December 31, 2007

Hillary Clinton Lies

Captain's Quarters details the latest lies from Mrs. Clinton.

This time she's telling tales of harrowing trips to Bosnia that never happened. Complete with corkscrew landings and a mad dash from the plane to avoid sniper fire.

I am sure the whole event is seared in her memory, and she is grateful for the special hat the CIA gave her that probably saved her life.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:42 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

December 29, 2007

Crystal Balls The Size Of...

There are two things one can do at the end of the year. You can make list of the Ten Best or Ten Worst of this or that, or you can try to predict what is going to happen in the year to come. I haven't ruled out a list or two, but for now I'm going prognosticate.

APPLE: God of all things Apple, Steve Jobs, is slated to give the keynote address at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco Tuesday, January 15, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM. Jobs doesn't do one of these things without making some sort of product announcement. As usual the Apple rumor mill has been grinding away overtime. Mainstream media reporting is all over the fact that Apple will be launching movie rentals via iTunes. But this is not new news. Hackers reported seeing code to support rentals in recent iTunes updates for a couple of months.

There has been a great deal of speculation about the possibility of an ultra-portable or tablet Mac, but I don't think there will be anything that "big." Most of what Jobs will announce will be feature growth in Leopard with the release of 10.5.2 and mostly on iPhone. Look for some sort of GPS functionality tied into Google Maps, 3G compatibility, and probably more wireless purchase deals like the one they have with Starbucks. Apple has also promised a developer environment for the iPone so all those hacked applications can go legit, and there will probably be a bunch more. But it will still require a two year contract with AT&T so I really don't care.

Apple will continue to grow both in revenues and market share and I will continue to rue the day I decided not to invest a minor windfall in Apple stock when it was in the low $20s.

POLITICS: This is a risky one to call, but here it goes.

Iowa - GOP: Romney wins the caucuses. The Huckabubble is thoroughly burst when he finishes a disappointing fourth.  Huckabee peaked too soon and people had too much time to take too good a look at him. The vast majority of his support will shift to Thompson who will finish a strong second. McCain will finish a respectable third. Rudy will manage to beat Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul, but that's not saying much.

Iowa - Democrats: Obama wins by a close but comfortable margin. His grace in victory is matched by the degree to which Mrs. Clinton does not lose well. There will be no scream - at least not in public - but her attempts to pass off the loss as not that significant will seem hollow and desperate. (Rather like the candidate herself) The loss will leave her off balance going into New Hampshire and it will not be pretty.

New Hampshire -  GOP Coming off his strong finish in Iowa, Thompson finishes a very close second to McCain. Romney manages to hold on to third, but the Free State crowd catapults Ron Paul to fourth place ahead of Rudy. That will be the pinnacle of his campaign success. Duncan Hunter withdraws from the campaign.

New Hampshire - Democrats: Mrs. Clinton does not recover well from the loss in Iowa and in the days leading up to the primary becomes increasingly negative and shrill. Obama wins again. Mrs. Clinton barely takes second from Edwards. The Clinton campaign goes silent for two days after which it announces a reorganization of the campaign staff with a few notable departures.

The nominees are:

GOP: Fred Thompson. His down-to-earth straight forward approach will have broad appeal. He is a conservative, but he not a Partisan. He comes across as not viewing the world through the lens of Demcrats VS Republicans and after decades of increasingly brutal partisan politics people are ready for something else. I don't have a prediction for a running mate. I do know it will not be one of the current candidates.

Democrats: Hillary Clinton. Hillary will recover from Iowa and New Hampshire and do fairly well in the south. Just before "Super Tuesday" scandal will devastate the Edwards Campaign. The information will, of course, have come from the Clinton campaign. (This will not be reported). Edwards will drop out of the race and focus on avoiding prosecution. Obama will hang on as long as gthe money lasts hoping for the VP slot which he will not get. That will go to Bill Richardson.

The Next President
Fred Thompson. Thompson will continue to cast himself as a candidate of ideas and not as a political partisan. This will prove successful as his opponent is the very embodiment of nasty partisan politics. Mrs. Clinton will continue to campaign based on her husband's experience, which while it helped her in the Democrat primaries, will not play well in the general election due to the fact that large portions of the population don't hold that experience in terribly high regard.

Thompson will serve one very successful, very productive term in the White House. He will not stand for re-election due to personal and primarily health related reasons.

The Red Sox will not win the world series, and will likely not make the playoffs.

The Patriots after capping a perfect season with a Super Bowl blowout will open the next season with a loss.

The Middle East
This is the toughest call to make so I saved it for last.

