they sold it at the same profit margin as they are currently, they would see increases in gross revenues and net profit.

The last portion of the Edwards plan is the old Democrat stand by of raising their taxes.

Edwards also proposes repealing tax breaks for the oil industry and reinvesting the savings in renewable energy projects.

Repealing tax breaks is Democrat code for increasing taxes. Breaking the code is simple if you are capable of basic logic. An entity pays a given amount or rate of taxes. You take action to increase that amount or rate. No matter what you call it, you are raising the taxes of that entity. Now in the case of a corporation, an oil company for instance, let's take a quick look at what the effect of that company would be.

The oil company wants to make a profit. Oil executives sit around and have lots of meetings about making more profit. One of their key metrics has to be, "How much profit do we make on a barrel of oil." To figure this out they or their accounting department sits down and figures out how much it costs them to deliver a barrel of crude as refined product to the end user. Then they tack on whatever percentage margin they want to make, say 10% for the sake of discussion, and that is the price they charge. Now lets say the government comes along and increases their taxes. Those taxes are part of that cost of goods delivered to the end user. So the cost number goes up, they add on their 10% margin and that's the new price. Who pays the tax? Then end user pays the tax through the price increase. And guess what else happens - the oil company makes more money!

Here's how in very simplified terms and round numbers in case someone from the Edwards campaign reads this. Lets say the cost of goods delivered to the customer is $100.00. With the 10% margin the company makes a $10 profit on that barrel of crude. Now the Democrats raise the oil company's taxes, and the cost of goods goes up to $105.00. The company ads in their 10% margin and makes a profit of $10.50 on that barrel of crude. The Democrats are happy because they have more money to spend, and they can claim to be fighting big oil on behalf of the little guy. The oil company is happy because their profits are higher at the same margin. The consumer? Well they just get higher prices. And the cycle starts again.

I haven't looked into what the rest of the Democrats are saying about energy and home heating oil and the SPR, but all of this is fairly standard Democratic Party thinking so I doubt either Obama or Clinton would find much to disagree with in the Edwards plan. In fact I believe we have already heard Hillary talk about how she wants to "take those (oil company) profits" and invest them in alternative energy.

Here's another little tidbit that seems to have been missed in the Edwards plan. One the main reasons for the recent spike in oil prices is the loss of value of the dollar in international markets. It takes more dollars to buy a barrel of oil on the world market because each dollar is worth less. What is driving that change? The recent rate cuts by the Federal Reserve aimed at stemming the housing market meltdown and easing the credit crunch caused by increasing foreclosures of sub-prime mortgages. You know the kind hedge funds invest in. Like the hedge fund that employed John Edwards.


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:36 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


November 23, 2007

A Little Aircraft Porn

Here's a little taste of military air superiority courtesy of C-Net




See more in their Brief History of Stealth.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:32 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


Taking Stock

I've been reading my own blog for the last few days. Not because I am convinced it is the most insightful, best written blog on the planet, but because I find it valuable to go back over what I have written. I made it through about the last two and half years of the archives and as usual, learned a few things along the way.

First. I have a lot of images to re-link since moving from Moveable Type to Minx. I've been doing them bit by bit as image searches pop up in the referrer logs, but that isn't good enough. I need to go into the directory where I put all of the old images and start at the top and do a few every day.

When I get that done, I need to start going through old posts and re-building internal links. Then everything will work.

Second. I have learned that in the entire time I have been blogging, since August 2003, there has been virtually no improvement in my typing or proofreading skills. I use the preview a lot and try to read everything carefully. And I use spell check. But almost invariably after hitting the post button, if I go and read a post on the actual blog. I will find errors. Words left out. The wrong word used but spelled correctly. I go back and fix them. and if I read the post a week or two latter. I'll find more.

