Sunday, February 29, 2004

Another review of the "Passion"

I came across this review by a person posting to a web site. I thought it was very perceptive.

I saw the movie Thursday.

This movie is about choices (not violence, not anti-semiticism). Its about the choice the ancient Jewish leaders made to go after Jesus, and the choice that Jesus made to stay on the cross. It shows the choice that Judas made to betray him, the choice that his disciples made to run and deny before returning. It shows the choice his mother made to stay with him and endure the horror of seeing it all. It shows Pilot troubled by the choice he's trying to make. MOSTLY it is about the choice in front of modern Christians today: This was His choice, what's yours? Are you going to talk the talk or walk the walk?

I suspect the target audience is people who go to church and fill the pew, but don't really allow Jesus to fill their life. Someone that already knows his teachings, but who hasn't grasped the full import of what happened. For all intents and purposes, that would be me. This movie is NOT about leading people to Christ, its about prompting a decision in people that are already there. Perhaps thats why people are so infuriated by it. The movie almost demands a decision of you at the end. I've discovered that humans don't like to feel forced to make a decision, we like options. This movie leaves no room for that. You either "are" or you "aren't".

The movie is entirely spiritual. The violence is only a secondary bit-part of the movie. The real focus is on the spiritual choices people made, and are still making.

Incidentially, the movie is VERY well-made. Its not some second-rate splatter film. The score is great, and weirdly appropriate. Its fascinating to hear Aramaic spoken, and the sub-titles were nicely done. I almost didn't notice them. The cinematography is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The acting is beyond reproach, every single actor. I am astounded. It is exquisite.


Posted by Ted on 02/29/04 8:25 PM | Link

F-18's in Actions

Click here for some very neat photos of F-18 action over Afghanistan. Click here for F-18 action over Iraq.

Posted by Ted on 02/29/04 4:54 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

John Kerry's Vietnam Experience

I came across this on the web.

Taking a look at Mr. Kerry’s much-promoted Vietnam service, his military record was, indeed, remarkable in many ways. Last week, the former assistant secretary of defense and Fletcher School of Diplomacy professor,W. Scott Thompson, recalled a conversation with the late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. that clearly had a slightly different take on Mr. Kerry’s recollection of their discussions:

“The fabled and distinguished chief of naval operations,Admiral Elmo Zumwalt,told me — 30 years ago when he was still CNO —that during his own command of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam,just prior to his anointment as CNO, young Kerry had created great problems for him and the other top brass,by killing so many non-combatant civilians and going after other non-military targets.‘We had virtually to straitjacket him to keep him under control,’ the admiral said. ‘Bud’ Zumwalt got it right when he assessed Kerry as having large ambitions — but promised that his career in Vietnam would haunt him if he were ever on the national stage.” And this statement was made despite the fact Zumwalt had personally pinned a Silver Star on Mr. Kerry.


Posted by Ted on 02/29/04 4:24 PM | Link

A Review of The Passion

A lady I work with, went to see Mel Gibson's movie. She emailed her experience to me. Here it is.

I told you if I saw it, I would tell you how it was….overwhelming. It puts you in shock to what actually happened. It was emotional. It was a powerful movie. I was glad to have seen it. I don’t know if I would see it again anytime soon. If one wants to see it to be entertained then they have gone to the wrong movie. If Karol sees it with you, BRING TISSUES! You get that emotionally involved. This is a movie where the audience is silent. I did hear a lady from time to time explain to someone different parts. It was the greatest story ever told about the crucifixion. At the end, there was some clapping and cheers. I walked out with such shock and numbness I had trouble walking straight. People walked out in silence.


Posted by Ted on 02/29/04 12:44 PM | Link

Saturday, February 28, 2004

The journey home

Launch from the remote firebase occurred at about 1700 this afternoon. It was a little later than I really wanted, but I also wanted to complete the small project I was working on.

The client wanted a report of sales by state. First, I did a quick report to see just how good his data was. As I expected, it was not very clean. I spent a few hours doing some very simple SQL Queries cleaning up his sales data for the state and country fields. Then I was able to his report in Crystal Reports. If you need any work done in Crystal Reports, give me a call. I’m developing a pretty good skill set with that program.

I sat in Dasher-1 with the main engines coming up to full power. I called Karol to warn her I was about ready to blast off. I opened my Zone Bar for snacking and opened my bottle of Mountain Dew for caffeine and sugar body fuels. Then I released the holding clamps and the vehicle leaping into motion.

I was doing well until I came to about mile marker 145 on the Parkway. What was 80 mph traffic became bumper-to-bumper. It remained that way until about mile marker 135. Then normal traffic flow resumed and I was a happier camper. Although, I almost never get aggravated by traffic.

On the way home, I stopped by my office. The power company had stopped by earlier in the week and said they would be taking the power down for about two hours on Saturday – today. I had connected into my system this morning from the client site, made sure last nights backup had run OK, then remotely powered down all stations.

I has some trepidations when I went to restart all machines. I have a couple that have not been powered down for two or three years. Sometimes, when you have a computer that has been up and running for the period and you power it down, it will refuse to boot.

However, the computer gods were with me today. All stations came back up and as far as I can tell, everything is fully operational.

Oh and the “Check Engine” light I’ve been talking about, it continues to remain unlit. I know the bulb is OK, as it lights briefly as I boot Dasher-1. Perhaps the Armstrong luck is still holding.

Posted by Ted on 02/28/04 9:57 PM | Link

Friday, February 27, 2004

Thoughts on John Edwards' presidential bid

I don’t see how one can think Edwards is qualified to be the most powerful person in the world? He has a net worth of $30 to $50 million dollars. He acquired this wealth by winning some big lawsuits and skimming 30% of the settlement for himself.

He has been elected to office ONCE! He has never been re-elected. Upon becoming Senator from North Carolina, he has spent most of this time running for president. While he is running for president, who is representing the good people of North Carolina in his place? No one. What skill set does he bring to the table? All I can see is ambition.

I am reminded of the difference between Gore and Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign. When reporters asked Bush what he'd do if he lost, he replied that he'd just go back to Texas. Although he'd be disappointed, losing wouldn't be devastating.

Gore, on the other hand, could not imagine what he would do if he lost. Winning the presidency was his be all and end all. He could not psychologically afford to loose. I think we can see that today. Gore seems to have become a very bitter man. I would even go so far as to say the loss seems to have unhinged him. Ambition and it's corrosive effects seems to have demented his mind.

So the question is, what besides just ambition John Edwards have? All I see is a pleasing persona and a good campaign speech. I liken him to a brightly decorated Easter egg. Pleasing to the eye, but hollow inside.

Posted by Ted on 02/27/04 9:37 PM | Link

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Opinions are like noses, everyone has one

I was involved in an online debate recently, one of my comments was about Bush attending, and graduating from Harvard was not influenced by his family's money or position. My adversary retorted that if I believed that I was a partisan.

My reply was, "Of course I'm a partisan. Aren't you? Isn't everyone?" I am unashamedly partisan. I have opinions and I'm willing to debate and defend them. I make no false claim to impartiality. I don't believe the perfectly impartial person exists. We ALL have our prejudices. Let's just admit it and go from there.

The question should not be about whether or not I have opinions, but whether or not I can logically defend them. Notice I said logically, not emotionally. Emotional arguments are pointless. The only arguments worth response are logical ones. Emotions are nothing more than reflexive responses to ideas or stimuli. They may or may not have a logical basis. They are, however, subjective. Logic is pure. It is outside the realm of emotion. It is our only link to rationality.

Posted by Ted on 02/26/04 9:31 PM | Link

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

At the hotel

Launch occurred on schedule at 1630. The trip up was uneventful and I made very good time. Total travel time was 2:06. The "Check Engine" light continues to remain unlit.

Upon reaching my destination and stepping out of the vehicle, my right hamstring announced its displeasure. I limped for a few steps until it loosened up and I could walk more normally.

I'm really liking my Palm Pilot. It's certainly not perfect, but it does some things very well. It has been a Godsend for my meager time-keeping discipline. I've got a few frustrations about it.

1) My penmanship is bad and this makes manually writing on the thing very frustrating. I would say that, on average, I have to write at least 30% of my letters twice or more. Certain ones seem to give me more trouble than others do. I have seen a couple of programs I could use that supposedly improve that function. Perhaps I'll give them a try. I'm currently typing this on the collapsible keyboard I bought for it.

The keyboard is very impressive. So small, yet so usable. When I'm in church, I open up the keyboard, insert my Palm Pilot and type my notes as the pastor preaches. I think the people around me wonder what the heck I'm doing.

2) I'd like to see all the programs tie together. I'd like this thing to keep a continuous log of my activities that I could query at a later date. I've done a little research for something like that and there are a couple of programs that look interesting.

I made sure I got a room with a digital thermostat on the heater. A month ago, I had an all-night battle with a heater on a very cold night. I attempted without success to find a setting that was comfortable. Like Goldilocks and the three bears, it was either too hot or too cold.

Posted by Ted on 02/25/04 9:29 PM | Link

So long, I'll see you later

Dasher-1 is fueled, I am packed and all systems are go for launch. Lord willing I’ll return on Saturday.

I’ll catch you on the flip side. Goodbyyyyyyeeeee.

Posted by Ted on 02/25/04 4:28 PM | Link

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Target: 15 miles this week

My goal is the run 15 miles this week. I completed 14 miles the last two weeks. If I can make 15 miles this week and next, I will have reached my goal. Here is my planned running schedule.








4 ¼


3 ¼

2 ¼

3 ¼



If I make my goal, I think I’ll cut back for a week. I’m starting to develop some tightness in my right hamstring. It bothers me most, if I have been sitting for a while and then I get up to walk around. It is particularly noticeable when I get out of the car.

As I say, if I can make my goal for this week and next, I’ll give my hamstring a little rest. It just has to last another 10 days or so.

Posted by Ted on 02/24/04 9:22 PM | Link

The self repairing car

As you may now from a previous post, I’ve been driving around with my car’s “Check Engine” light on. The mechanic had told me it needs some kind of evaporative thing for the emissions control and that’ll be $500 to fix it, “Thank you very much.” I said, “Well, that’s a lot of money just for fix a little light on the dashboard. My car doesn’t come up for inspection until April. Please reset the computer and I’ll drive it for a while.” He warned me the light might come back on again in that night or a month from now.

Well, it came back on the next day. Therefore, I’ve been driving around with my “Check Engine” light on. Although it bugs me, at $500, I can take a little bugging.

Guess what? I’m driving home tonight, when suddenly that pesky light goes out. I don’t know if the bulb burned out, the computer finally gave up on me, or the emission thingy suddenly started working OK again. At any rate, I’ll take it as I can get it and see what happens.

Posted by Ted on 02/24/04 9:15 PM | Link

My Market Report

I took a hit in the market today. I was stopped out of four stocks with the following results. Sold DHOM with a 2% loss, ESMC with a 7% loss, QCOM with a 3% loss and RJR, where I broke even. Since I’ll be out of town for a few days, I’m canceling my open buy orders. This will leave me with only one open trade – GP. I’m back to 97% cash. My total trading capital still increased almost 3% over the last three week.