The upside is, Iraq will hold and begin to stabilize. It will become the solid democratic ally we need in the region. It will start to show growth economically and gain power in the region.

We will be in Iraq for a while yet. Once the Iraqis have taken over the internal security for the entire nation we will remain to provide a deterrent to Iranian and Syrian aggression.

By year's end there will be significant unrest in Iran and it will be clear that the rule of the Mullahs is in jeopardy. There will be growing pressure for freedom and democracy. And it will be bloody.

Pakistan will fall to the terrorists. The Bhuto assassination has made that all but inevitable. When it becomes obvious even to Musharaf he will have one critical choice to make. Use Pakistan's nuclear weapons on terrorist controlled territory, or use them as a bargaining chip with the west to save his own neck. (Literally) When Al Qaeda takes over the country they will be shocked to find that the nukes they so coveted have vanished. They will find themselves sandwiched between a hostile India and a hostile Afghanistan. Iran, preoccupied with it's own internal trouble will be of little help. If the world can muster the will, they can be squeezed out of existence.

The U.S. economy will continue to grow despite federal meddling in the home mortgage market.

Energy prices will trend down for the year.

Humans will continue to produce growing amounts of CO2 which will do little or nothing to the Earth's climate. The hue and cry and predictions of Climate Change doom will continue unabated.

In addition to losing the Presidential nomination, Congressman Ron Paul will lose a primary challenge for his House seat. Supporters will be outraged and there will be virtually no end to the variations of conspiracy theories blaming the loss on corporations or the Bilderbergs or whoever is flying the black helicopters this month.

If I get a small financial windfall this year, I'm buying stock in ALCOA.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:46 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

December 28, 2007

Second Amendment Available

When I decided to do a series of typographic designs of the Bill of Rights I decided to start with the First Amendment since it seemed like a logical place to start. I decided that the next logical step would be to do the Second Amendment, since it comes second.

I had to do a little shuffling of the merchandise since in the free basic account I can only have one of any given product. And since I haven't sold enough of the First Amendment stuff to cover the cost of a "premium" account, that's the way it is going to have to be for now.

Here's the design for the Second Amendment.

It is available on the fitted t-shirt and the large mug. Click on the Shirt in the side bar and order one of each today.

If there is another item available via Cafe Press that you would prefer to have either Amendment on, leave me a comment and I will happily make it available.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:14 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Fred Wins!

A few days ago the Fred Thompson campaign began a fund-raising effort around a planned media buy in Iowa. It was part of the campaign's all out effort to make a good showing in the upcoming Iowa caucuses.

The pitch on the Thompson site reads:

Fill the tank on the red pick-up!

We need $248,846 by 6:00 p.m. Friday to air our new ad: "Substance" statewide in Iowa.
As of 6:00 EST the total raised is $253,480. They passed their goal by $4.634.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

And if I don't see you before then - Happy New Year!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:09 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

December 23, 2007


I took the offspring to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. I am not going write a review of the film as I don't think it is necessary. I will only say that if you find yourself similarly burdened alcohol will help dull the pain.

The kids, of course loved it. The boy was inspired to create his own band.

If you can't quite make out what it says, I'll translate.

The Dragon King's Band.
Their song will be "Sun Destruction"
and here they are on a poster.
The lyrics, sung in his best seven-year-old rock growl went something like:
Sun Destruction
Sun Destruction
We are hard core
We are hard core
(repeat endlessly)
I think it may be the first global warming skeptic hard rock anthem.It makes a dad proud.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:15 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

December 22, 2007

The CFLs Are On But...

In its infinite stupidity the federal government has decided to ban the venerable incandescent light bulb. So I guess it's time to say goodnight Mr. Edison and thanks for lighting the way. I only hope that the people in charge of this museum have the good sense to put in a stock of real light bulbs. Because the day it is lit with compact fluorescents will be a sad day indeed. But when you consider that the museum is run by the same outfit that just banned the light bulb, there is not a lot of hope that day can be avoided.

Technically they didn't ban it, but they have regulated it out of existence with higher mandated efficiency standards buried in the recently signed energy bill. The incandescent will be effectively off the market by 2014.

I'm not going to get into the whole "where does the government get the authority to tell me what kind of light bulb I can use?" question. But I have to say it would be interesting to hear the current crop of wannabe Great Leaders positions on if this is something the government should be doing. I fear that only Ron Paul would oppose the idea. Though I suspect Fred Thompson might think it stupid just on common sense grounds.

What I want to address is that this is just another instance of the government stepping in and overriding what the market was doing.

