Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Story You Probably Never Heard

You may have seen this but if not it is worth the time to read.

After you read this, you will realize there is a Santa Claus (Bennett & Vivian Levin)

Here's a 'today' Yule story that occurred 3 weeks ago ~ AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.

It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops. "We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett. So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on December 3.

The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it. Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them. He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard. One car, the elegant Pennsylvania, carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D. C. for burial. "That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.

He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played. The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D. C. and Bethesda, in Maryland . "We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."

Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea. But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.

No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op"

And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.

The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.

Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train? The Liberty Limited.

Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D. C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.

Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.

A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.

And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees: From Woolrich, stadium blankets. From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. From Nikon, field glasses. From GEAR, down jackets.

There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member. The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.

Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day. "They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."

At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.

Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda. "The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."

The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."

It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love. "My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air."

Maybe it was hope.

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."

God bless the Levins.

And bless the troops, on each and every occasion.

Ronnie Polaneczky of the Philadelphia Daily News
December 22, 2005.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Things you probably didn't know about Jingle Bells

It was originally written for a Thanksgiving Sunday school program. And the last verse, tells you to "go it, while you're young, take the girls tonight and....."

You'll just have to read the rest here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Obama administration unravelling?

Obama conducting Reign of Terror (← click for full story)

President Obama was urged by the few White House insiders from whom he still takes advice to leave the country on his ten-day Asian trip, his longest trip abroad since becoming president, in order to not inflict any more damage to the Democratic Party in the wake of one of the worst electoral defeats for the party of an incumbent president in recent history. According to sources close to the White House, who put themselves in great danger by even talking to members of the media, the plans to have Obama leave for a visit to India, Pakistan, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan are an attempt to get Obama out of the country while top Democrats can sort through the political disaster created for the party by Obama's increasingly detached-from-reality presidency.

Virtual political guerrilla warfare has broken out between Obama's inner circle on one hand and senior Democratic officials, including outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Party strategist James Carville, former Demcratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, and, behind-the-scenes, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton, on the other.

White House leaks about the ineffectiveness of Obama's presidency are expandng beyond the revelations attributed to a former high-level Obama administration insider and which have been reported by a blogger named "Ulsterman." Some White House staffers have described a "reign of terror" in the White House over continued leaks and a troika of leadership that is making decisions without any input from the president. The troika reportedly consists of First Lady Michelle Obama, presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, and the president's mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, who resides in the White House.

Vice President Biden, under intense pressure from some Democratic Party officials and Cabinet members to invoke Article 25, Section 4 of the Constitution and have Obama temporarily or permanently removed as president because of his mental incapacity to fulfill his constitutional oath as president is reluctant to take such drastic action. Biden feels that the country would "become unglued" after such action and he doesn't want to be the one who would be responsible for "picking up the pieces," according to a source who works within Biden's office.

White House staff exodus - signs of disarray (← click for full story)

More senior White House staff are to leave in the next few months, adding to the high exit rate from President Barack Obama's administration.

Political analysts attribute the attrition rate to exhaustion, but Republican opponents blame disarray inside the White House, with an insular team responsible for too many policy failures.

"The exhaustion rate for this administration is more accelerated due to the problems they encountered in January 2009. There was no presidential 'honeymoon'," Baker said today. He added that some of them had been working intensively on economic policy in the six months before Obama took over.

"These are worn-out, depleted people who are not waiting for the fire alarm to be sounded before heading for the emergency exit," Baker said.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Late-night comedians on Obama's trip to Asia

"President Obama went to India, South Korea, then Japan. He’s going to keep traveling until he finds his birth certificate."
David Letterman

"President Obama was in India yesterday visiting our jobs. Tomorrow he goes to China to visit our money."
Jay Leno

"President Obama is still out of the country but he's keeping in contact with Vice President Joe Biden to find out when it's safe to come back home."
Jay Leno

"The president’s trip was cut short due to volcanic ash. That’s the second time his plans have been disrupted by ash. The last time was when the Democrats went down in flames."
Jay Leno

A message to HP Product Support

This soldier in Iraq had an HP printer which quit working. He contacted HP tech support for help to fix it. HP told the soldier that he would have to pay them for their advice. Watch this 60 second video for his response.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Veteran's Day story

On a morning in September 2009 that he will never forget, John C. Wright, a longtime professor of chemistry at UW-Madison, was getting ready to walk from his office to the class he was scheduled to teach when his telephone rang.