Third: I really don't post as often as I used to. One of the reasons is that I rarely post at work anymore. There was ever an issue with that, it’s just that I don't usually have the time. I make my living as a graphic designer in an in-house corporate art department. I'm responsible for trade advertising, sales communications, promotions, and internal corporate projects. The last few years I have averaged 200 individual projects for the year. This year I'm well past 300 and will probably end the year closer to 400. Yes, I've been busy.

Another reason is that I'm spending more time reading other blogs. I used to have a list of about a twenty blogs and fifteen news sources. I've actually lost a few of the news sources and added blogs. A lot of blogs. I spend my time reading about things I might have written about. By the time I sit down with the time to write, I can't help but feel that it's all been done.

I blame a lot of good writers for this! And Apple. When they added an RSS reader to Safari it became easier to add bookmarks to the list and read more blogs.

Fourth: Somewhere along the way I started to become increasingly negative. As I was reading I kept wondering when did I become such a pessimist. When did I become so angry?

When I started blogging it was about learning something about the world and myself. There were stories where I actually researched things. Posts where I did my best to make sense of things that I didn't fully understand. (including myself!) Yes, I wrote my share of rants. But the older ones seem more reasoned, more thoughtful.

More recent posts seem to fall into the Insta-Rant category. The kind where you read a news story, find one or two good sentences to quote or shred and dash off a few quick paragraphs on auto-pilot. I know there have been times when I have gone out looking for a story to do just that.

It feels as though I am no longer writing from the belief, however misguided it may have been, that I have something of interest to say, but just to put something out there. Even worse it seems that rather than writing for what I have to say, I have fallen into writing to get a reaction. (That comments are so few and far between is just one aspect of the stupidity of that!)

The sum of my learning from reading through my own blog, is that I don't write as much as I used to; I'm still a lousy typist and proof reader, and a lot of I've written, particularly over the last year, I don't even like.

Someone once said, or maybe no one has ever said, “Unapplied knowledge is useless trivia.” So great, I've learned all that about my blog, and myself. What am I going to do with the knowledge?

First, I'm going to try to write more. I 'm hoping that all the extra practice will help my typing and proof reading! I'm also going to try to build a pause into the process. Allow a little time to pass between the typing and the reading. Hopefully this will help me to catch more of the errors because I'll be less likely to fill in the blanks as I'm reading.

I'm going to read fewer blogs. I'm going to go through the RSS feeds I have bookmarked and eliminate at least half. This is not going to be easy. The blogs are all on the list because I like them. If yours is one of the blogs cut from the list, and you will never know, please do not take it personally. It’s not you, its me.

I'm going to go back to reading more straight news sources. I'm going to add some ones I've never had before. I'm going to find some new things.

I don't think there is much that I can do about having the time to post at work! I need the job so I have to give their projects top priority while I'm on the clock.

As for the creeping dinge of anger and pessimism, I'm going to have to fight hard against that one. In his most recent post, Bill Whittle described some online communities this way:

There are endless small holes where cynicism and untrammeled pessimism are the coin of the realm, where mastery of snark and bile are held in high esteem.
I think the same applies to the real world as well. And sometimes the easiest path through life is down one of those holes. That's not the way I want to go. That's not the way I want to be. And it not what I want this site to be.

In one of the earlier navel gazing posts I wrote after reading my much shorter at the time archives, I divided posts into two broad categories. “Things That Amuse Me” and “Things That Piss Me Off.” In addition to trying to focus a little more on the first and a lot less on the second, I'm going to add a third: “I Find This Interesting.”

For those few of you who have kept coming back to this site as it began to slide down one of those little holes, my apologies and my thanks. It’s going to get better.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:30 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


November 22, 2007

Cool Stuff For Me

I spent the morning going through Popular Science's Best of What's New 2007. (I'm not real big on parades.) There was a lot of really cool stuff. I pulled out four that have some relevance in my life that mad me think, I've got to have that.

Of course there were lots of other cool things that it would be cool to have, but I'm not really in the market for a $100,0000 Audi or a $100,000 small plane, or a $1,000 portable satellite TV. And of course they had the iPhone, and of course I want one. But for a lot of reasons I wont get one until I can use it with my current carrier.

