Friday, August 04, 2006

Darth Vader being a smartass

This is for Brandon.

Rummy Jumps the Shark

Well, ok, he probably 'jumped the shark' long ago, but yesterday he pulled out the old Vietnam 'fight them over there or fight them on our shores' defense of his adventures in the Middle East.
“If we left Iraq prematurely,” he said, “the enemy would tell us to leave Afghanistan and then withdraw from the Middle East. And if we left the Middle East, they’d order us and all those who don’t share their militant ideology to leave what they call the occupied Muslim lands from Spain to the Philippines.” And finally, he intoned, America will be forced “to make a stand nearer home.”

Spitzer Visits SL

Refering to the Republican Party Spitzer said: "No party has done so much for so few who need so little."

I agree. Look at the minimum wage bill. Republicans are in favor of raising the minimum wage only if the wealthiest 0.5% of Americans get a tax break (Estate Tax).

He proposes to cut NYS spending by 11 billion dollars and property taxes by 6 billion dollars. I'll believe that when I see it.

He proposes to have health insurance for all children of NYS by the end of his first term. I think he will do all that is possible to make that happen.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rumsfield Appears Before the Senate

What's nice is that no Senators need ask any questions. Rumsfield interviews himself.
Are there still Taliban around? You bet.

Are they occupying safe havens in Afghanistan and other places — correction, in Pakistan and other places? Certainly they are.

Is the violence up? Yes.

Does the violence tend to be up during the summer, in the spring, summer and fall months? Yes it does. And it tends to decline during the winter period.

Does that represent failed policy? I don’t know. I would say not.

Property Taxes are Too High

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports that the President of the Saranac Lake Central School Board of Education has voted against the tax levy that District residents approved last Spring.
“I don’t have a problem with our budget,” Van Nortwick said. “I do have a problem with the way our tax levy is being distributed.”

Van Nortwick pointed out that Harrietstown taxpayers are paying $1,358,261 more than last year. They will pay $7,663,743 of the $16,348,331 tax levy this year. Harrietstown is one of seven towns in the school district and one of four completely encompassed by it.

Van Nortwick told the Enterprise that many property owners are experiencing dramatic jumps in assessments and taxes that are threatening their ability to stay in their current homes. He said school taxes combined with others — such as county taxes — are becoming a tremendous burden.

“I do feel for these people,” Van Nortwick said at the meeting. “We need to start thinking about that.”
So it's not the school budget that's the problem, it's the fact that the Town of Harrietstown residents have to pay too much of it. It couldn't possibly be because of the increases in the school district budget needed to cover employee salaries, health care and retirement?

Property taxes are too high in New York State and something needs to change. But property assessments in the Town of Harrietstown have not changed for 5 years. Might it be that Harrietstown residents have been getting somewhat of a free ride for the last 5 years? Especially owners of lake front property?

As a writer of a letter to the editor yesterday pointed out,
....assessments are not responsible for increases in school or property taxes. Local board members of all taxing jusrisdictions shoulder that burden entirely, and any argument to the contrary is a sinister diversion from the mathematical reality.
At least in the case of the school tax we have a say in whether the budget gets approved or not.

Immigrants Should Use English - So Should Americans

Photo's from GiveUpBlog

Can't remember where I got this one.

Why "Stay the Course"?

Good David Broder Editorial in the NYT's this morning. The reason Bush wants to 'stay the course' in Iraq is because if we don't, the 'other side' will claim victory.
But once the hope for victory is gone, the issue remains: What do you do? The answer from Bush and from Olmert is: Carry on. Do not waver. And do not question the logic of prolonging the agony.
This sure sounds alot like Vietnam War reasoning. We stayed there long after we realized that we could not win. We withdrew...lost, but Australia wasn't invaded and we didn't have to fight the 'Reds' on the shores of LA and San Francisco.

The other point Broder makes is that if Bush thought Iraq was such a danger to the USA, why didn't he prepare and execute the War more competently?
For the United States, it would have meant moving into Iraq with a large enough force to control the country after Saddam Hussein was toppled, not the pared-down deployment that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld insisted would be adequate. And, as Tom Ricks of The Post describes in deadly detail in his book "Fiasco," it would have meant serious planning for the occupation. That planning never took place, making it impossible for Iraqis to live their lives with hope.
Whatever goals Bush had for the Middle East are long gone and there is no one to blame but GW Bush and the people he appointed execute the war (ok, ok, so we all know it's really Cheney that's to blame).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Went to the Blue Moon Cafe this morning for coffee. There were two young Amish couples enjoying breakfast and probably waiting for a bus to somewhere.

The following info was obtained from HERE.
"Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)

"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat" (I Corinthians 5:11)
Mennonites = followers of Menno Simons, a Catholic priest from Holland who joined the anabaptist movement in 1536.

Amish = followers of Jacob Amman a Swiss Bishop who broke away from the Mennonite church.

Amish and Mennonites differ in matters of dress, technology, language and interpretation of the bible but have similar beliefs concerning baptism, non-resistance and basic bible interpretations.

As you know we got a new oak dining room buffet made by an Amish guy. He has a great shop that had several power tools run off a belt drive system probably powered by a generator. Amish communities decide for themselves what they will and will not accept concerning technology. Amish people consider electrical lines as a link with the outside world, so I guess a generator would solve that problem.

Old order Amish do not have to educate their children beyond the 8th grade (the Supreme Court so ruled in 1972).

Amish women wear a white cap if they are married and a black cap if they are single. Amish men grow beards after they have married. The Amish get married in November.

Amish do not play musical instruments.

The Ordnung is the Amish blueprint for expected behavior.

Fidel Castro Ruz

I hadn't realized that Castro was a Jesuit educated lawyer. The key here being Jesuit educated. You don't want to go against those guys. I can sort of remember the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1956-58. At least I was aware that something was going on in Cuba and I had the impression that the USA wasn't really opposing Castro at the time. In fact, the USA refused to support Batista, who was the unelected President of Cuba at the time, although others say the USA was proping up Batista. Castro led a poorly armed band of less than 200 men against the Cuban police and army that numbered over 30,000.

But I cannot find a good website that explains the US role in the Cuban Revolution and whether we wanted Castro to win or Batista to remain in power. Nor can I find out whether the USA made diplomatic errors that resulted in Castro becoming a partner of the Soviet Union.

I really, really, want to visit Cuba. It would be like going back in time to the 50's I suspect.

UPDATE: According to this article, JFK secretly tried to normalize relations with Cuba in the early 1960's.

Good-Bye Tomcat

The US Navy has retired the F-14 Tomcat, from carrier operations, as of a few days ago. 32 years of service with the fleet. The Tomcat was designed around a radar system and was the only aircraft capable of firing the long range AIM-54 Phoenix missile at multiple targets. What's going to happen with all those half million dollar missiles now? Some ex-Navy are not too thrilled with the demise of the F-14.
“One of the reasons the Tomcat is going away is because it’s so hard to fix,” Howe said. “I’m happy for my young maintenance guys, because they’ve worked their tails off and they can fix just about anything. So, this transition to the Super Hornet, because that particular aircraft is so much easier to maintain, will be an easy one for them.”

It's being replaced by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

An F/A-18 Super Hornet breaking the sound barrier.

BTW, although I was a Corpsman and researcher in the Navy, I've always been interested in high tech military equipment, especially aircraft and ships.