That call, and a fax that followed a short time later, directing him to a website, knocked Wright for a loop. He is not an emotional person, but Wright teared up reading an article on the website.

"I was astonished," he said recently. He needed a little walk to calm down before teaching his class.

What Wright, 67, learned that September morning set in motion a series of events that culminated last month when he and his family flew to England for the unveiling ceremony of a memorial plaque honoring the father Wright never knew.

Full story here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kama'aina Birthday Remembrance

About 1970 the Marines accepted the first all-Hawaiian training platoon to go to San Diego en masse from the Islands. They would be kept together until graduation. The Star Bulletin had a great cartoon of the boys boarding the plane in their Hawaiian shirts and zoris lustily singing
From the slopes Mauna Kea,
To the shore at Waikiki,
We eat saimin and cracker seed,
And sometimes opihi...

Happy 236th!

Happy birthday, Marines! Exactly 41 years ago, I was attending the (very formal) Marine Ball held in Spaso House, The US Ambassador's residence in Moscow. The night when a British Cavalry Brigadier General stabbed Mrs. Beam (the ambassador's wife) in the calf with his spur out on the dance floor. My father, a (real, horse-type) army cavalryman from the 1930's, was appalled. "Everyone knows you take your spurs off before dancing!"


As we Marines – active, Reserve, retired, and former – celebrate the 235th anniversary of our birth in a Philadelphia alehouse during the American Revolution (specifically Nov. 10, 1775), three things come to mind.

First: Yes, we Marines boast. We always have – things like “it’s hard to be humble when you’re the finest” – but much of this boasting stems from the pride in our organization’s amazing successes and our hard-won reputation over the past two centuries. And it also comes from the fact that – because we are the smallest, most unique kid on the block – the bigger kids have always tried to knock us down, put us in our place, dismiss us as cult-like and unnecessary, and either absorb us into their own ranks or disband us entirely.

One example of this was Army Gen. Frank Armstrong, who in the late 1940’s – even after the Corps’ stunning performance in World War II – proposed absorbing Marines into the Army, and referred to us as “a small bitched-up army talking Navy lingo.”

Decades later, in 1997, Assistant Secretary of the Army Sara Lister proclaimed before a Harvard University audience, “I think the Army is much more connected to society than the Marines are. Marines are extremists. Wherever you have extremists, you’ve got some risks of total disconnection with society. And that’s a little dangerous.”

So you see we’ve had to boast a bit, if for no other reason than to counter our detractors.

Second: I’m reminded of the words of pro-Marine outsiders (non-Marines), who heap praise on us because they are secure enough in their own skins and we are so extraordinarily good at what we do (though some might wish we weren’t so good) that it would be insincere to deny us that praise.

Third: I’m reminded of the enemies of America who praise us in the expression of their fears.

So since this week is our birthday, let me share with everyone – the sheer point of this article – some of that praise from the big kids on the block (who aren’t always thrilled that we exist), the pro-Marine outsiders, and America’s enemies.

We begin with a bit of unintentional praise.

During the 1983 invasion of Grenada, Army Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, picked up a telephone and demanded to know why “two companies of Marines [are] running all over the island and thousands of Army troops [are] doing nothing. What the hell is going on?”

We continue with a bit of matter-of-factness.

James Adams, former CEO of United Press International, describes in his 1989 book, SECRET ARMIES, "Marines with 20 percent of the [American] force ended up occupying 80 percent of the island [Grenada]"

Then in a 1992 study conducted by the Heritage Foundation, it was determined that “for every [U.S.] Army soldier in a combat position, one soldier is behind the lines in such supporting roles as administration and supply; for Marines the ratio is two combatants to one administrator or supplier. As a result, the Marine Corps delivers the most firepower in the quickest time when responding to a crisis. … The Marine Corps’ greatest advantage over other services is the speed and muscle with which it can respond to a crisis.”