Posted by Ted on 02/24/04 7:51 PM | Link

Monday, February 23, 2004

There's no free lunch

The first concept taught in economics class is that for every benefit there's also a cost, as Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman put it, "There's no free lunch." While the person who receives the benefit might not pay or even be aware of the cost, somebody pays.

Posted by Ted on 02/23/04 8:51 PM | Link

Bush to win re-election

Much as the media and the Democrats would like to portray the president as beatable, he will be re-elected. I came across this interesting little factoid. In May 1984, both Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale were at a 49% - 49% dead heat in the polls. Reagan went on win the election and carry 49 states.

Not only will Bush be re-elected, but also the Republicans will increase their majorities in both the House and the Senate. I predict that after this election, you’ll find a lot of Democrats retiring from both the Senate and the House.

The Democrats have been the majority party for too many years. Now that they are the minority part, they are finding serving in the government not as much fun. They are packing up their toys and going home.

Posted by Ted on 02/23/04 8:26 PM | Link

My Market Report

It was another tough day in the market. As near as I can tell, I think I broke even today. I got stopped out of my ADVP at $67.66 giving me a just under a 14% profit on that trade.

My buy orders kicked in on DHOM, ESMC, and QCOM. My order on QCOM was at $60.15, but the stock opened at $63 and change. That leaves me down a little over 1% on that trade.

You may remember ESMC as I got stopped out on this one a few days ago. I looked at a 30-minute intraday chart, thought I saw another buy point. Well that shrew move puts me down almost 3% on that trade.

I’ll be going through my current holdings and put stops to protect the downside. This market does not look happy. That’s just as well, as I will be out of town for a few days and won’t be able to follow my trades as closely as I need to.

Posted by Ted on 02/23/04 7:46 PM | Link

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Reading a new book

I’m reading a book called, “Clients Forever” by Doug Carter with Jenni Green. The subtitle is "How your clients can build your business for you"

As you may know, I’m always looking for a method to make more money. This promises more money with less work. I bought it partly because of all the rave reviews on Amazon. In fact, there were no negative ones at all – a rarity.

Here’s an example they give of one firm they helped to success.

Two partners ran an investment firm. They employed six staff members to service 831 clients. They averaged 62 hours a week managing $74 million.

They sold off $15 million worth of assets under management and the 600 clients that went with them. Within a year, the company went from managing $59 million of assets to $102 million. They now need only one full staff person and both partners work only 28 hours a week. Their profits 24% and they pre-tax income is up 41%

That sure sounds like a winner to me. I’ll keep you apprised of how this book works for me.

Posted by Ted on 02/22/04 4:39 PM | Link

Sunday Service

In church this morning, the Pastor announced that they put stent in his leg, but it didn’t help. He’s still in a lot of pain. He has experienced this before and thinks the blockage is further up. It’s back to the doctor for him to see if, next time, they can get it right.

I run 4 ¼ miles before church. It is a little draining. I notice it when we stand up to sing. For a few seconds, the world starts to go gray and I feel a little woozy. Then it passes and I’m OK. I think it’s because my blood pressure is probably a little on the low side. When I stand up, it takes a few seconds for my heart to increase the pressure to push the blood to my brain. For a few seconds, my brain is operating on a reduced oxygen flow.

They brought in someone to sing this morning. As they introduced her, I noticed that she was slightly built and seemed a bit shy. But when she sat down to play the piano and sing that impression disappeared. She really brought the sound out of that piano. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a microphone so I could not hear her voice over the sound of the piano.

There’s a message to speakers there. When you go into a new setting, test all the equipment and setup to make sure it produces what you want.

This morning the pastor covered Matthew 5:21-26 in his series on the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:21-26
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

The pastor said that Jesus is talking about the 6th commandment, “"You shall not murder.” The pastor asked, when the Bible says do not commit murder, did God also include war, abortion, killing in self-defense? The pastor said that in this passage, Jesus is talking about attitudes as well as actions.

The Pastor said that murder is a sin against both man and God. Jesus is saying, that if you are angry with someone, then you are just as guilty of the 6th commandment before God as if you had killed them.

The Pastor said the name “Raca” means empty head, good for nothing. Jesus even goes so far as to say that calling someone a fool is worthy of the fires of hell. The Pastor said that we all need to repent and stop our arrogance and pride.

He said that some people enjoy being angry. They don’t want to repent, they want to hold on to their anger.

Jesus says that God will judge those with anger in their heart as if they had committed murder. The Pastor urged the congregation to dwell on the positive and look for the good in your fellow man. Jesus goes beyond the letter of the law. Our obedience must begin in the heart and mind. The pastor’s final question was, “Have you checked you attitude lately?”

Posted by Ted on 02/22/04 3:48 PM | Link

Saturday, February 21, 2004

3-day away mission coming up

I have a three-day away mission scheduled for this Wednesday, February 25. I’ll be leaving about 1700 on 2-25 and I hope to return about 1500 on 2-28.

Posted by Ted on 02/21/04 8:14 PM | Link

John Kerry's combat experience

A retired Marine Master Sergeant who was in S-2, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines, Korea in 1954 sent the following to a Marine chat net.

I was in the Delta shortly after John Kerry left. I know that area well. I know the operations he was involved in well. I know the tactics and the doctrine used, and I know the equipment. Although I was attached to CTF-116 (PBRs) I spent a fair amount of time with CTF-115 (swift boats), Kerry's command.

Here are my problems and suspicions:

(1) Kerry was in country less than four months and collected a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts. I never heard of anybody with any outfit I worked with (including SEAL One, the Sea Wolves, Riverines and the River Patrol Force) collecting that much hardware that fast, and for such pedestrian actions. The Swifts did a commendable job, but that duty wasn't the worst you could draw. They operated only along the coast and in the major rivers (Bassac and Mekong). The rough stuff in the hot areas was mainly handled by the smaller, faster PBRs.

(2) He collected three Purple Hearts but has no limp. All his injuries were so minor that he lost no time from duty. Amazing luck. Or he was putting himself in for medals every time he bumped his head on the wheelhouse hatch? Combat on, the boats were almost always at close range. You didn't have minor wounds, at least not often. Not three times in a row. Then he used the three Purple Hearts to request a trip home eight months before the end of his tour. Fishy.

(3) The details of the event for which he was given the Silver Star make no sense at all. Supposedly, a B-40 was fired at the boat and missed. A Vietcong jumps up with the launcher in his hand, the bow gunner knocks him down with the twin .50, Kerry beaches the boat, jumps off, shoots Charlie, and retrieves the launcher. If true, he did everything wrong.

(a) Standard procedure when you took rocket fire was to put your stern to the action and put the pedal to the metal. A B-40 has the ballistic integrity of a Frisbee after about 25 yards, so you put 50 yards or so between you and the beach and begin raking it with your .50's.

(b) Did you ever see anybody get knocked down with a .50 caliber round and get up? The guy was dead or dying. The rocket launcher was empty. There was no reason to go after him (except if you knew he was no danger to you just flopping around in the dust during his last few seconds on earth, and you wanted some derring-do in your after-action report). We didn't shoot wounded people. We had rules against that, too.

(c) Kerry got off the boat. This was a major breach of standing procedures. Nobody on a boat crew ever got off a boat in a hot area. EVER! The reason was simple: If you had somebody on the beach, your boat was defenseless. It couldn't run and it couldn't return fire. It was stupid and it put his crew in danger. He should have been relieved and reprimanded. I never heard of any boat crewman ever leaving a boat during or after a firefight.

Posted by Ted on 02/21/04 8:10 PM | Link

Should I take the fork in the road?

I’m reading a new book called “Clients Forever” by Doug Carter. Very early on, he brings up Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Carter’s point is, in life we come to various forks in the road of life. We must choose one. It is unlikely we will be able to come back and take the other.

The fork Carter talks about in his book is, one fork is to continue as we have in the past and where do we think that will lead. The other fork is to try something new. The new fork could be good or it could be bad.

So he asks the reader, "Do you want to continue as you have or do you want something different and hopefully better?"

Posted by Ted on 02/21/04 4:20 PM | Link

Friday, February 20, 2004

Almost one-on-one with the President

A blogger, also a small businessperson, spent 45 minutes with Bush and four other people. Here is his reaction to the meeting. Here's the "money quote" as they say.

“Bottom line: If George W. Bush could spend 25 minutes chatting with everybody in America like he did with me and five other folks today, he would win any election by a landslide. Despite the formality of the setting, he immediately put us all at ease with grace and hospitality. He was personable and seemed genuinely curious about each of us and our individual points of view on the subject we were there to discuss.”

Posted by Ted on 02/20/04 9:39 PM | Link

An Iraqi artist honors America's Sacrifice

An Iraqi artist in Baghdad has created a sculpture for the 4th Infantry Division.

The artist, who fears retaliation from former regime loyalists for his work with the Coalition, spent several months sculpting and casting the statue. Though he created the original statues of Saddam along with another artist, he created the 4th ID memorial through his own design, said Anderson.

The sculpture is based on a scene many in Iraq have witnessed in one form or another. A soldier kneels before a memorial of boots, rifle and helmet – his forehead resting in the hollow of his hand. Behind and to his right stands a small Iraqi girl with her hand reaching out to touch his shoulder.

The little girl portrays, in her eyes and presence, a sympathy mixed with gratitude. She was added to remind people of why the sacrifice was made, Sgt. Maj. Chuck Fuss said.

“It’s about freedom for this country, but it’s also about the children who will grow up in a free society,” he said.

Sitting in a former palace of Saddam now, the statue will soon be shuttled to Fort Hood, where it will become part of a larger memorial project at the 4th Infantry Division Museum. There, plaques will be hung in memory of those Task Force Ironhorse soldiers who have given their lives in Iraq.

Posted by Ted on 02/20/04 9:32 PM | Link

My Market Report

My holdings took a hit today. My portfolio was down over 1%. My stop loss orders triggered on five stocks. Here’s how I made out on them.

ATVI 6% profit
ELN 21% profit
EPEX 4% loss
FGD 3% loss
PETD 9%loss
TIE 37% profit

I continue to like my new strategy. The PETD was a trading error on my part. I should have been stopped out of it yesterday, but I screwed up. I thought I had put a stop on that stock, when it turns out I didn’t.

The Fidelity Active Trader Pro is a help. It allows me to arrange my pending orders in such a way I can be sure I’ve placed the orders I want.

In looking at a 30-minute intraday graph of TIE over the last three days, I might have set my stop higher and have gotten out with a 46% profit. The same graph for ELN provides less of a trend.

The point of my new strategy is that I sold TIE at $81.00. It closed at $78.70. I sold ELN at $13.20. It closed at $12.85. In both cases, my stops salvaged profits.

I will take a closer look at the action in ELN and TIE today. Using the same 30-minute intraday graph, perhaps I can see a re-entry point.

Even with a less than robust market performance over the last two weeks, I’ve made some money. I am currently back to 90% cash – my safe haven.

Posted by Ted on 02/20/04 8:02 PM | Link

Thursday, February 19, 2004

What to do with Saddam

I know what I’d do with Saddam Hussein. I would not put him on trial in The Hague with some French lawyer defending him.

You cannot defend Saddam. He is guilty of horrendous crimes. There is no doubt. There can be no presumption of innocence here. The Iraqi’s themselves should put him on trial. The trial would not be to prove his guilt, but rather to list his crimes and be a catharsis for the Iraqi’s. It should last long enough until the Iraqi’s feel sated.