So below are the ones that I picked as the best of the Best of What's New 2007. Your mileage may vary.

The first one (and these are not ranked, they are just the order I found them) is called Teleflip.


CELLPHONE E-MAIL FOR THE REST OF US
FlipMail lets you read e-mail on your cell, without a full-fledged smartphone or a pricey data plan. The free service grabs copies of messages sent to your regular e-mail account, removes extraneous header information, and reformats the body into text messages. It will also convert outgoing texts to e-mails. To avoid runaway texting fees, you can choose whose e-mails get forwarded. Free; teleflip.com

I already use a free, ad supported, service that converts my cell phone's voicemail to text and delivers both the audio and the text to a Dashboard Widget so this is the prefect compliment to that. I don't have a lot use for this feature since I almost always have access to email, but it would be fun to have so I'm signing up today. Because it's free and I don't want to miss out on the opportunity to make a quick $5,000 helping the widow of a former oil minister from the Congo.

Next comes the Frisper.


PINT-SIZE SEALER THAT PACKS REUSABLE BAGS

Vacuum-packing keeps food fresh, but most consumer packers are large and cumbersome, and each sealing requires a new bag. Instead of closing the whole end, the Frisper—about the size of a portable CD player—punches a tiny hole in the bag to draw out air and seals the puncture with heat. This allows the Vac-Snap bags to retain a zip-style reclosable top, so you don’t have to cut them open. Instead, you can vacuum-seal them multiple times to store daily-use food like coffee beans. $100;oliso.com

What I really like about this is the possibility that I could use it with a regular Zip Lock Freezer bag. Not looking so much for some sort of permanent vacuum seal but just enough of a vacuum to keep sliced apples from turning brown in my daughter's lunch box. Or just enough of a vacuum seal to keep the air out of a bag until the contents are frozen. The unit is small and not too bad looking and the price isn't outrageous. They hit you on the bags which is where they probably make a good deal of their money. But I probably wouldn't use their bags anyway.

For the wireless fans out there, and I am and certainly one, there is the Meraki Mini.


SHARING THE INTERNET WITH THE WORLD

With a simple $50 box, Meraki Networks hopes to spark a worldwide Wi-Fi revolution. The wireless router lets a city block, or even an entire village, share the same Internet connection. By itself, the Meraki Mini creates a Wi-Fi network around a wired Internet connection. But add a second Mini within 150 feet, and it picks up and amplifies the wireless signal, creating a seamless network that spans nearly double the original area. Add more Minis, and the network can blanket acres. So instead of all your neighbors paying an ISP, you could let them tap into your connection. To boost the whole network’s bandwidth, just plug any of the Minis into another wired link. (With a $150 model of the Mini, you can control access or even charge users via a Web site.) Meraki’s founders, backed by Google, based the Mini on $1,000 commercial units. But they use widely available chips, smart software and cash-earning Google ads to bring massive networks to the masses, one piece at a time. $50–$150; meraki.com

Now I have no interest in sharing my internet connection with the world. Or even my neighbors. But for $100 I could put one upstairs and one downstairs and have a strong signal everywhere in the house. In the Garage. In the shed. In the basement. And covering the entire yard.

Lastly a little bit of fun that could save you a bit of mental anguish. Midomi.com


NAMES THAT TUNE


In karaoke bars, I belt out my favorites without shame, but when I tried midomi.com, I had to croon softly so my boss in the next office wouldn’t hear. Even at that volume, the site—which IDs any tune you sing or hum into the computer microphone—still correctly guessed most of my medley. Midomi analyzes pitch, melody, rhythm and other features of sounds. It then compares those measurements against its database of 200,000 ditties sung and submitted by users. It finds the right match 95 percent of the time. It even pinpointed an obscure indie tune and “Every Time You Go Away,” written by, as I learned, Hall & Oates. midomi.com

How many times have you had just a snippet of a song or a bit of a melody stuck in your head because you just can't remember the song name or the artist? If you could just put a name to it, it would finally go away.