In 2006, national defense and economics historian Dr. Larry Schweikart – in his book, AMERICA'S VICTORIES – WHY THE U.S. WINS WARS AND WILL WIN THE WAR ON TERROR – describes the performance of U.S. troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq: “The Marines, given their superiority in combat training and despite their youth (Marines are the youngest, on average, of the enlisted troops) generally fared far better than the regular Army in combat situations.”

Now let’s look at some of the subjective praise based on pure observation.

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle."
— U.S. Army Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing

"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight!"
— U.S. Army Major Frank Lowe

"U.S. Marines have the swagger, confidence, and hardness that must have been in Stonewall Jackson's Army of the Shenandoah."
— A British military observer's report

"Marines have it [pride] and benefit from it. They are tough, cocky, sure of themselves and their buddies. They can fight, and they know it."
— U.S. Army General Mark Clark

"Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat."
— Rear Admiral J.R. Stark, U.S. Navy

And lastly, let’s look at a few examples of how America’s enemies have traditionally perceived us.

During the Korean War, Chinese premier Mao Tse Tung was so-concerned about the combat prowess of the 1st Marine Division that he issued a death contract on the entire division, which he stated, “has the highest combat effectiveness” of any division in the U.S. armed forces. “It seems not enough for our four divisions to surround and annihilate [the 1st Marine Division’s] two regiments,” Mao said in orders to the commander of the 9th Chinese Army Group. “You should have one or two more divisions as a reserve force.”

During the same war, a captured North Korean officer confessed, “Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the American Marines.”

Years later during the first Gulf War, Iraqi soldiers nicknamed their U.S. Marine foes, “Angels of Death.”

And during the 2004 U.S. assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, an intercepted radio transmission revealed the enemy’s utter fear of America’s few good men.

“We are fighting, but the Marines keep coming,” shouted a panic-stricken Al Qaeda insurgent to his commander. “We are shooting, but the Marines won’t stop.”

Happy Birthday, Marines, and Semper Fi!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Saving Time quote

Winning the World Series with math

To run the bases faster, baseball players just need a bit of mathematics, according to research by an undergraduate math major and his professors. Their calculations show that the optimal path around the bases is one that perhaps no major-league ball player has ever run: It swings out a full 18.5 feet from the baseline.

Read more here.

Post-election musings

Daylight Saving Time song

The Daylight Saving Time song

Only the Brits...

Notice posted at a golf course in war-torn Britain in 1940 for golfers...

Woody Allen algebra

"In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with; I don't. Would you take two negative messages?"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Politician

Behold the politician.
Self-preservation is his ambition.
He thrives in the D. of C.,
Where he was sent by you and me.

Whether elected or appointed
He considers himself the Lord’s anointed,
And indeed the ointment lingers on him
So thick you can’t get your fingers on him.

He has developed a sixth sense
About living at the public expense,
Because in private competition
He would encounter malnutrition.

He has many profitable hobbies
Not the least of which is lobbies.
He would not sell his grandmother for a quarter
If he suspected the presence of a reporter.

He gains votes ever and anew
By taking money from everybody and giving it to a few,
While explaining that every penny
Was extracted from the few to be given to the many.

Some politicians are Republican, some Democratic,
And their feud is dramatic,
But except for the name
They are identically the same.

When a politician talks the foolishest,
And obstructs everything the mulishest,
And bellows the loudest,
Why his constituents are the proudest.

Wherever decent intelligent people get together
They talk about politicians as about bad weather,
But they are always too decent to go into politics themselves and too intelligent even to go to the polls,
So I hope the kind of politicians they get will have no mercy on their pocketbooks or souls.

Ogden Nash

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

American private enterprise

In case you didn't know, American companies had a lot to do with the rescue of those miners in Chile.

Far be it for an American President to publicly congratulate (let alone even mention) AMERICAN ingenuity and AMERICAN PRIVATE ENTERPRISE for the miracle rescue of the Chilean Miners.