Then they can take him outside and hang him, shoot him, or whatever method of killing him they would like. They are the ones that suffered under his rule and vengeance belongs to them.

I might suggest one thing. I don’t know much about Iraqi culture, but it seems to be a big insult to hit someone with your shoe. So after the trial, they can parade him through the center of Baghdad and everyone can whack him with their shoe.

Then they can shoot him, chop his body into a hundred pieces and bury each one in a separate part of Iraq.

Posted by Ted on 02/19/04 10:19 PM | Link

Why the economy is coming back so slowly

Do you want to know why the economy has been so long in coming back? Look at the events. The market reached its peak in March 2000. I know I was there and saw it happen.

The market seems to have bottomed out in March of this year. In the interim, it lost about $10 trillion in value. That’s about equal to one year of Gross Domestic Product for the US.

Suppose you make $60,000 a year. Then you lose $60,000 out of your savings. You still have your job, but your net worth just took a $60,000 hit. After you stopped morning your loss, do you think you’d spend a little more cautiously?

Then 9/11 happened. Karol was at her Human Resources meeting tonight, and the speaker said that 9/11 cost this country $3 Trillion dollars.

Let’s go back to my personal analogy. You’re licking your wounds over the $60,000 hit, when you suffer another $18,000 loss. Now you’re down $78,000. Where you were cautious before, now you’re downright scared.

Multiply that across 250 million people and you can see why the economy has been so slow to come back. It takes a while to regrow all the fiscal and psychological skin.

Posted by Ted on 02/19/04 10:06 PM | Link

My Market Report

At lunchtime, my portfolio was up a little over 1%. By the end of the day, I was back to even. Three of my stops triggered selling ACH, CMC, and FBST. I lost about 3% on two of these trades and broke even on FBST. ELN and EPEX saved me today. ELN was up almost 13% and EPEX was up 5.75%. My TIE was up substantially at lunch, but finished the day down over 2%. I still have a 40% profit in TIE and will likely be putting a tight stop on it.

My new strategy of tight stops seems to be working better for me. It’s getting me out of losing trades quicker and I’m taking small profits and running.

My stop sold ESMC at a 25% profit last week. Then I went back in yesterday and put another buy order in at $10.60. It did not trigger.

I’m getting a little frustrated with Fidelity in tracking what’s going on with my account. I currently have about 20 or 30 positions or pending trades and I find myself missing some important items.

I went into Fidelity and downloaded their Active Trader Pro. It looks like it might be some help. I’ll see.

A reading of IBD online is not very encouraging. The tone was subdued.

Posted by Ted on 02/19/04 7:52 PM | Link

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The Bush Doctrine Works

Michael B. Duff writes:

Taking some very satisfying shots at a series of easy targets.

I don't really like the Bush Doctrine, okay?

After 9-11, I thought we should confine our efforts to the Al Qaeda organization. Instead, Bush decided to condemn half the Middle East with his Axis of Evil speech and roll tanks into Iraq.

It bothered me. It still bothers me. But dammit, if you look at the patterns, it seems to be working. The Middle East thinks Bush is crazy, and their governments are afraid of us. Do you get that? The bad guys are afraid of us, because against all logic and common sense, we went into Iraq and we took Saddam down.

We ignored all the reasonable advice from Asia and Europe and people like me, and we went in with guns blazing. We've paid a terrible price in men and money, and we're still there.

What's the lesson? Mess with America and we will intervene, flagrantly, in the Middle East. So, if you want us to go home, what should you do? What will happen if we get attacked again? What will happen to the governments of Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia if Al Qaeda sets off a nuke in Times Square?

You think we'll just pack up and go home? Or will we stick our meddling capitalist fingers in every Middle Eastern cesspool on the planet, hoping to turn up a needle in the haystack?

Middle Eastern governments want us to leave them alone. They'll snipe at us when they feel protected, funneling money to terrorist organizations when they think they won't be traced. But what happens when we follow that money home? What happens when their attempts to scare us backfire, and the crazy American president starts taking out dictators in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I'll tell you what happens. The money dries up, and governments that used to wink and nod at terrorism get on their secret satelite phones and tell their extremists to cool it, unless they want to see Marines taking showers in the palace.

Bush wants to be like Reagan, and he has succeeded. Everybody thought Reagan was crazy, when he went on TV and said, "We begin bombing in five minutes." His comments scared the shit out of people. It scared us in America, and more important, it scared our enemies.

In 2001, New York was burning and we were afraid. Today, there are American flags flying in Baghdad and our enemies are afraid.

I don't have access to all the documents, but I must entertain the possibility, the possibility that the Bush Doctrine is working. We have been relatively safe since 9-11. Iraq is a hot zone, but there have been no major attacks on U.S. soil. Why? Because the people who finance terrorism are afraid of us.

We will be hit again, okay? That fear has limits, and Bush is upsetting a lot of people. But tyrants around the world are making compromise noises because we have put the fear of God in them. And if Kerry wins this election, all of that progress will be rolled back.

Europe will love us. The UN will praise us. The Arab world will breathe a huge sigh of relief. And money will start trickling back into Al Qaeda's coffers. The bad guys will tighten their grip on their respective populations, and the price we have paid will have been paid for nothing.
From LiveJournal

Posted by Ted on 02/18/04 10:32 PM | Link

My Market Report

My portfolio was up about 2% today. However, I’m still only about 30% invested. Therefore, that means my total amount was up substantially less. I could cry over ELN with my buy order at $9.30 and being filled at $10.90, but that’s part of the game. It was up 34% for the day on almost 12 time’s normal volume. Even with getting in late, I’m still up over 8% on that stock. My other winners for the day were ADVP, up 4.5% and TIE, up 8.65%.

TIE is really going to town for me. I bought it on Feb 2nd and it now up 44%.

So far, I like my new strategy. My trades are of shorter duration, but I’m seeing smaller losses and taking profits more quickly. Last week I made more money that the market and when the market went down, I stayed even. We’ll see if that trend continues.

Posted by Ted on 02/18/04 9:57 PM | Link

Hugh Hewitt on John Kerry

He does not understand that America has real enemies today that won't play by his rules any more than he understood communism in 1971. He just doesn't get it. Period. His honorable service and his heroism in no way covers the terrible judgment he has displayed since he returned from the battlefield.

As for the beliefs about Kerry held by many members of the military, past and present, read from the article cited below in today's Los Angeles Times:

"Paul Galanti learned of Kerry's [1971] speech while held captive inside North Vietnam's infamous 'Hanoi Hilton' prison. The Navy pilot had been shot down in June 1966 and spent nearly seven years as a prisoner of war."

"During torture sessions, he said, his captors cited the antiwar speeches as 'an example of why we should cross over to [their] side.'"

"'The Viet Cong didn't think they had to win the war on the battlefield,' Galanti said, 'because thanks to these protesters they were going to win it on the streets of San Francisco and Washington.'"

"He says Kerry broke a covenant among servicemen never to make public criticisms that might jeopardize those still in battle or in the hands of the enemy."

"Because he did, Galanti said, 'John Kerry was a traitor to the men he served with.'"

"Now retired and living in Richmond, Va., Galanti, 64, refuses to cool his ire toward Kerry."

"'I don't plan to set it aside. I don't know anyone who does,' He said. 'The Vietnam memorial has thousands of additional names due to John Kerry and others like him.'"

Posted by Ted on 02/18/04 12:19 PM | Link

Midday Marekt Report

I just checked my portfolio and I see my buy order on ELN kicked in today. Unfortunately, my buy order was at $9.30 and the stock opened at $10.90 this morning. There’s not a lot one can do under those circumstances. The volume on the stock is 33 million shares already and it normally trades a little under 5 million shares. My portfolio is up about a percent and a half right now. However, the day is young and there is plenty of opportunity for the market to go against me.

Posted by Ted on 02/18/04 12:10 PM | Link

Kerry & Edwards AWOL

DNC Boss: Kerry, Edwards Went AWOL from Senate

(2004-02-05) -- Democrat National Committee (DNC) chairman Terry McAuliffe today said that presidential candidates John F. Kerry and John Edwards have gone AWOL from the Senate, missing almost every Senate vote in the past three months, and perhaps longer.

"These men signed up to serve their country, yet they failed to show up for duty," said Mr. McAuliffe, who earlier this week repeated spurious allegations that President George W. Bush had gone absent without leave from the National Guard in the early 1970s.

"I have reviewed the Senate voting records going back to the beginning of November 2003," said Mr. McAuliffe. "They show that Sen. Kerry missed 32 votes and Sen. Edwards missed 30. These men draw six-figure annual salaries to represent the citizens of their respective states. If we had this kind of dirt on Bush during the 2000 elections, Al Gore would be sitting in the Oval Office today."

Mr. McAuliffe said he came forward with the Senate AWOL charge because "Americans have a right to know whether their potential president keeps his commitments to voters."

The DNC chairman noted that retired General Wesley Clark is the best candidate still in the race, "because nobody needs him to show up anywhere, and yet he does anyway. That's dedication."
From ScrappleFace

Posted by Ted on 02/18/04 11:28 AM | Link

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

How to put America back to work

I’m sitting in my car while the gas station attended fuels my car, when it hits me. No, not the pump nozzle the solution. I know how to help the economy, get it moving, AND provide more jobs.

All states must ban self-service gas stations. New Jersey is currently the only state that protects the gas station attendant jobs. All other states have heartlessly allowed self service stations to flourish. Consequently, countless gas station attendants are now unemployed.

People blame NAFT and free trade for destroying jobs. However, here we are destroying jobs in our own country and it as absolutely nothing at all to do with NAFTA.

Think of it. Millions of gas station attendants will be hired. They will spend their wages in various parts of the economy to help get it going.

After we’ve do that, they we can require that ALL car owns get their cars serviced at the manufacturers recommended service interval. This will do three things, it will keep American’s fleet of cars safer, it will provide more jobs for auto mechanics and better-maintained cars will have few breakdowns and thus the economy will see a productivity gain.

This train of thought can be carried on to many other aspects of life. By requiring consumers to NOT always take the cheapest way out, we can put American back to work.

Posted by Ted on 02/17/04 9:59 PM | Link

From an American Soldier

From LTC Sherman R. McGrew
It was an incredible day, an historic day, a day for freedom. Saddam was captured. The streets were filled with jubilant Iraqis. But this is not a story for me to tell, for I am a guest in this country. Better to have an Iraqi tell it in his own words.

The only way the US army can operate here in Iraq is with the help of our Iraqi interpreters. This is the story of one of them. For security purposes, I cannot tell you even his first name or show you his picture. He is incredibly brave. He literally risks his life every single day that he works for us. I may not agree with everything he says, but this is his story, not mine. These are his own words...

Under the old regime, I was a teacher of English and English Literature for three to four dollars a month. Now I earn $15.00 a day as an interpreter. I was also a conscription soldier. There was one small loaf of bread for two soldiers for breakfast, if you were lucky. There was no lunch or dinner provided. You had to bring food from home or buy it from shops. It was a miserable life. The army did not take care of its soldiers.

The American army treats its soldiers very well. They give food, equipment, a place to live and medical insurance for their soldiers. I saw that the air conditioners were given to the enlisted soldiers first and then the officers got them. Lt. Col. McGrew asked me if this would have happened in the old Iraqi army. I just laughed.