There are lots more cool things on the list. Some of them are way cooler than the ones I highlighted here but they are just not relevant to my life. I mean they've got a DVD recorder that writes data in 3D on the disk. Cramming 300 gigabytes onto a DVD. And you don't even need funny glasses. How freaking cool is that. What you do need is a not so cool $18k to buy one.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:20 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Peace Through Strength?

I am far from an expert on Mid East politics in general and really nothing more than a casual observer of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. My instinctual response is usually that Israel should take a hard line against the Palestinians. They have suffered decades of terrorism, rocket attacks and open warfare. There should be nothing left to negotiate. Nothing left to give. No concession they should be willing to make.

With every "peace agreement" is seems that Israel gives as required by the deal and the Palestinians attack. And yet they keep trying. I suppose it is probably nobler than solving the situation finally and militarily, but I have to wonder how much patience can the Israelis have?

And yes I understand that mine is a rather simplistic view of the situation. As I said, I am not an expert. I accept that. What I do have is a bit of common sense. And when I saw this story, there seemed to be very little common sense on display:

Palestinians to get armoured cars

Israel has approved the transfer of 25 armoured vehicles to Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.

The move has long been opposed by Israeli security forces but officials described it as a goodwill gesture.

The Russian-made vehicles are to be deployed in Nablus. Israel also allowed provision of 1,000 guns and 2m bullets.
If I had an enemy whose primary goal was the elimination of my country and who had been waging a decades long terrorist campaign against me, I would not be giving them 25 armored vehicles, 1000 guns and two million rounds of ammunition.

Am I missing something here?

I know they are about to go into yet another round of U.S. brokered peace talks. At least the Bush administration had the sense not to do it at Camp David again. I know they are doing this as a gesture of goodwill to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. But after years of goodwill gestures to Yassir Arrafat that got them nothing I don't understand why they are doing it again.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:08 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Giving Thanks

I have a great deal to be thankful for in my life. This being the locus of the online portion, I thought I should address those here.

When I look at my site stats for any given day there are from six to twelve "return visitors." That means there are about 8 to 10 people who "come here often." Thank you.

And thank you to those who come here every once in a while.

And a very big thank you to Pixy Misa. Not content with running the what may be the largest installation of Moveable Type on the planet (actually I think he was mostly fed up with doing so) he created his own blogging platform, Minx. He created his own blogging empire mee.nu, and continues to provide hosting and support for the mu.nu community on both Minx and MT.

Thank you all and have a great Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:10 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


November 21, 2007

Hillary Clinton Lies

Has anyone been able to figure out what Mrs. Clinton's position on the war in Iraq is? Including Mrs. Clinton?

In a recent debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Mrs. Clinton explained her position as

It is my goal to have the troops out by the end of my first term. But I agree with Barack, it is very difficult to know what we will be inheriting.
Clearly indicating that she does not plan on unconditional surrender as her first official act - after taking the oath and firing the ravel office staff.

However in response to Barak Obama's recent claim that the years of his childhood that he spent over seas make him more qualified to run the nation's foreign policy,
Mrs Clinton said, I believe I have the right kind of experience to be the next President. With a war and a tough economy, we need a President ready on Day One to bring our troops home from Iraq and to handle all of our other tough challenges.
Does Hillary think that if she issues the order on day one to pull the troops out of Iraq that it will take to the end of her first term to get it done? Or is she just spouting whatever sounds best in the moment?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:07 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


November 18, 2007

Silence Of The Lambs

The Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep anti-war propaganda talk fest, Lions for Lambs has, shall we say, underperformed.

According to Box Office Mojo estimates the film in its second week of wide release pulled in a whopping $2.9 Million. Less than small change in movie box office terms. For contrast, the film No Country for Old Men, also in its second week, earned an estimated $3.1 million. That may not seem like a big diffference until you consider that Lions for Lambs bombed on 2216 screens (avg. $1,300/screen) while No Country for Old Men rocked a mere 120 screens (avg. $21k/screen).