  1. Schramm Inc. of West Chester, Pennsylvania built the drills and equipment used to reach the trapped miners.
  2. Center Rock Company, from Berlin, Pennsylvania, built the drill bits used to reach the miners.
  3. UPS, the US shipping company, delivered the 13-ton drilling equipment from Pennsylvania to Chile in less than 48 hours.
  4. Crews from Layne Christensen Company of Wichita Kansas and its subsidiary Geotec Boyles Bros. worked the drills and machinery to locate and reach the miners and then enlarge the holes to ultimately rescue them.
  5. Jeff Hart of Denver Colorado was called off his job drilling water wells for the U.S. Army's forward operating bases in Afghanistan to lead the drilling crew that reached the miners.
  6. Atlas Copco Construction Mining Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin provided consulting on how to make drilling equipment from different sources work together under differing pressure specifications.
  7. Aries Central California Video of Fresno, California designed the special cameras that were lowered nearly a mile into the ground sending back video of the miners.
  8. Zephyr Technologies of Annapolis, Maryland, made the remote monitors of vital signs that miners will wear during their ascent.
  9. NASA Engineers designed the "Phoenix" capsule that miners would be brought to the surface in, and provided medical consulting, special diets and spandex suits to maintain miners' blood pressure as they're brought back to the surface.

Oh, and Canadian-based Precision Drilling Corp. and South-African company Murray & Roberts, drilled backup rescue shafts in case the American rig failed. Which it didn't.

AND – Oakley supplied the sunglasses for the miners free of charge!!!!

Math in today's comics

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Magic by numbers

I recently wound up in the emergency room. Don’t worry, it was probably nothing. But to treat my case of probably nothing, the doctor gave me a prescription for a week’s worth of antibiotics, along with the usual stern warning about the importance of completing the full course.

I understood why I needed to complete the full course, of course. What I didn’t understand was why a full course took precisely seven days. Why not six, eight or nine and a half? Did the number seven correspond to some biological fact about the human digestive tract or the life cycle of bacteria?

My doctor had recommended seven. Where in the world had seven come from?

Read the rest of the story

Elk and Cat

From a buddy from Battle Creek, Michigan.

This is freaking scary. As you know I was alone when I downed this elk in ND. I was using my camera’s timer attached to my shooting stick to give me enough time to get into the picture. I knew there were a lot of cats in the area but had no idea they would come in this close to people. He had to be within 10 feet of me and I didn’t even know it. I about crapped my pants when I looked at the pictures the next morning and saw he was there.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Obama: a different analysis

From my email inbox:

One 82-year-old lady loves Obama and she may have a very good point. She says that Obama is amazing, and is rebuilding the American dream! She gives us an entirely new slant on the "amazing" job Obama is doing, and she says that she will thank God for the President. Keep reading for her additional comments and an explanation.

When discussing Obama, she says:
  1. Obama destroyed the Clinton Political Machine, driving a stake through the heart of Hillary's presidential aspirations - something no Republican was ever able to do.

  2. Obama killed off the Kennedy Dynasty - no more Kennedys trolling Washington looking for booze and women wanting rides home.

  3. Obama is destroying the Democratic Party before our eyes! Dennis Moore had never lost a race. Evan Bayh had never lost a race. Byron Dorgan had never lost a race. Harry Reid - soon to be GONE! These are just a handful of the Democrats whose political careers Obama has destroyed. By the end of 2010, dozens more will be gone. Just think, in December of 2008 the Democrats were on the rise. In the last two election cycles, they had picked up 14 Senate seats and 52 House seats. The press was touting the death of the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party. However, in just one year, Obama put a stop to all of this and will probably give the House - if not the Senate - back to the Republicans.

  4. Obama has completely exposed liberals and progressives for what they are. Sadly, every generation seems to need to re-learn the lesson on why they should never actually put liberals in charge. Obama is bringing home the lesson very well:

    • Liberals tax, borrow and spend.
    • Liberals won't bring themselves to protect America.
    • Liberals want to take over the economy.
    • Liberals think they know what is best for everyone.
    • Liberals are not happy until they are running YOUR life.

  5. Obama has brought more Americans back to conservatism than anyone since Reagan. In one year, he has rejuvenated the Conservative Movement and brought out to the streets millions of freedom loving Americans. Name one other time when you saw your friends and neighbors this interested in taking back America!