Several years ago I bought a compact fluorescent as an experiment. They were fairly new but made great promises of energy savings. It was very expensive. Which is why I limited the experiment to one bulb.

It sucked. It took forever to get to full strength and when it did, the light was ugly. It was stark, cold, white light. It seemed entirely unnatural in it's lack of depth. I might as well have been lighting the room with halogen flood lights.

After a week I put it in the basement. There wasn't a lot of natural light in the basement so the long warm-up time was a problem. I threw it away.

A month or so ago I bought a 6 pack of CFL bulbs at a warehouse club for less than I bought the single bulb. I bought them for the basement because we have a nasty habit of leaving the lights on down there. It is the basement and it really doesn't matter what the light is like, and the energy cost savings and longer life would offset the cost of the bulbs - particularly since we were going through so many incandescents down there.

The new ones warm up much faster, and the the quality of the light has improved a bit. They are in open fixtures and I'll grant that they would probably be even a little better if they were under a decent shade.

The thing is, the CFLs have gotten better. They got better because they had to. They had to not because of regulation and government mandates. They got better because it was the only way they could compete with incandescents.

It was an interesting market dynamic. People wanted more efficient light bulbs. They wanted the dollar and the energy savings. But not at the quality and dollar cost of the early CFLs. The market was there, but manufacturers weren't delivering. They needed to get better and they did.

As CFL's continued to improve and energy costs continued to climb, CFLs were becoming more attractive. As those two trends continued, CFLs would have eventually replaced incandescents.

The Market Was Working.

But doing the work isn't apparently what some people were interested in. Some people didn't want to earn customers by delivering a better product. Some people wanted to grow the market and their business at the point of gun in the hands of the government. So they teamed up with the environmentalists who revel in telling the rest of us what we can and cannot do, and lobbied the government to regulate incandescents out of the market.

Those people are, not coincidently, the largest manufacturers of CFL bulbs. Phillips.

So here is my lighting strategy going forward.  Every trip I make to the warehouse club store, I'm going to buy a 10 pack of incandescent bulbs. The extra energy cost is worth it to me for the better quality of light. I also have numerous fixtures on dimmers and I want to delay the expense of upgrading dimmers to be compatible with the few CFLs that will work with a dimmer. I also have a couple of fixtures that use specialty decorative bulbs, so I'll be stocking up on those. And I guess I 'll have to put in a supply of the flood lights for the recessed lighting in the kitchen.

I'm going to buying a lot of extra bulbs over the next few years. I know it's going cost me. I also know that there will not be a single bulb in this house made by Phillips. EVER.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:01 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

December 13, 2007

Religious Intolerance In Connecticut

DISASSOCIATED PRESS: Connecticut: A Connecticut man today was heard allegedly speaking against the United Nations and taking al Gore's name in vain.

He reportedly said, "I just spent two hours shoveling several inches of heavy,wet, sticky 'Global Warming' off my driveway. Gore and the rest of the rest of the UN Global warming ninnies can go experience some real warming in Hell."

Meanwhile at a resort in Bali:

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:12 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


Boy when the climate ninny's at the United Nations issue a report about global warming they really like to use strong language to forcefully demonstrate how absolutely certain they are about their politically motivated "scientific" conclusions.

Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years,” the report said. Greenhouse gases were very likely to be behind the trend.
You know, I'm just not very likely to take them too serioulsy.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:57 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

December 10, 2007


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or probably more likely his PR department, has started a blog.

It appears as though there are open and unmoderated comments.

Do with that what you will.

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

December 09, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Misery

We made a family favorite dessert tonight. It's called Kentucky Chess Cake. We don't make it often because it is a little bit on the unhealthy side.

Bottom layer:
1 dry cake mix - butter flavor. (Though one day I'm going to try this with chocolate)
1 stick butter or margarine. (By they time you get to the end of the recipe you will see that using margarine is pointless. Use butter.
1 egg

Mix all of this together and press into a greased 9x12 pan.

Top layer
3 eggs
8 oz cream cheese
1 1lb box confectioner's sugar
Mix well and pour evenly over bottom layer.

Bake in a preheated 325° oven for 40-45 minutes.

The recipe we have suggests letting it cool before serving but don't take that too seriously. Wait just long enough to to be able to handle the pan with bear hands. As good as this is when it's cool and set, hot and gooey out of the oven is much better.

I have seen variations with a bit of lemon juice and zest added to the topping - and I'm sure you could use any citrus for that. I suspect you could add a little ginger or a hint of cinnamon too.

Enjoy in moderation.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:35 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

Learn Something New

Turn off the TV. Open your mind. Let some knowledge in.