I have seen recordings of how the Fedayeen were trained. Small children would be executed in front of them to harden their hearts. Dogs would be set on old people and criminals with the same purpose. Saddam paid them good money, which is why they served Saddam.

If they took money from Saddam Hussein, believe me, they are your enemy now. An entire generation has been raised under Saddam. He washed the peoples' minds. Just like Osama Bin Laden, he had his special group. People are still worried about Saddam and that he will come back. He is considered a nightmare. People are afraid that there will be civil war in Iraq if Saddam comes back.

We study history and see what happened to South Vietnam when the USA left. South Vietnam was left alone and North Vietnam came to kill them.

Cuba is so close to you, yet nobody can do anything for Cuba, therefore some Iraqis don't trust the USA. Why the USA not get rid of Castro? Why come over so many oceans to Iraq when Cuba is so close?

Other dictators are worried now because Iraq is free. There is no democracy in the Middle East. Not in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or Egypt. If America does democracy in Iraq and gives us the freedom and make life better, then the neighboring countries will ask America to come and give democracy to them. That is what the Presidents of Arab countries are afraid of.

If Saddam comes back or USA leaves too soon, I will be killed, without any doubt.

Three interpreters were recently killed. More have been wounded. I cannot walk in the market free. I have to be very careful.

The only people who are against the Americans now are those who were rich before. Now they know that they can't sit at home and get wealthy. They will have to work and they don't like it. They lost the power and authority. It is very dangerous.

How are the Americans doing? Good, but it could be better. In Iraq we say, "One hand cannot clap." You need to work with the Iraqis more.

We are looking for heavy industrial projects, basic projects for us to grow strong. Our country is like a treasure. We have the two rivers, agriculture, gas and oil. We need to be an industrial country. We need to be a good country.

I just learned yesterday that Saddam is captured. Lt. Col. McGrew has asked me what the Iraqis think of this.

I came home to my town yesterday and I knew something had happened. There was so much celebration. When I got to my house, my family said, "You will not believe it! USA soldiers captured Saddam Hussein!" I can't believe it. Mr. Bremer said, "We captured him." I looked on the TV at him getting medical tests. I can't believe it! This is Saddam Hussein!

There was a big celebration because these people suffer so long under him. People were in the streets laughing and celebrating. This was a message for those who follow Saddam Hussein-You will end up like this-that your future is like this son of a b----.

I am sad for us because a coward ruled our country for 35 years. He did not even have enough courage to kill himself. Now he will face the justice he prevented us from getting all these years.

My people want Saddam Hussein to be tried here by our people with an Iraqi judge. All the people want to see his defense and what he will say about all the claims, the crimes against humanity, the use of chemical weapons in the north and the south of Iraq.

He was a war criminal in Iran and Kuwait. He took Kuwaiti hostages and killed them. He imprisoned hundreds from my village and killed some of them. He killed more Iraqis than anyone else.

The future is now in our hands. My people are afraid of civil war. We don't want the USA to leave us alone because another dictator could come. We want, by ourselves, to chose our president by election. I want to feel as if we have rights, and, more importantly, duties of citizens.

What would I say to the families of those US soldiers who have died? I am embarrassed because they are killed by my people. God bless them. My family prays to God to protect USA soldiers.

(He paused then, obviously emotional). We write down on a piece of paper the names of the US soldiers that we want God to protect. We place them in the Koran and ask God to help and protect them.

What would I say to the American people? You have to be proud of your sons. You have to be proud of your army. They are fighters for freedom.

Posted by Ted on 02/17/04 9:03 PM | Link

Market Results

The market was kind to me today. One of my ACH was up 10% and my TIE was up about 6.8%.

Two buy orders kicked in today, PETD at $24.15 and PLXT at 10.60. My overall portfolio was up about 3.8%. Unfortunately, since I’m only 28% invested, my total stash was up much less. In addition, even though my PLXT order kicked in, it couldn’t hold and I wound up with slightly over a 4% loss in that stock. I will put a stop in to get me out in case it drops lower.

I’m considering creating a new stock scan that would look just for quality stocks that are in an upward trend. It is slightly relieving when I am stopped out of a stock with a small profit. That means I’ve captured the profit and have less money at risk.

Posted by Ted on 02/17/04 8:51 PM | Link

Homosexuality is not genetic

In 1991, Simon LeVay studied the brains of nineteen cadavers that he believed were homosexual men, and sixteen cadavers that he believed were heterosexual men. (LeVay told Science magazine that he had “assumed“ the sexual orientation of some of his subjects.)

LeVay claimed to have found a group of neurons in the hypothalamus that appeared to be twice as large in the heterosexual men as the homosexual men. He then suggested that the size of this group of neurons, called the INAH3, might have something to do with sexual behavior. However, he never claimed to have found a genetic cause for homosexuality.

LeVay said, upon completing his work:

“It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work.”

Some of LeVay’s peers noted that changes in brain structure could have been the result of homosexual behavior, rather than the cause. Dr. Kenneth Klivington stated:

“There is a body of evidence that shows the brain’s neural networks reconfigure themselves in response to certain experience. Therefore, the difference in homosexual brain structure may be a result of behavior and environmental conditions.”

Posted by Ted on 02/17/04 8:39 PM | Link

Monday, February 16, 2004

Then and Now

A blogger has notice some similarities between now and the presidential election of 1864. Lincoln was running against General George McClellan. Lincoln had fired McClellan, a West Point graduate, in 1862.

In 1864, the Civil war was going badly for Lincoln. More radical members of his own party thought that he was not prosecuting the war vigorously enough. The summer of 1864 was one of the darkest seasons of Lincoln’s presidency. During a three-month span that summer, Union casualties totaled 110,000, double the number during any comparable period of the war. Newspaper editors, members of Congress, and others heavily criticized Lincoln for his insistence that the Confederacy must end slavery as a condition of peace. Some of his other policies were equally unpopular. In August, Lincoln gloomily predicted to a friend that he was “going to be beaten, and unless some great change takes place, badly beaten.”

Lincoln’s opponent in the 1864 presidential race was Peace Democrat George McClellan. The Democratic Party platform, adopted at the party’s convention at the end of August, demanded an immediate end to the war. Southerners rejoiced. The Charleston Mercury exulted that a Democratic victory in November–just two months away at that point–“must lead to peace and our independence . . . if . . . we hold our own and prevent military success by our foes.”

Hat Tip to

Posted by Ted on 02/16/04 8:12 PM | Link

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Iraqi Gallantry

The Iraqi resistance is all but finished. Now the attackers are foreign nationals, al Qaeda types. Their targets are not Americans any more. Not that they wouldn’t mind attacking Americans, but the Americans are a nasty target to take on. Attacking Americans can and does get the attackers killed.

Now they are going after the Iraqis. They are doing whatever they can to prevent a peaceful democratic Iraq from emerging. To their credit, the Iraqi’s are making a valiant stand. The recent attack in Fallujah illustrates this brilliantly. Here’s a report from the battle.

Officers from the 82nd Airborne Division stationed a 10-minute drive away could hear the battle clearly. They offered help but the Hammad said it wasn't needed. The Americans did provide additional ammunition and weapons, including light machine guns. After the battle, soldiers at the civil defense base proudly displayed a light machine gun and a pair of rocket propelled grenade launchers they had captured from the attackers.

That when dying and bleeding, beset by the flower of terrorism, with pistol to set against automatic rifle and grenade, the Iraqi police did not ask for help from 82nd Airborne. They asked for ammunition.

From The Belmont Club

How much more can you ask of a people? Gallantry like this tells me there is hope for Iraq. This may paradoxically help bind Iraq together.

As one blogger observed, "We've already won in Iraq. The rest is just taking out the garbage - and shooting it."

Posted by Ted on 02/15/04 9:00 PM | Link

The cold won't let go

The cold just hangs on. I’m ready for spring. I’m tired of putting on all those clothes to go jogging at 0525 each morning.

I’ve discovered my body was made for the heat. It has to get above 95° before I get uncomfortable. Tonight it’s supposed to go down to 11°. That means I’ll probably have to put on almost ALL my jogging clothes tomorrow morning.

Our programmable thermostat drops the temperature at night and during the day, when we’re at work. In spite of that, our January gas bill was over $350.

So tell me why global warming is bad.

Posted by Ted on 02/15/04 5:40 PM | Link

Sunday Church Service

We attended church this morning. We have been going to the same church for a while as the pastor is doing a series on the Sermon on the Mount. We’d like to hear the whole series.

I like to arrive early. They publish in the bulletin the scripture they will cover and I like to read it before service starts. That way, when they read it aloud I can better follow along in my mind.

The pastor is expecting to have surgery this week. He suffers from constrained blood flow in his legs. One leg in particular seems to be the worst. It causes him severe pain. Since his recent arrival to Vineland, he as had some difficulty getting the doctor to recommend surgery. He looked like he was in pain today.

They will do a bypass in his leg. He has had this done before and knows what to expect. The only use a local anesthetic. They keep him for 24 hours because he is on blood thinners and they want to make sure he doesn’t start bleeding. His cardiologist checked him out and told him everything is fine including his previous heart attack. The pastor replied, “What heart attack?” It seems he’s had a heart attack in the last two years, but never knew it. That’s a little scary.

Here’s the scripture the pastor covered this morning.

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-2; 17-20

The pastor said that many Christians claim to be not under the law but under Grace. They ignore the Old Testament and many times just pick out the parts of the New Testament that they like.

He mentioned two competing ideas are Relativism and Legalists. Relativism says that we each make up or own morality. The serial killer is a relativist. He makes up the morality that it is OK to kill.

The Legalists on the other hand have very detailed rules. It is almost like an IRS rulebook. These laws go far beyond God’s law.

He said God’s moral law remains in effect. Keeping the law will not make you righteous. However, if you are righteous, you will keep the law. To say we are not under the law, but under grace is hypocritical. We obey the law because we desire to obey Him (Christ).

One thing I like about his pastor is his punctuality. Under his guidance, the service runs like clockwork.

My only complaint is, now that I’m summarizing this, I don’t know which laws he said to follow. One of the other people said it is the Ten Commandments. However, I’m not sure that’s Christ's point.

Posted by Ted on 02/15/04 4:46 PM | Link

Saturday, February 14, 2004

More on Bush as a Jet Jockey

The recent brouhaha about Bush’s ANG experience has made me realize his talents. The military didn’t just let anyone strap on an F-102. The F-102 Delta Dagger entered service in 1956 with a price tag of $1,184,000. That is over $7,650,000 in 2002 dollars.

On top of that, the F-102 was a difficult airplane to fly. With a gross weight of 32,000 Lbs and an engine developing only 16,000 Lbs of thrust, the aircraft was underpowered. This reduces your margin of error and makes if much more likely that a mistake with cost you dearly.

A few years later the aircraft was redesigned, given a bigger engine and called the F-106. The F-106 grossed out at 38,000 Lbs and its engine provided 24,500 Lbs of thrust. That gave a much better power to weight ratio.

For those poor deluded souls that think the President’s brain is not up to snuff, look at the facts. The man was a fighter jock in a difficult to fly aircraft and he never bent an airframe. The man is also a Harvard graduate with an MBA. Both achievements require no small amount of brainpower.