  6. Obama, with his "amazing leadership," has sparked the greatest period of sales of firearms and ammunition this country has seen. Law abiding citizens have rallied and have provided a "stimulus" to the sporting goods field while other industries have failed, faded, or moved off-shore.

  7. In all honesty, one year ago I was more afraid than I have been in my life. Not afraid of the economy, but afraid of the direction our country was going. I thought, Americans have forgotten what this country is all about. My neighbors and friends, even strangers, have proved to me that my lack of confidence in the greatness and wisdom of the American people has been flat wrong.

  8. When the American people wake up, no smooth talking teleprompter reader can fool them! Barack Obama has served to wake up these great Americans!
Again, I want to say: "Thank you, Barack Obama!" After all, this is exactly the kind of hope and change we desperately needed!!

Author unknown

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Short field landing

I give him a "10" on the "short field" part and a "0" on the "landing" part. Or maybe a "1" or "2". Any landing you walk away from isn't exactly a bad landing.

Where graph theory meets fast food

So how far can you get from a McDonalds? That would be the McFarthest Point.

“If you want to know what men look for in that land or why men go where there is such danger to their lives, it is the threefold nature of men which lures them on. On one part a man wants fame, for man goes where there is great danger to make himself famous. Another part of man wants knowledge, wants to see those places he has heard of and find out if they are as he has been told. The third part is the desire for riches, for man pursues wealth wherever he thinks he can find it, even though he must pass through great dangers.”

–Mirror of the King, c 1300

Terrorist emeritus

Robert F. Kennedy's killer, a fanatic named Sirhan Sirhan, still resides at Pleasant Valley State Prison in California. Permanently, one hopes, in lieu of the death penalty he received but that was never carried out. (The state of California would rule capital punishment unconstitutional.)

William Ayers, the once prominent terrorist who now leads a second and quieter life as a professor at the University of Illinois, dedicated a book to this same Sirhan Sirhan in 1974. A cofounder of the Weather Underground, the professor would go on to have it both ways -- describing himself a kind of freedom fighter while denying that he was ever into violence. It's debatable which claim is the more dubious.

But the professor's rise in academe has been undeniable. He found his niche at the university in education, of course, one of the more nebulous academic specialties. After a long and well-paid career, he was due for routine promotion to professor emeritus on his retirement.

But as luck (or maybe justice) would have it, Christopher Kennedy turned up on the university's board of trustees. And noticed that it was about to honor the professor who'd dedicated a book to his father's assassin. And blew the whistle. The whole board backed him up by turning down Bill Ayers' designation as professor emeritus, a title that hasn't been taken this seriously in years.

Full story here.

I cahn't believe this!

Did Americans in 1776 have British accents?

Reading David McCullough’s 1776, I found myself wondering: Did Americans in 1776 have British accents? If so, when did American accents diverge from British accents?

The answer surprised me.

If you go to Rhode Island, the river Thames there is pronounced "Thaymes" not "Timms". George I the German could not pronounce "Thaymes"; he called the Thames River the "Timms" River so all the other Brits started doing it too.

Remember November's latest video

Paris Panorama

Click here

I was going nuts trying to find Le Tour Eiffel, scrolling all over la place. I mean, surely that is the Field of Mars we are seeing. Then I remembered...Paris Match thirty years ago did an article about a guy who had eaten lunch on top of the Eiffel Tower every day for fifty years. "You must really love it" the reporter said. "I should say not. It's the only place in Paris I can't see the d----- thing!"
Go to full screen and scroll the picture are seeing the panorama at the exact top of the tower!

Man invents machine to turn plastic into oil

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pretty smart for a dead white guy

"The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would ... assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it."

Adam Smith

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lessons from the Plymouth Plantation

From my friend, Tom:

The following is a short piece from an interminably long document by William Bradford ("History of Plymouth Plantation").

The History (attached) contains [numbers] that correspond to the below sections, if you wish to see them in context.

Several interesting items occur to me:

1. These people had not yet immersed themselves in the King James Bible, and therefore, had not yet accepted the spellings that would become standardized by the KJV.