It's free. It's the iTunes University.

There are offerings from:

Abilene Christian University
Arizona State University
Bowdoin College
Broome Community College
Concordia University
DePaul University
Gordon College
Miami Dade College
Michigan Tech University
Northeastern University
Otis College of art and Design
Pennsylvania State University
Queen's University
Reformed Theological Seminary
Seattle Pacific University
Texas A&M University
Texas Tech University
UC Berkeley
University of Arizona
University of Pennsylvania
University of South Florida
Vanderbilt University
Yale University
I'm sure there will be more added soon.

Hat Tip: Pixy Misa.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:50 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

December 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Big Brother

This year I officially cross the line in to "middle age." In a few short weeks I will reach 45.

My brother is older than me though! And today is his birthday.

Happy Birthday Leo.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:16 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

The Politics of Denial

While I applaud President Bush's newfound willingness to exercise his veto power in an effort to reign in government spending in a "better late than never" sort of way I feel reasonably certain that were the same bills and the same levels of spending passed by a GOP majority congress, they would be signed. It's not about the budget, the country or doing the right thing. It's about sticking it to the other party. And after years of enduring their insults and searing hatred, I can understand that impulse.

And if it takes petty partisan political bickering (he said redundantly) to slow down the massive expansion of the federal government - I'm all for it.

Of course both sides are playing, but the other side isn't bringing their A game. Democrats in the House are passing bills they know will either be killed in the Senate of vetoed by the President. They think they can do this and point to Republican obstruction and make the Republican's look bad. They have good reason to think that too. The Republicans did it to them - just ask Tom Dashel. They have just been totally ineffective.

Consider this comment from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"For a President already lacking in credibility, it is dangerous to issue veto threats based on press reports alone," they said,
It sort of brings to mind that old saying about one piece of cookware making a racially insensitive comment about another.

When the Democrats took over a majority in both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections they road to capital hill with heady claims of a mandate. They were going to change the direction the country was going. They were going to end the war in Iraq. The were going to run the least most ethical congress ever.

What have they done? Well there was the minimum wage thing. Right after they passed that the grocery store where I shop passed added three additional self-checkout lines. But lets give them credit for at least passing something - we'll leave the side effects for another day. They did manage, with Republican support, to override one veto on one pork-bloated spending bill.

I don't think they have a lot of room to be critical of anyone's credibility.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:46 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Was It Something I said?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:14 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

December 06, 2007

al Gore Is Destroying The Planet

I think I have finally figured out why al Gore is so intent on changing the world to reduce CO2 and fight Global Warming. He has a guilty conscience.


I don't mean the endless traveling the globe via private jet to promote his movie and his cause. I don't mean the the monstrous energry-hungry mansion he calls home. (Or more accurately one of his homes.) I'm not even referring to the seemingly endless stream of hot air he emits as he preaches against the evils of capitalism and the burning of fossil fuels.

A new study entitled An Inefficient Truth (pdf) claims to prove that a  medium size server has a carbon footprint equal to that of an SUV getting 15 mpg

I would guess that the man who, through his invention called "The Internet" is responsible for the existence of vast numbers of servers all over the world probably feels bad about the horror he has unleashed on the planet.

But then again we're talking about al Gore.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:38 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

December 03, 2007

Better Business

A short while ago, around the time of the "General Betray Us" ad there was a Café Press retailer who got a nasty-gram form MoveOn's lawyers. They didn't like the merchandise critical of the group and were claiming copyright violations in attempt to get the shop shut down. So I thought, "Here's an opportunity for a thoroughly Quixotic gesture." I opened my own Café Press shop selling merchandise that blatantly ripped off MoveOn's logo, but with a positive message about the group.

The idea was to see if they would come after me for violating their trademark if I was selling it with a message they agreed with. I'm sure by now you're all wondering, "Did it work?"

Two things happened. First, no one bought any of my pro Move.On merchandise. And second, even though I know the shop was reported to them through the contact form on their web site (I did it myself) I heard nothing for MoveOn or their lawyers.

I'm really not sure it means much one way or the other.

The problem is, having that stuff available with my name on it made me ill. It gnawed at me like a cancer on my soul. It had to go. And gone it is.

I didn't close the shop though. I decided to put it to better use. (Though perhaps equally Quixotic.) I have created new merchandise designed to highlight and remind people of a shamefully little read and more shamefully little understood document we used to call the Bill of Rights.

I'm a logical sort of person, so I started at number one. And it is available on shirts and mugs. Just in time for Christmas. They make the prefect gift for members of Congress.

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

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