Do you think that Hollywood will get the message that there is no (domestic) market for this sort of "America can do nothing but wrong in the world" movie? I'm not sure. They seem rather slow on the uptake.

To date, Lions for Lambs has grossed an estimated $11.5 million. Care to estimate how much of the salaries of the three self-righteously preaching stars that is going to cover?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


November 15, 2007

You Say You Want A Revolution

The old saying goes that "Politics makes strange bedfellows." The question I have for my ardent libertarian friends and supporters of Ron Paul is, is this really who you want to lie down with?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:26 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


November 14, 2007

Hillary Clinton Lies

The only real problem facing voters now is how to know which is the lie and which the real Hillary (if there is such a thing.)Take the topic of drivers licenses for illegal aliens. In a recent debate Mrs. Clinton said in response to a question about her previously expressed support for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to license illegal alien drivers:

Well, what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. We know in New York we have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability. So what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is to fill the vacuum.
Then about 15 seconds or so later she gave a second opinion:
Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation, trying to get a handle on this? Remember, in New York we want to know who's in New York. We want people to come out of the shadows. He's making an honest effort to do it. We should have passed immigration reform.
Given the level of confusion about where exactly Mrs. Clinton stood on the issue, the following day her campaign issued the following statement:
Senator Clinton supports governors like Governor Spitzer who believe they need such a measure to deal with the crisis caused by this administration’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
That position was the official word on Mrs. Clinton's position on licenses for for illegal aliens.Until this one:
As president, I will not support driver's licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration including border security and fixing our broken system.
First she half supported it. Then she didn't think it was the right thing to do. Then she supported it. Then she opposed it. One of these positions could be her real and true belief regarding licenses for illegal aliens. The others are lies. Lies told because at the moment it was what she and her handlers felt was the politically expedient thing to say.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:32 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


Language Lesson

Seven-year-olds speak a much different language than adults. They use the same words, most of the time. But they use them with entirely different meanings.

In our house, Wednesday is take-out day. My daughter has chorus rehearsal from 6-7:30 which really messes with dinner time. So we don't bother. Her current choice is a ham sandwich from Subway. Just ham. No cheese. No vegies. Just ham on white - toasted.

And a boy toy. Make sure I get the boy toy.
The boy child is still set on McDonalds. Haven't convinced him to broaden his take-out horizon yet. Here is what he ordered today. "I want a Mighty Kids Meal. Double cheeseburger. No pickles. French fries. Powerade. And a boy toy. Make sure I get the boy toy."

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


November 13, 2007

Blue Print For Disaster

Once again the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has proved itself to be about as effective as a toothless chihuahua.

It was announced today that Iran is going to hand over its blueprints for How To Make A Nuclear Bomb.

VIENNA, Austria - Iran has met a key demand of the U.N. nuclear agency, handing over long-sought blueprints showing how to mold uranium metal into the shape of warheads, diplomats said Tuesday.
They have apparently have had the plans since 1995 when they received them as part of a black market purchase of nuclear technology.
Iran maintains it was given the papers without asking for them during its black market purchases of nuclear equipment decades ago that now serve as the backbone of its program to enrich uranium — a process that can generate both power or create the fissile core of nuclear warheads. Iran's refusal to suspend enrichment has been the main trigger for both existing U.N. sanctions and the threat of new ones.

Both the IAEA and other experts have categorized the instructions outlined in the blueprints as having no value outside of a nuclear weapons program.

The IAEA has known about the drawings since they "stumbled on them" more than two years ago. During which time they have stated repeatedly that there is no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons. I guess having blueprints for How To Make A Nuclear Bomb doesn't count as evidence at the U.N.

I'm sure the blueprints for How To Make A Nuclear Bomb are very complicated. But even without a machine designed to copy blueprints I could probably make a few sets by hand in 20+ years.