2. They started out, as provided in their original contract, as a commonwealth...and learned that that form of "government" caused laziness and equal misery.

3. Their misery caused them to abandon their commune and go for free enterprise.

4. Free enterprise encouraged them to work for their own benefit.

5. The last paragraph explains why people in a commune don't want to work.

(10li means 10 pounds worth of money, whatever. )


Ano: 1620. July 1.

1. The adventurers & planters doe agree, that every person that goeth being aged 16. years & upward, be rated at 10li., and ten pounds to be accounted a single share. [57]

2. That he that goeth in person, and furnisheth him selfe out with 10li. either in money or other provissions, be accounted as haveing 20li. in stock, and in ye devission shall receive a double share.

3. The persons transported & ye adventurers shall continue their joynt stock & partnership togeather, ye space of 7. years, (excepte some unexpected impedimente doe cause ye whole company to agree otherwise,) during which time, all profits & benifits that are gott by trade, traffick, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons, remaine still in ye com̅one stock untill ye division.

4. That at their com̅ing ther, they chose out such a number of fitt persons, as may furnish their ships and boats for fishing upon ye sea; imploying the rest in their severall faculties upon ye land; as building houses, tilling, and planting ye ground, & makeing shuch com̅odities as shall be most usefull for ye collonie.

5. That at ye end of ye 7. years, ye capitall & profits, viz. the houses, lands, goods and chatles, be equally devided betwixte ye adventurers, and planters; wch done, every man shall be free from other of them of any debt or detrimente concerning this adventure.

[29] 6. Whosoever cometh to ye colonie herafter, or putteth any into ye stock, shall at the ende of ye 7. years be alowed proportionably to ye time of his so doing.

7. He that shall carie his wife & children, or servants, shall be alowed for everie person now aged 16. years & upward, a single share in ye devision, or if he provid them necessaries, a duble share, or if they be between 10. year old and 16., then 2. of them to be reconed for a person, both in trāsportation and devision.

8. That such children as now goe, & are under ye age of ten years, have noe other shar in ye devision, but 50. acers of unmanured land. [58]

9. That such persons as die before ye 7. years be expired, their executors to have their parte or sharr at ye devision, proportionably to ye time of their life in ye collonie.

10. That all such persons as are of this collonie, are to have their meate, drink, apparell, and all provissions out of ye com̅on stock & goods of ye said collonie.

The cheefe & principall differences betwene these & the former conditions, stood in those 2. points; that ye houses, & lands improved, espetialy gardens & home lotts should remaine undevided wholy to ye planters at ye 7. years end. 2ly, yt they should have had 2. days in a weeke for their owne private imploymente, for ye more comforte of them selves and their families, espetialy such as had families. But because letters are by some wise men counted ye best parte of histories, I shall shew their greevances hereaboute by their owne letters, in which ye passages of things will be more truly discerned.

All this whille no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expecte any. So they begane to thinke how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a beter crope then they had done, that they might not still thus languish in miserie. At length, after much debate of things, the Govr (with ye advise of ye cheefest amongest them) gave way that they should set corne every man for his owne perticuler, and in that regard trust to them selves; in all other things to goe on in ye generall way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcell of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end, only for present use (but made no devission for inheritance), and ranged all boys & youth under some familie. This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted then other waise would have bene by any means ye Govr or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly into ye feild, and tooke their litle-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weaknes, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and oppression.


The experience that was had in this com̅one course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos & other ancients, applauded by some of later times;—that ye taking away of propertie, and bringing in com̅unitie into a comone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much imploymēt that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For ye yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour & service did repine that they should spend their time & streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompence. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devission of victails & cloaths, then he that was weake and not able to doe a quarter ye other could; this was thought injuestice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and [97] equalised in labours, and victails, cloaths, &c., with ye meaner & yonger sorte, thought it some indignite & disrespect unto them. And for mens wives to be commanded to doe servise for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, &c., they deemd it a kind of slaverie, neither could many husbands well brooke it. Upon ye poynte all being to have alike, and all to doe alike, they thought them selves in ye like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut of those [164]relations that God hath set amongest men, yet it did at least much diminish and take of ye mutuall respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have bene worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none objecte this is men's corruption, and nothing to ye course it selfe. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdome saw another course fiter for them.