But you are free to ignore the evidence and believe differently.

Posted by Ted on 02/14/04 8:34 PM | Link

GPS Guided Artillery Shells

The U.S. Army is buying 183 155mm Excalibur artillery shells in the next year. These GPS guided shells have a range of fifty kilometers. The GPS guidance system will put them within 30 feet of target coordinates.

This is the first production batch of shells, and each one will cost $93,000. As quantities increase, the price is supposed to come down to $33,000 and, eventually, $10,000 per shell.

The first version will be a high explosive shell. Other versions will carry cluster bombs or anti-tank weapons. The long range and accuracy of the shell enables artillery units to cover a wider area and deliver accurate fire no matter what the range.

Previously, the longer the range, the less accurate fire was. American fire control systems have, for the last seventy years, been capable to coordinating all guns within range on one target. With the Excalibur shell, a massive amount of highly accurate fire can be concentrated on one target within minutes. Now, no matter where an enemy force shows up unexpectedly, American troops can rain down a devastating amount of firepower to defend themselves.


Posted by Ted on 02/14/04 4:49 PM | Link


I have to hand it to the President. The man is one shrewd card player. He lets the opposition be their own worst enemy. This thing about his time in the ANG has been rather entertaining. First, he gave them just enough that he looked like he might be hiding something.

This only enraged the Democrats. The press rose to the bait like sharks to a blood scent. Then as everything reaches a fever pitch, he releases the whole enchilada. Now it becomes as Shakespeare said, “a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Mohammad Ali called it “rope-a-dope.”

I love it! The true Bush haters will persist. They have gone too far down this emotional road to turn around and recover their sanity. They will persist and look more and more like the fools they are. As this realization slowly sinks in, they will blame Bush for their own stupidity and hate him even more. They will become victims of Charles Krauthammer’s Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by Ted on 02/14/04 4:28 PM | Link

A Valentine to our Troops

I stumbled across this page and thought I share it with you. It is a Valentine’s Day message to out brave heroic troops. On a daily basis, they do what we cannot and deserve all our gratitude and prayers. Click here to see it.

Posted by Ted on 02/14/04 4:12 PM | Link

The Automotive Wars

January 2003 I purchased a 1998 Honda Accord EX with 90,000 miles on it. I have owned a few Honda’s, I like how they handle, and they seem to need low maintenance.

About three months ago, it didn’t always crank, when I went to start it. It was an intermittent failure, but eventually the problem was diagnosed as a defective starter. That cost me $500 plus to have it repaired.

Two weeks ago, I took it in for its 105,000-mile service. That’s a big one and it was in excess of $800. They replaced the timing belt, all belts, new water pump, etc. The goal is to replace these items before they fail and thus give one a higher reliability. It’s called preventative maintenance.

Last week I was driving home, when the “Check Engine” light came on. I took it down to have them plug their computer into it. They tell me it needs some evaporative device for the emissions system. They would have to order the part. When it comes in, it will run me another $500 plus.

The car runs fine; I’m told it just won’t pass inspection. Well, inspection isn’t due until April, so I’m going to wait a bit on this one. I’m very disappointed in these needed repairs. I had anticipated better reliability.


Posted by Ted on 02/14/04 10:47 AM | Link

Friday, February 13, 2004

Why no attack?

Charles Krauthammer wonders aloud, why has al Qaeda not attacked us? Right after 9/11, everyone thought another attack was imminent. There’s that word again, only EVERYONE thought an attack was coming.

It’s been almost 2 ½ years since 9/11 and we haven’t had so much as a car bomb. This question is the elephant standing in the corner that no one wants to acknowledge.

Is it that Bush’s war on terror have so disrupted the terrorist they are incapable of attacking? Afghanistan is no longer sanctuary to al Qaeda and their allies the Taliban. The Taliban try to counter attack, but they have been reduced to random terrorism. They cannot mount any kind of meaningful military action. They are kaput.

Bush’s team has killed or captured two-thirds of the al Qaeda leadership. That’s a very big hit. Imagine if two-thirds of congress had been killed or captured by an enemy. UBL lives in a cave and can only communicate via messenger. He dares not use a satellite phone, as US troops will be on his position in a heartbeat.

So let’s recognize the elephant in the corner and ask, why have we not been attacked?

Posted by Ted on 02/13/04 10:03 PM | Link

John Kerry Supporter of the Day

As you can see, I put a link to Bush's web site on my Blog. I went to John Kerry's web site to do the same thing, but they are not as internet savvy as the Bush people. They don't give you a script you can insert into your site, like Bush does.

But I did find this picture. Kerry calls him his supporter of the day. Have you seen a more sour continence. This man is not happy. You would think that since here's doing what he wants to do and he has been distinguished as the supporter of the day that he'd be happy. Most people make a big smile, when they get their picture taken. If this guy is typical of Kerry's campaign, it must be a real fun place to work.

Posted by Ted on 02/13/04 8:48 PM | Link

Market Report

The market was down today, but I escaped unscathed. I about broke even today. I had two buy orders kick in: ACH at $77.90 and FDG at $38.00. I was stopped out of four positions. I sold KOSP with a 25% profit, MATR with a 3.5% profit, PD with a 2.5% profit and PDII with a 3% loss.

I’m now running my trades with tight stop loss orders. I used to trade, swinging for the fences. Now I’m just trying to make base hits and prevent the double play. If I can hold a stock for a few days and make a 10% profit, that's not too bad, is it? In spite of the market being down this week, I’m made a little money.

Posted by Ted on 02/13/04 8:30 PM | Link

Bush's Plane

They say you can always tell a fighter pilot, you just can't tell him much. Here's a picture of the aircraft Bush flew while in the ANG. It was a Convair F-102A of which 875 where built at a cost of $1,184,000 each.

It had a single Pratt & Whitney J57 engine with 16,000 Lbs of thrust with afterburner. It had a cruising speed of 600 mph, a top speed of 810 mph and a range of 1,000 miles. It was an interceptor built to counter Soviet bombers should they attack the United States.

Bush has released all his military papers. All of Bush's papers rate him as a pilot from excellent to outstanding.

I'm sure the Bush haters will still continue on. My advice to them is, get counseling. You need it.

Posted by Ted on 02/13/04 8:20 PM | Link

A soldier writes home

I am a soldier who is deployed overseas, and I would like to thank the people who have put so much time and effort into the Hometown Proud calender. I can safely speak on behalf of my fellow soldiers when I say that it is quite appreciated. I'd [also] like to comment on the current situation in Iraq. Everyone is aware that David Kay's report indicated that stockpiles of WMD have not yet been found in Iraq. Few people seem to be aware that the very same report showed that the WMD programs were in place, and that David Kay said that he felt they might have been even more dangerous then we originally thought.

I will be the first to celebrate if future investigations prove that all of Saddam's secret labs were dedicated to finding the cure to cancer, but for some reason, I doubt that will happen. Saddam was a dangerous man. We are all better off with him behind bars. I have personally seen some of the atrocities he committed on his own people. I don't think that there is very much that could convince me that we are doing the wrong thing in Iraq.

Last year at this time, if an Iraqi spoke openly about their government, they would have their tongue cut out, or worse. This year, they are publicly gathering to debate the future of their country. If you could be here to feel the rush of excitement, and the joy for freedom that a culture feels when it is pulled out from the oppression of a brutal madman, then you might understand how important this is. Things probably won't go perfectly in Iraq. They definitely live in a dangerous neighborhood. But to the people here, the important thing is that they have a chance. It's a chance that they never really expected to get, and only hoped for in their wildest dreams.

Trust me when I say that witnessing the realization of that chance is better then any Fourth of July barbecue I have ever been at back in the States.

SPC Dan Franck

Posted by Ted on 02/13/04 11:30 AM | Link

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Mixed day in the market

Today wasn’t too bad for me. My portfolio was up about 1%. My ESMC was stopped out today with 12% gain. My buy order on FBST kicked in and at one point, I had as much as a 10% profit in the stock. However, it couldn’t hold and I wound up with a 3% loss for the day in that stock. I put a stop on the stock tonight at $7.75 – a nickel under its closing price.

Posted by Ted on 02/12/04 8:55 PM | Link

The truth is so hard to find

In a soon t be released book In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat by Rick Atkinson we learn some surprising things about the Iraq war. The US military was surprised at how quickly the Iraqi military collapsed. They never really put up a good defense.

Part of the reason is that Saddam never really thought the US would invade Iraq. He, like most Arabs, thought the US was too averse to taking casualties to really go to war. So he never really prepared. In addition, he thought any US invasion would come through Jordan.

Just prior to the war, the US sent a wave of phone calls to selected Iraqi officials. Unfortunately, the callers spoke such good Arabic; the officials did not believe they were Americans. They thought it was a loyalty test by Saddam.

They turned off their phones, which made it harder for them to communicate with each prior to the start of the war.

Posted by Ted on 02/12/04 7:59 PM | Link

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Is experience the best teacher?

John Kerry seems to be trying to implying, that since he served as a Lieutenant in Vietnam that qualifies him to be President. Kerry’s seems to have over learned the lessons of Vietnam. He seems be so against using troops that he’d do anything to avoid it.

That reminds me of a cat that sat on a hot stove. The cat never did that again. Of course, the cat never sat on a cold stove either.

That seems to be one of the Senator's problems.

Posted by Ted on 02/11/04 9:48 PM | Link

Nice day in the market

The market was VERY good to me today. My portfolio was up almost 4%. A couple of weeks ago, my total stash was up about 7% for the year. Then all came back down. I wound up almost right back where I started from at the beginning of the year.

I’m trying something a little different this time. My Daily Graphs Online allows me to look at stock graphs throughout the trading day. What I’m starting to do is each evening to review each of my positions using the “Intraday” graph.

This seems to allow me to see short-term trend lines. I’m starting to use this to decide where to put my stops to get out either with a profit or a very small loss.

For example. My buy order on PDII kicked in today. I was filled at $30.63. But when I look at the intraday graph, I see the stock peaked at $31.91 at 12:30. The rest of the day, it headed down on heavy volume. I’m putting a stop on that stock at $29.90. It will like trigger and I’ll be out with a 2.4% loss.

My ESMC was up dramatically today. However, it was up 25% at 10:00. Then it dropped back quickly and traded between $9.50 and $10.00 on very heavy volume the rest of the day. It’s unclear where it is headed, but I put a stop on it at $9.35.

We’ll see if this strategy proves profitable.

Posted by Ted on 02/11/04 9:13 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

John Kerry's Legacy

In his 1985 memoir about the war, Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap wrote that if it weren't for organizations like Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S. - according to Fox News Channel war historian Oliver North.

That's why, he predicted on Tuesday, the Vietnam War issue "is going to blow up in Kerry's face."

"People are going to remember Gen. Giap saying if it weren't for these guys [Kerry's group], we would have lost," North told radio host Sean Hannity.

"The Vietnam Veterans Against the War encouraged people to desert, encouraged people to mutiny - some used what they wrote to justify fragging officers," noted the former Marine lieutenant colonel, who earned two purple hearts in Vietnam.

"John Kerry has blood of American soldiers on his hands," North said.

Posted by Ted on 02/11/04 8:21 PM | Link

Good run this morning

I ran 3 ¼ miles this morning. I know that’s not much to REAL runners, but it’s probably as long as I can run on any weekday. If I make my plan, I’ll get 14 miles for the week. My goal is to get to 15 miles a week.