The naive fool, i.e. Democrat, U.N. internationalist, member of the IAEA, will accept that Iran just left those prints lying around because they wanted nothing to do with them. They stuffed them in a closet somewhere and forgot about them because they have in interest in knowing How To Make A Nuclear Bomb. That is why they handed them over too. They just held on to them for a couple of years just to make sure that they didn't have any information they needed for their entirely peaceful nuclear energy program.

A true cynic like me, assumes that Iran agreed to hand over those plans because they don't need them anymore. They have copies. They've probably digitized them. They've already adapted them to fit their missiles. Handing them over costs them nothing and gives them a veneer of cooperation.

I'm not buying it.

Here's what I think is the case. Iran had these plans sitting around and didn't know what to do with them because they had no idea what they were. Then along comes IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei who tells them what they are - then lets them hang on to them for a couple of years while he pleads "Please can I have your plans for How To Make A Nuclear Bomb."

As for the IAEA, what a bunch of truly Useless Ninnies. They are investigating whether or not Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb. They find in Iran's possession the plans for How To Make A Nuclear Bomb. They do nothing. They leave them there. They could have at least put a match to them.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:28 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


November 10, 2007

The Constant Gardiner

It seems that Mrs. Clinton has been caught, again, planting questions.

There's some old saying about sowing and reaping that seems applicable here.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:10 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Seasons

Gather 20 or so second grade boys on a field and set them to an activity that not only tolerates but encourages a certain physical aggressiveness and what do you get?

You might be tempted to call it chaos, or perhaps pandemonium. And you  would not be too far from accurate. What we chose to call it was Flag Football.

Today after a season of twice a weak practices and games every Saturday it didn't rain, the last game was played. The final score was 12 - 12.

There was no tiebreaker. It was decided that since the total points scored was close to the temperature when the wind blew (which it did constantly) that a tie was good way to end the season.

I have noticed something about myself recently regarding cold weather. I'm generally OK with temperatures that are no more than five to six degrees below my age. I suspect this may be true for a lot of people - because so many retire to some place warm when the get old.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:03 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Hillary Clinton Lies

What do you call it when a politician makes a campaign appearance, gives a speech, opens the floor for questions, then answers questions planted by campaign staff?

You might call it "political theater." You might call it "managing the message." You might call it "Clintonesque."

I call it lying.

It is becoming an increasingly inescapable conclusion that Hillary Clinton is a fundamentally dishonest person.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:53 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


November 08, 2007

Life Immitates Sitcom

Trying to get out the door this morning, my seven-year-old son was a little distracted. I think it had something to do with his Godzilla toy attacking a toy police car. I could not get him to stop and put his coat on despite asking him repeatedly.

This prompted me to say "I'm starting to sound like a broken record."

His response [cue laugh track] "What's a record?"

If I were in sight of mirror in which I could see how gray my hair is becoming, I'm not sure I could have summoned the energy to make it out the door. At least not without washing down a couple of Geritol with a nice cold Ensure.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:45 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


November 06, 2007

Writer For Hire

The writers of Hollywood have gone on strike. They want a greater share of network and studio profits from DVD and online distribution. It's their life, they can demand what they want. They, through their union, can try to hold the networks and studios hostage.

The problem is that while they are on strike, there will be nothing on but re-runs and reality shows. Most of the new stuff they make is crap and having to sit through the old crap is more than I can stand. So I'm officially offering my services to any interested studio or network as a copywriter. (O.K. maybe not Lifetime.)

I'll work cheap. I've never written for television before so that will obviously be reflected in the initial price. When it's obvious that there has been no loss in the quality of the writing I'll start asking for more. I do not, nor will I ever, belong to any writer's union. You will negotiate with me. You will have an agreement with me. You offer me what you consider fair, and if I think it's fair we have a deal.

Just don't expect a lot of left slanted or anti-individualism themed story lines. If you can live with that, leave me a comment and I'll be in touch.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:08 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


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