Bradford's History of 'Plimoth Plantation'
From the Original Manuscript. With a Report of the Proceedings Incident to the Return of the Manuscript to Massachusetts
Author: William Bradford

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cash-strapped California awards millions to illegal alien child molester

California is so broke it is being compared to Greece. But the Orange County Board of Supervisors gave away 4.3 million real dollars to an illegal Mexican alien who is also a child molester. Why did the supervisors do it? Answer: “The lawyer made me do it!”

The first chapter in this distasteful story begins with Fernando Ramirez, a 24-year-old illegal alien, being caught molesting a 6-year-old girl in a park. He was duly convicted and sent to the Orange County Central Jail.

Inmates in prison for murder, bank robbery, mugging old ladies, and other assorted thuggery agree on at least one thing: They hate child molesters. They beat him to within the proverbial inch of his life.

...a California lawyer takes over. Attorney Mark Eisenberg...was mysteriously advised about Fernando being roughly used by the other gents in the Orange County lockup.

Bringing a case before the Orange County Board of Supervisors, the kindly attorney claimed that Ramirez had suffered brain damage because of the beating, that he needs help walking, and that he now has the intellect of a four-year-old child.

...the supervisors take stock of the dire financial straits of Orange County, then conclude that county taxpayers can still find it in their hearts to hand the child molester and his lawyer the largest settlement ever given to anyone in county custody: $3.75 million, plus $900,000 for medical expenses. With a wave of their wands, Orange County Supervisors made Fernando one of the richest non-citizens in the country!

Full story here.

from The Examiner:
If anyone would like to contact the Orange County Board of Supervisors to discuss the Ramirez settlement, I have included the following contact list for your convenience:

-Board Chair Patricia C. Bates, Supervisor Fifth District (ph #: 714-834-3550)
-Vice Chair Janet Nguyen, Supervisor First District (ph #: 714-834-3110)
-John M.W. Moorlach, Supervisor Second District (ph #: 714-834-3220)
-Bill Campbell, Supervisor Third District (ph #: 714-834-3330)
-Chris Norby, Supervisor Fourth District (ph #: 714-834-3440)

Reporter’s note: Except for one story carried by the Orange County Register, there has been no press coverage of this matter. One would think that an illegal alien child molester becoming a millionaire through taxpayer funding would be big news.

Friday, September 17, 2010

100 Important Mathematical Equations


I see one little error in the bottom left corner. Euler's theorem should be:

eix = cos x + i sin x

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The amazing B-52

During a downtime in Wichita, I worked with Dale Felix in flight simulation in the 10-65 building in Renton years ago. Really cool guy who talked about all of the cable stretch in the B-52. Sluggish controls!

Gerry Marra
A Canadian-now-American friend in WA state.

"If its not Boeing, I'm not going."

January 10, 1964, started out as a typical day for the flight test group at Boeing's Wichita plant. Pilot Chuck Fisher took off in a B-52H with a three-man Boeing crew, flying a low-level profile to obtain structural data.

Over Colorado, cruising 500 feet above the mountainous terrain, the B-52 encountered some turbulence. Fisher climbed to 14,300 feet looking for smoother air. At this point the typical day ended. The bomber flew into clear-air turbulence. It felt as if the plane had been placed in a giant high-speed elevator, shoved up and down, and hit by a heavy blow on its right side.

Fisher told the crew to prepare to abandon the plane. He slowed the aircraft and dropped to about 5,000 feet to make it easier to bail out. But then Fisher regained some control. He climbed slowly to 16,000 feet to put some safety room between the plane and the ground. He informed Wichita about what was happening. Although control was difficult, Fisher said he believed he could get the plane back in one piece.

Response to the situation at Wichita, and elsewhere, was immediate. An emergency control center was set up in the office of Wichita's director of flight test. Key Boeing engineers and other specialists were summoned to provide their expertise. Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control centers at Denver and Kansas City cleared the air around the troubled plane. A Strategic Air Command B-52 in the area maintained radio contact with the crew of the Wichita B-52.