Posted by Ted on 02/11/04 6:44 AM | Link

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Why university professors tend to be liberal

"We try to hire the best, smartest people available," Brandon, of Duke Univesity, said of his philosophy hires. "If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.

"Mill's analysis may go some way towards explaining the power of the Republican party in our society and the relative scarcity of Republicans in academia. Players in the NBA tend to be taller than average. There is a good reason for this. Members of academia tend to be a bit smarter than average. There is a good reason for this too."

Let me make a couple of points.
1) To say all stupid people are conservative does not logically conclude that all conservative people are stupid.

2) Just because John Stuart Mill said it, doesn’t ensure that it is true. Well that MAY have been the case in Mill’s time, today the situation is reversed. Stupid people are generally liberal. I cite Algore’s recent mental breakdown.

3) Do these people who quote Mill agree with EVERYTHING he wrote?

Here’s something else Mill concluded:
John Stuart Mill had always favoured the secret ballot but Harriet Taylor disagreed and eventually changed her husband's views on the subject. Taylor feared that people would vote in their own self-interest rather than for the good of the community. She believed that if people voted in public, the exposure of their selfishness would shame them in voting for the candidate who put forward policies that were in the interests of the majority.

I wonder if the good Professor Brandon would agree to that too?

Posted by Ted on 02/10/04 9:34 PM | Link

What Media Bias?

Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections.

They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are "conservative positions."

They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don't have a negative affect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories.

More systematically, the press believes that fluid narratives in coverage are better than static storylines; that new things are more interesting than old things; that close races are preferable to loose ones; and that incumbents are destined for dethroning, somehow.

The press, by and large, does not accept President Bush's justifications for the Iraq war -- in any of its WMD, imminent threat, or evil-doer formulations. It does not understand how educated, sensible people could possibly be wary of multilateral institutions or friendly, sophisticated European allies.

It does not accept the proposition that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy by stimulating summer spending.

Posted by Ted on 02/10/04 12:30 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Bush follows in Clinton's footsteps

Okay, well, outtakes: went back to the microfilm today to February 1998, when the Clinton adminstration was making the case for attacking Iraq. How things change. Clinton was arguing that Saddam not only had WMD, but that one day he might want to make more WMD, and this wasn’t acceptable. Interesting to read between the lines - the Clinton administration seemed to be arguing that the potential for future production was itself a valid reason to strike. Military force is never "the first answer,' Clinton said, “but sometimes it’s the only answer.” “If Saddam isn’t stopped now,” the AP story said, quoting Clinton,“’He will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And someday, someway, I guarantee you, he’ll use that arsenal.’” Thus spake Clinton in 1998. He went on to note that the strikes planned could not possibly destroy Saddam’s arsenal, because A) they didn’t know where everything was, and B) they didn’t want to kill Iraqis by unleashing clouds of toxins. And it gets better: a sidebar noted that this war plan – Desert Thunder – had been prepared weeks before, in case Saddam stiffed in the inspectors.

Bill Clinton had a plan to go to war before the crisis flared! What does that tell you? Obviously, he was looking for any excuse! Halliburton! We all know about the ties between Clinton and Halliburton – he gave them a sweet no-bid contract after his Balkans war, you know.

Anyway: it's deja vu all over again. You want to talk imminence? WMD? Democratic concern and conviction? Go back to the papers of 1998; it’s all there, right down to the terrorist links: Hezbollah, for example, swears it will strike Israel if the US attacks Iraq. Bob Dole was quoted as supporing the strikes but urging Clinton to seek Congressional Authorization.
James Lileks

Posted by Ted on 02/10/04 12:28 PM | Link

Mild this morning

It was 36° at 0520 when I went jogging this morning. After the single digits, teens, and twenties with wind, it seemed almost mild. It’s a layer of clothes I don’t have to wear and thus it’s easier to run.

Posted by Ted on 02/10/04 6:36 AM | Link

Monday, February 9, 2004

Getting out in the nick of time

September 14th, 2003, a U.S. Air Force F-16 participating in an air show at Mountain Home, Idaho, crashed when the pilot misjudged a maneuver and crashed. This video shows how the aircraft crashed less than a second after the pilot bailed out.

Posted by Ted on 02/09/04 9:47 PM | Link

Good News

I got a call from a friend the other day. He and his wife are expecting their first baby in September.

Congratulations John and Jennifer!

My niece and her husbad are expecting their first about the end of this month. It's going to be a girl and this technology is NEVER wrong about those things.

Good luck Suzanne and John.

Hmmm. Is is just me or does it seem there are too many Johns in the world?

Posted by Ted on 02/09/04 9:26 PM | Link

Did you know Bush as an MBA?

I’ve often said that George Bush is not a man I would want to sit across from at a poker table. Now Thomas Lifson makes my point much more forcefully than I can. Here is a synopsis of what he says. But click on the link above and read the whole article.

Did you know that Bush is the first president to hold a Masters of Business Administration? Bush's is from the Harvard Business School.

The very first lesson drummed-into new students, is there is never perfect information, and decisions often have to be made even when you’d really prefer to know a lot more.

Another basic lesson young George W. Bush learned in the classrooms of Harvard Business School is that different managers have legitimately different styles of operating as executives. George W. Bush is a natural delegator, an executive who seeks the best possible people to work for him, instills loyalty (by practicing it himself), and then gives them plenty of room to operate.

Also at Harvard, a subculture of poker exists. Poker is a natural fit with the inclinations, talents, and skills of many future entrepreneurs. A close reading of the odds, combined with the ability to out-psych the opposition, leads to capital accumulation in many fields, aside from the poker table.

By reputation, the President was a very avid and skillful poker player when he was an MBA student. One of the secrets of a successful poker player is to encourage your opponent to bet a lot of chips on a losing hand. This is a pattern of behavior one sees repeatedly in George W. Bush’s political career. He is not one to loudly proclaim his strengths at the beginning of a campaign. Instead, he bides his time, does not respond forcefully, a least at first, to critiques from his enemies, no matter how loud and annoying they get. If anything, this apparent passivity only goads them into making their case more emphatically.

Only time will tell, whether Saddam ever had any WMDs. Their non-existence has not been proven. Only time will tell whether or not Osama bin Laden (or his corpse) will be taken into custody by American Troops. Only time will tell whether or not Iraq will continue to make progress toward a transition toward a peaceful democratic government. George W. Bush knows much more information about these topics than his domestic political opponents do. At the moment, they are betting a lot of their chips on one side of these questions.

Posted by Ted on 02/09/04 8:49 PM | Link

Algore Looses It

Did you see Gore yesterday? The man has become unhinged. And this is a man that very nearly became president of the United States. On Fox News tonight Mort Kondracke said, “We can thank almighty God that Gore never became president.”

Charles Krauthammer coined a phrase for this back in December of 2003. He called it Bush Derangement Syndrome. He defined Bush Derangement Syndrome as the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.

Democrats seem the most vulnerable to this disease and it looks like Algore has become its latest victim.

This could be a worry for the Democrats. Is Kerry immune? What do they do if he becomes infected?

It is obvious that George Bush is using a very subtle psychological warfare on the Democrats. Can any of them stay healthy long enough to make it through the election?

Posted by Ted on 02/09/04 7:46 PM | Link

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Who's Afraid of the Deficit?

A blogger makes an interesting observation. Even though the Federal deficit is heading for all time highs (or is it lows?), long-term bond prices have not moved. Since the Federal, government has to borrow money it doesn’t have to spend it, and deficits are looking pretty big from here on out, one would think bond prices would be dropping like a shot. As interest rates move up, bondholders demand a larger discount to purchase bonds.

But that has not happened. The writer opines, and with some pretty good arguments, that what worries bondholders is not the federal deficit, but inflation. Inflation degrades the bondholders’ earnings. Since inflation looks tame for the foreseeable future, bondholders are content to not ask for large discounts.

Posted by Ted on 02/08/04 4:53 PM | Link

Guilty as Charged

I have been accused of being a Bush supporter. Well I admit it, I am. Being a Bush supporter doesn’t mean I think he is perfect. He is not.

He spends much more than I like. I disagree with the new Medicare drug benefit, his signing of the politician protection act, his signing of the farm bill, and his implementation of steel tariffs. There are probably more items that I would disagree with, but that’s all I can think of for the moment.

What I do agree with him on is his cutting taxes and his war on terror. I think he did the right thing in Afghanistan and the right thing in Iraq. Have we made mistakes? Absolutely. We will continue to make mistakes.

I am concerned that he seems a bit defensive about some things. I’d like to see him be more forthcoming.

One might ask, would I vote for someone else? That answer is yes, but what other choices do I have? First it looked like Dean was a possible other choice, but he seems to be crashing and burning. Now the liberal senator from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts seems to be the one opposing Bush this fall.

When I consider my choice between Kerry and Bush, it’s a no brainer. Kerry would spend even more than Bush and raise taxes to boot. Kerry would not be strong on defense. That is very worrisome. The very first duty of government is to protect is citizens.

Kerry will be a difficult opponent. He has positions on every side of every issue.

I ask myself, which candidate would Saddam have voted for? Which one would UBL vote for?

Posted by Ted on 02/08/04 4:26 PM | Link

Sunday's Sermon

The pastor this morning continued his series on the Sermon on the Mount. Here are the passages from the Bible he covered.

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:1-2; 13-16

He said that Christians are virtually indistinguishable from non-Christians. He further stated that 25% of the US claim to be Christian, yet they have the same divorces rates and teenage pregnancy rates as the general population.

He said that Christians are to be a preserning influence on the world. Salt is a preservative. He related how the rise of Christianity prevented England from going through the same chaos that enveloped France during the French Revolution.

He told a story of two men that worked together for five years. One decided to ask the other to an event his church was holding. Upon his asking the other man responded, “Are you a Christian? So am I.” Here were two men working side-by-side and neither one knew the other was a Christian.

I observe from the Biblical passage that it emphasizes deeds not words. Although the pastor did recommend some things to do, he went a little too fast for me to make notes on my Palm Pilot. Writing on the Palm is a slow process. From memory, I recall the said do not laugh at dirty jokes, do not listen to gossip. In retrospect, I think it would have been good for him give more details on WHAT to do.

Posted by Ted on 02/08/04 4:04 PM | Link

Valentine's Day

The origins of Valentine’s Day are not known with certainty. Here is one version.

Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.

The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feast. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.

Posted by Ted on 02/08/04 1:55 PM | Link

Letter to the Editor

A recent letter on the editorial page of our local paper prompted me to respond. The letter writer implored the US to get out of Iraq and turn it over to the UN. Here is my response. It’ll probably be published in a couple of days. It’s rather long, but I couldn’t figure out how to shorten it. They’ll probably shorten it for me.

A recent letter on this page urged the US to retreat from Iraq and abandon it to the UN. The writer claimed 10,000 Iraqi’s had died since the start of the war. No one knows the real count, but let’s pretend it is true. Under Saddam’s rule, 5,000 children were dying a month. It’s been roughly 10 months since the end of the war. One can logically conclude that the US led invasion has saved 40,000 Iraqi lives. Now the rape rooms are closed, the children are released from prison, mass graves are no longer filled, and Iraqi’s are no longer tortured. Is all this not a good thing?

The writer falsely implies Bush said Saddam was an “imminent” threat. Here’s what Bush really said, “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”

Does this mean the writer lied?

David Kay said he believes we will find no WMD. However, Dr. Kay also stated that Iraq was an even greater danger to the US than we realized. He went on to say the war was completely justified.

I urge Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, to tell President Bush to keep the faith. He did the right thing.

I have come to believe that the Iraq project may be the noblest enterprise undertaken by the US since WWII. It is a test to see if democracy can survive in the Middle East. It is the biggest threat the terrorists have faced. If Iraq can become a free thriving democracy, the roots of terrorism will wither and die.

Let me end by a quote from an Iraqi, “But take courage brave America, the courage that comes from conviction that you are in the right; that your cause is noble and just…And finally, a special salute to Dear President Bush, the man who dared.”

Posted by Ted on 02/08/04 1:41 PM | Link

Potluck Supper

Last night Karol and I went to a potluck supper at one of the churches we attend. I over ate. There was just too much good food.

We sat next to the pastor and his wife. This is the pastor’s second wife. His first wife of 40 years died about two years ago.

I asked him how he and his current wife met. He was in New Hampshire and she was in Baltimore. He said he met her over the internet through

He said the give you a detailed questionnaire that is a personality test. They charge $30 a month. Then they give you a person they say matches your personality. In his case, they said it was a Pamela in Baltimore. Then they gave him a list of questions that he could pick and they would be relayed to her. She could do the same.

All the while is acting as a firewall between the two. Even when they started emailing each other, it was through Eventually he said he’d like to meet her. She agreed, so he picked a spot halfway between this location and hers. The rented two rooms at a hotel and they met and spent the day together. They were married a few months later.

He sounds like a satisfied customer.

Posted by Ted on 02/08/04 1:33 PM | Link

Back Up at Last

It’s good to have the site back up and my email working again. I believe we really are our own worst enemy. I simply forgot to renew me URL. Renewing was easy. Getting it back to being available just took time.

My advice is, pay your internet bills in a timely manner. It’ll make your life a lot less complicated.

Posted by Ted on 02/08/04 12:46 PM | Link

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Why should we listen to Athiests?

I don’t see how an atheist can oppose the war in Iraq. An atheist denies God’s existence and claims that man is a product of evolution.

Since man is the product of random events and there is no God to endow man with anything special, then no logical conclusion can be made that man is any more valuable than a colony of ants. Emotionally we may feel we are special, but different doesn’t mean special.

To the atheist, man is born, lives, and dies in a cold pitiless universe. Like a small electrical spark, exist for a brief moment and are gone. Our lives are completely without meaning.

The universe cares not, whether we live or die. It is indifferent to whether we invade Iraq, promote human rights, or torture our enemies.

All protests by atheists for any claims to what is right or wrong, are only emotional. They cannot be logically deduced.

If you feel this is an incorrect conclusion, state the logical argument against it.

Posted by Ted on 02/05/04 9:14 PM | Link

What Keeps Rummy Awake at Night

During his Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked if he could name "one thing" that "kept him up at night" more than any other specific threat, terror, or trouble the Pentagon confronts.

Rumsfeld's answer was "intelligence."

Even if freighted with James Bond associations, as answers go, "intelligence" doesn't have a lot of Hollywood impact. The tv squawk shows didn't pick it up. If they noticed, Oprah and Geraldo yawned.

But Rumsfeld's response fingered what is the major American foreign policy and defense weakness, even in this era of extraordinary American economic, political, and military strength.

Faulty and inadequate intelligence is not merely a source of current SecDef sleep deprivation, it has loomed large in real world nightmares, from Pearl Harbor to Korea to Vietnam to the USS Cole disaster.

America's "intelligence vulnerability" is intricate, detailed, and complex. The penalty for intelligence failure, however, is often cruelly simple. In the defense business what you don't know will kill you. To draw an even finer bead, what you know but understand poorly, or what you know well but fail to use decisively, will also cost you in blood, money, and political capital.

Here's a quick sketch of Rumsfeld's worry. "Intelligence" isn't simply data, it's a dynamic process that includes: (1) creating and maintaining collection capabilities (with assets from human spies to spy satellites); (2) retrieving the info in a way that's timely and secure; (3) assessing source reliability; (4) assimilating often contradictory information into a meaningful "pattern," which means interpretation that is more art than science; and (5) convincing decision makers (whose minds may be less than open) to act on the assessments.

Austin Bay

Posted by Ted on 02/05/04 8:57 PM | Link

Captain Picard stabs Trekkies in the back

Actor Patrick Stewart - better known as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" - says he thinks humans have no business traveling in space.

"I'm a bit of a wet blanket when it comes to the whole business of space travel," Stewart said in an interview posted on the BBC Web site.

The man whose mission was to "explore strange new worlds" as the captain of the starship Enterprise from 1987 to 1994 thinks space exploration is the height of "arrogance."

"I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets," Stewart said.

This just goes to show you, never let an actor speak without a script. They have no well thought-out ideas of their own.

Posted by Ted on 02/05/04 8:45 PM | Link

The Demcratic Primary

Here's an update on the Iowa Electronic Market and how they rate the current
Democratic contenders.  Kerry seems to have a commanding lead.

Kerry $0.839
Edwards $0.102
Dean $0.020
Clark $0.016
Clinton $0.012
Gephardt $0.002
Lieberman $0.002
Rest of Field $0.002
Posted by Ted on 02/05/04 8:37 PM | Link

Baby Signing

I heard about a program called “Baby Signing” on the radio tonight. Parents teach sign language to their babies, when they are too young to talk. This allows the baby to communicate with his/her parents and instead of just screaming, he/she can tell the parents what he needs. According to the person on the radio, babies that are raised this way present a lot fewer problems to parents and learn to speak more quickly. Here’s what one parent says.

My wife and I started to sign to our daughter at 3 months, Milk, Dog, Mom, Dad, Bright Light, and sleep. At 6 months old she was asking to be nursed without crying, at 8 months old she was communicating with us for food, drink, play, naps, diaper change, dog etc.. At one year, she was using over 50 signs. Now that she is two, she speaks like a 6 year old, complete sentences, coherent conversations about a single topic, and is beginning to work out written words.

Stick with the signing in the book for 3-4 months and watch your child's vocabulary explode before she's one.

We also believe we avoided a very frustrating time for both our daughter and us by being able to communicate with her so early and telling us her needs and wants.

Posted by Ted on 02/05/04 8:06 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

"Imminent" Threat

Some people are saying Bush lied when he said that Iraq was an imminent threat. Here’s what he said during his 2003 SOTU.

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

You may notice that Bush said we should act BEFORE the threat becomes imminent.

We did.

Posted by Ted on 02/05/04 7:38 PM | Link

An Iraqi Comes to His Senses

Oh my god what a fool I was. Yes, I realized this just lately, although I had my doubts but I was blinded by some facts and now thanks to some good friends of the Iraqi people, I’ve opened my eyes to see the naked truth.

For the 1st time I realize what a big lie I’ve been living in for the last 9 months and the worst thing is that it was me who made that lie and believed it so much that I accepted no other opinion. The whole world was telling me to wake up and get real, have some brains and try to find the truth. They offered me several evidences that leave no doubt that I was living a lie, but I was so stubborn and I apologize for it.

For 9 months I’ve thought that things were OK, that America did the right thing, we got rid of S.H. and his killing machine, that I’m happy, free and dreaming of a better future.

Thanks to all the true friends of the Iraqi people, I began to have some doubts and began asking myself real questions and day by day my doubts grew bigger and bigger then I tried to do what I was afraid of during these 9 months. I decided to re-evaluate everything I see and compare it with what it was before the war.

So, one morning I walked down the streets as usual heading to the hospital were I work, but this time my eyes were open and I was very attentive to all that surrounds me:

-The 1st thing that struck me was that all the pictures of Saddam were gone, now of course I’ve noticed that before but I didn’t think about it seriously, I mean NOBODY asked me whether I liked it or not, besides who did this? Was it the Iraqi people? Impossible, Iraqis loved Saddam (the whole media can’t lie) was it the Americans? I think if they had spent their time removing his pictures they would’ve been in Nassireah right now. So I came to the conclusion that there must be a conspiracy behind this, and don’t ask me what conspiracy and who conspired and why, it’s a conspiracy and that’s it.

-The second thing that annoyed me was that NO policeman or security guard or American soldier bothered to ask me where I was heading, where did I came from and didn’t even ask for an I.D. I checked my wallet and I found that I wasn’t carrying any, and in fact I haven’t carried an I.D. since the 9th of April, while prior to that I used to carry 2 or 3 I.D. cards (including the military service certificate) and still I would check my wallet every now and then to make sure that I haven’t forgot or lost any on the road. I mean seriously what is a man without an I.D.?

-Another distressing incident came as I went to buy a newspaper, I found dozens of strange Iraqi newspapers and magazines and more foreign ones ( the total number of Iraqi newspapers till now is 132) instead of the 10 that were all owned by the government before the war, and I said ”what a mess! Who am I supposed to believe now? How can I tell which one of these is telling the truth?” and only for my further disappointment I read a title of the new Iraqi army celebrating the graduation of 700 volunteers! Now what? Aren’t we going to fight anymore (I mean a real war)? What a waste, we had only the chance to go through 3 major wars in the last 23 years and there are still many enemies that we haven’t taught a lesson yet.

-Another depressing news was that there will be no more public executions, what am I talking about, there will be no executions at all, can you believe it? There are no more action or amusement!

-Finally I got to work and there I didn’t find a large difference although I missed those sensational moments when a child dies simply due to the lack of cheap medications and his mother’s cries and the reporters from all over the world who were always around would rush in to get a good shot and make a smashing report about the effects of the sanctions. Things are now very boring, we just treat people and a lot of them even get well!

-Then a friend of mine told me that it was payment day and when I got my salary, they gave me these strange banknotes with no pictures of any Iraqi president. I remember well, and I said it here before, that my salary was around 17$ a month before the war. This time they gave me 200 thousand Iraqi Dinars which if divided by the current exchange rate (which is now 1330 ID for each US$) will be about 150 $ and what was worse is that they confirmed a raise has been approved to make that 300$ starting from the next month with possible raises in the future. And I saw clearly what that meant, they are bribing us! yes, I’m not an idiot! they’re going to steal our oil, and they can say they’re giving the money back to us and that they even assigned billions of dollars to build Iraq and push many countries to cut down the Iraqi debts, but WE are still the ones who are going to lose, and don’t ask me how, because I’ll be damned if I knew the answer.

-On the other hand before the war, Saddam gave us nearly nothing at even better times than these. Still he didn’t steal the oil, he kept the funds safe in his pocket.

And what if he used some to enjoy himself and his family? It’s his right by birth, and what if he made some gifts to the good friends of the Iraqi people like George Gallaway,Bernarde Merime or Jackie... Oops, sorry, the last one is just a rumor.

-And more and more, the long lines at the gas stations, the high prices for kerosiune are all gone and back to normal, and the only things that were left to remind of the (good old days) were the ruins and garbage here and there. But they were also(sadly) being, although slowely, removed and rebuilt . But then I heard an explosion and gave a sigh of relief and thanked my Muslim brothers “ at last, a sound from the past”

What an ignorant I was to think that it was OK and again thank you CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Mr. Dean, Mr. Cherac and our dear Arab and Muslim leaders for showing me the truth, and I’m not talking about the silly things I have mentioned. I’m talking about the most important fact:

You made me realize that freedom doesn’t worth waiting for hours to get 5 gallons of gasoline, and 10 hours of power shortage a day (even if it was temporarily). in fact you showed me that freedom means NOTHING to me. Thank you for showing me that I was born to be a slave and that I enjoyed getting down on my knees in front of my master whoever he was (and there was no one better than Saddam to bow to).

I loved kissing the ground he walks on, and I adored his way of insulting, raping, torturing and killing Iraqis everyday.

A friend has asked me never to use the 4 letter word (and it’s not my style to do so), sorry Scott but I can’t help not saying For all those who tried to show me how I should feel:

Even if I was wrong (and I'm sure I'M not)To hell with oil, to hell with power supply and F***YOU ALL. GWB MADE THE RIGHT DECISION AND AMERICA DID THE RIGHT THING AND WE ARE FREEEEEEEEEE!

-By Ali

Posted by Ted on 02/05/04 2:26 PM | Link

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Do You Support Our Troops?

Citizen Smash Speaks...
To be clear, I am not arguing that it is somehow unpatriotic or disloyal to speak out against a war that one feels is unjust. Indeed, if you strongly believe that a particular war (or war in general) is morally repugnant, then expressing your opposition is not just your right, but also your duty.

But if you truly “support the troops,” the proper time to express your opposition to the conflict is before the onset of hostilities. Because once the missiles start flying, your pubicly expressed dissent can and will be manipulated as propaganda by the enemy, and worse, can cause serious damage to the troops’ morale.

During my recent deployment to the Middle East, I received numerous letters and emails expressing support for our efforts, but not everyone was quite so positive. Some people actually wrote to tell me that they “supported me,” but went on to rant that I was merely a “pawn” in a game that I "couldn’t understand,” and other such patronizing nonsense. That’s the kind of "support" that I can do without, thank you very much.

It’s one thing to oppose the policy decisions that lead to conflict, or the administration that made those decisions – but it’s quite another thing to continue to undermine the war effort once the military is engaged. At that point, the surest path to peace is a swift victory.

I understand that one can still be a good citizen while expressing opposition to an ongoing conflict. It is possible to attend peaceful protests, to lobby the government to change its policy, and still remain safely within the realm of “loyal opposition.”

But if that is the path you choose, please don’t kid yourself that you are “supporting the troops.” The troops are committed to winning the war. If you don’t share that goal, then you are not, by definition, supporting them. You can still send them nice letters and care packages if you so desire, but that’s not really what “supporting the troops” means, is it?

Citizen Smash -

Posted by Ted on 02/04/04 10:25 PM | Link


But later reporting proved Bush wasn't AWOL. National Guard magazine said it best in its Jan. 2001 edition:

Bush also was accused of skirting the draft by joining the Texas Air Guard in 1968. He became an F-102 fighter pilot before being discharged as a first lieutenant in 1973. [Former National Guard Bureau historian retired Col. Michael] Doubler says it is unfair to criticize those who joined the Guard during the Vietnam War. "The government allowed it and in many ways encouraged it," he said "There were a lot of things the government did to authorize people to serve in places other than the front lines."

Bush's drill performance also stirred controversy during the campaign. Some reports charged that he was absent for a year. However, probably the most comprehensive media review of Bush's military records concluded that while he, "served irregularly after the spring of 1972 and got an expedited discharge, he did accumulate the days of service required for him for his ultimate honorable discharge." The review was done by, the online version of the magazine founded by the late John F. Kennedy Jr.

Guardsmen say Bush's service record is not unusual. "In any six-year time frame you probably can find some problems," says retired Rep. G.V. 'Sonny' Montgomery, D-Miss., founder of the House Guard and Reserve Caucus. "Just learning to fly the F-102 and not getting hurt and not hurting anybody is an accomplishment." Montgomery called Bush's election, "nothing but a plus for the Guard."

The New York Times also looked into the charge and found it lacked substance:
Two Democratic senators today called on Gov. George W. Bush to release his full military record to resolve doubts raised by a newspaper about whether he reported for required drills when he was in the Air National Guard in 1972 and 1973. But a review of records by The New York Times indicated that some of those concerns may be unfounded. The Times examined the record in response to a previous Boston Globe story.

Documents reviewed by The Times showed that Mr. Bush served in at least 9 of the 17 months in question... On Sept. 5, 1972, Mr. Bush asked his Texas Air National Guard superiors for assignment to the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery "for the months of September, October and November." Capt. Kenneth K. Lott, chief of the personnel branch of the 187th Tactical Recon Group, told the Texas commanders that training in September had already occurred but that more training was scheduled for Oct. 7 and 8 and Nov. 4 and 5. But Mr. Bartlett said Mr. Bush did not serve on those dates because he was involved in the Senate campaign, but he made up those dates later.

Colonel Turnipseed, who retired as a general, said in an interview that regulations allowed Guard members to miss duty as long as it was made up within the same quarter. Mr. Bartlett pointed to a document in Mr. Bush's military records that showed credit for four days of duty ending Nov. 29 and for eight days ending Dec. 14, 1972, and, after he moved back to Houston, on dates in January, April and May. The May dates correlated with orders sent to Mr. Bush at his Houston apartment on April 23, 1973, in which Sgt. Billy B. Lamar told Mr. Bush to report for active duty on May 1-3 and May 8-10. Another document showed that Mr. Bush served at various times from May 29, 1973, through July 30, 1973, a period of time questioned by The Globe.
Here's a link to the abstract of the NYT story. The text I provided came courtesy of

Even the Boston Globe's story admits Bush served more than the minimum time, and was a fine pilot:

Those who trained and flew with Bush, until he gave up flying in April 1972, said he was among the best pilots in the 111th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. In the 22-month period between the end of his flight training and his move to Alabama, Bush logged numerous hours of duty, well above the minimum requirements for so-called ''weekend warriors.''

Indeed, in the first four years of his six-year commitment, Bush spent the equivalent of 21 months on active duty, including 18 months in flight school. His Democratic opponent, Vice President Al Gore, who enlisted in the Army for two years and spent five months in Vietnam, logged only about a month more active service, since he won an early release from service.

Incidentally, Bush flew with the 111th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which was attached to the 147th Fighter Wing, based in Houston, Texas. While Bush's unit never got called to Vietnam, the 147th was. From 1968 through 1970, pilots from the 147th participated in operation "Palace Alert" and served in Southeast Asia during the height of the Vietnam War. The 147th came off runway alert on Jan. 1, 1970 to start a new mission of training all F-102 pilots in the United States for the Air National Guard.

Bush enlisted as an Airman Basic in the 147th Fighter-Interceptor Group at Ellington Air Force Base, Houston, on May 28, 1968 - at a time when the 147th was actively participating in combat in Vietnam. However, one can not train overnight to be a pilot. Bush completed basic flight training and then, from December 1969 through June 27, 1970, he was training full-time at Ellington to be an F-102 pilot.

Bush volunteered to serve in a unit at the very moment it was seeing combat in Vietnam, and only a restructuring of the unit's mission before he completed his flight training made it unlikely he would fly in combat. And he was never AWOL - he completed his required service and even served beyond the minimum.


Posted by Ted on 02/04/04 10:06 PM | Link

Smarter than the average bear

George Bush college classmate Clay Johnson recalled the time when he and George Bush were freshman pledges for the DKE fraternity. Upperclassmen were berating them as "the sorriest bunch of pledges that they had ever heard of," Mr. Johnson told PBS's "Frontline" in 2000:

Normally most pledge classes are very tight and very supportive of one another, and we were 50 individuals and were not interested in each other and there was no unity in our class. And they said it was really quite deplorable.

To make this point to us, they started calling on people to get up and name their fellow pledge members. And they called the first person, and he named four or five. And then he didn't know anybody else's name, and they told him what a sorry human being he was and how little he cared about his pledges. Then they called on somebody else and he named eight or ten but didn't know anybody else.

Anyway, the third or fourth person they called on was George. He got up and named all 50. There was this hush that fell over the room.

Mr. Bush went on to become the president of the fraternity. He didn't know just the names--classmates marvel about how he could sum up each person's essence with great insight and humor.


Posted by Ted on 02/04/04 6:54 AM | Link

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Sunday Sermon

On Sunday, the pastor’s sermon was about Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. As a refresher here are the relevant passages, known as the Beatitudes, he covered.

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The pastor said they show three things. They reveal Christ’s deity, they are a moral and ethical handbook for believers, and these principals are difficult for believers, but impossible for non-believers.

The pastor suggested that we should memorize them, know them by heart, and live them.

He likes to ask the question of his audience, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

Posted by Ted on 02/03/04 9:37 PM | Link

David Kay and Iraqi WMD

During my sojourn at the remote firebase, I watched some TV before turning in for the night. Much as I dislike CNN, they had an interview with David Kay.

I found Kay a delight to watch and listen to. The man is energetic and forthright. He comes across as an apolitical technician. He spoke about his failure to find WMD in Iraq. When Blitzer asked him if the war was justified in light of his findings, Kay responded, "Absolutely! We found Iraq to be an even greater danger than we originally thought."

He went on to highlight other US intelligence failures: Our underestimating Libra’s WMD & our intelligence failures during the Cuban missile crisis.

He said that during the Carter years human intelligence was de-emphasized in preference to using technology.

He also stated unequivocally that the CIA had NOT been pressured.

I’m sure the Democrats will use this to criticize the president. But what were our alternatives. Intelligence, like any other human endeavor, always has a margin of error to it. This means that we were likely to either over or under estimate Iraq’s danger. So which would you rather we do? Would you rather we error on the side of safety or danger? If you want us to get it perfect – well good luck.

From what I have heard from Kay’s report, the intelligence was wrong. But we still did the right thing.

One fallout of the war in Iraq is Libya’s surrender. We didn’t have to fire a shot. And what have we found? We found our intelligence on Libya had UNDERESTIMATED their weapons program.

Posted by Ted on 02/03/04 9:29 PM | Link

Monday, February 2, 2004


1. Before your next meeting, seminar, or conference call, prepare yourself by drawing a square. 5"x 5" is a good size. Divide the card into columns, five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:

* synergy
* strategic fit
* core competencies
* best practice
* bottom line
* revisit
* take that off-line
* 24/7
* out of the loop
* benchmark
* value-added
* pro-active
* win-win
* think outside the box
* fast track
* result-driven
* empower (or empowerment)
* knowledge base
* at the end of the day
* touch base
* mind-set
* client focus(ed)
* paradigm
* game plan
* leverage
and last but not least

3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout, "BULL****!"

Testimonials from satisfied "Bull**** Bingo" players:

"I had been in the meeting for only five minutes when I won."
Paul D., Caloundra

"My attention span at meetings has improved dramatically."
David D., Rockhampton

"The atmosphere was tense in the last process meeting as 14 of us waited for the fifth box."
Ben G., Sydney

"The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed 'BULL****!' for the third time in two hours."
Kathleen L., Canberra

Posted by Ted on 02/02/04 8:20 PM | Link