As Fisher got closer to Wichita, a Boeing chase plane flew up to meet him and to visually report the damage. When Dale Felix, flying an F-100 fighter, came alongside Fisher's B-52, he couldn't believe what he saw: The B-52's vertical tail was gone.

Felix broke the news to Fisher and those gathered in the control center. There was no panic. Everyone on the plane and in the control center knew they could be called upon at any time for just such a situation. In the emergency control center, the engineers began making calculations and suggesting the best way to get the plane down safely. The Air Force was also lending assistance. A B-52, just taking off for a routine flight, was used to test the various flight configurations suggested by the specialists before Fisher had to try them.

As high gusty winds rolled into Wichita, the decision was made to divert the B-52 to Blytheville Air Force Base in Northeastern Arkansas. Boeing specialists from the emergency control center took off in a KC-135 and accompanied Fisher to Blytheville, serving as an airborne control center.

Six hours after the incident first occurred, Fisher and his crew brought in the damaged B-52 for a safe landing.

"I'm very proud of this crew and this airplane," Fisher said. "Also we had a lot people helping us, and we're very thankful for that." The B-52, Fisher said, "Is the finest airplane I ever flew."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Maxine's right

We need to show more sympathy for these people.

  • They travel miles in the heat.
  • They risk their lives crossing a border.
  • They don't get paid enough wages.
  • They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
  • They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak
    a different language.
  • They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day ~
    every day.
I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans. I'm talking about our military
troops! Doesn't it seem strange that many Democrats and Republicans
are willing to lavish all kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't
support our troops, and are even threatening to defund them?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

‘Haus Der Deutschen Wissenschaft:’ The Hotel Paradise For Nazi Scientists

Tom Lehrer: Wernher von Braun

Henry Kolm had an interesting job as a 21-year-old.

He smuggled Nazi scientists into Boston Harbor.

He’d meet most of them off Nixes Mate, the smallest of the Harbor Islands — no more than gravel shoals — where a beacon warns ships coming into the harbor. Then, he and a Boston whaler captain named Corky would scoot them out to Long Island and a secret hotel fashioned from the barracks of the old Civil War derelict known as Fort Strong.

The prize get, the leader of the pack and the star of the show at Fort Strong was Wernher von Braun, Germany’s uber-engineer of rockets — most notoriously the V-2.

But technically they were illegal aliens … and many of them, like von Braun, were Nazis to boot. So Project Paperclip had to smuggle them out to Long Island to keep Immigration, Customs and, more importantly, the State Department from finding out they were here....

Full story here.

Times sure have changed.

The lighter side of CERN

The Particle Physics Song

Pensée du jour

"Everything is changing. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."

--American humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Ole the wrestler

A Russian and Ole, the Norwegian wrestler, were set to square off for the Olympic Gold medal.

Before the final match, the Norwegian wrestling coach came to Ole and said, "Now, don't forget all the research we've done on this Russian. He's never lost a match because of this 'pretzel' hold he has. Whatever you do, do not let him get you in that hold! If he does, you're finished."

Ole nodded in acknowledgment.

As the match started, Ole and the Russian circled each other several times, looking for an opening. All of a sudden, the Russian lunged forward, grabbing Ole and wrapping him up in the dreaded pretzel hold. A sigh of disappointment arose from the crowd and the coach buried his face in his hands, for he knew all was lost. He couldn't watch the inevitable happen.

Suddenly, there was a scream, then a cheer from the crowd and the coach raised his eyes just in time to watch the Russian go flying up in the air. His back hit the mat with a thud and Ole collapsed on top of him making the pin and winning the match.

The crowd went crazy. The coach was astounded.

When he finally got his wrestler alone, he asked, "How did you ever get out of that hold? No one has ever done it before!"

Ole answered, "Vell, I vas ready to give up ven he got me in dat hold, but at da last moment, I opened my eyes and saw dis pair of testicles right in front of my face. I had nuttin' to lose, so vid my last ounce of strength I stretched out my neck and bit dose babies just as hard as I could."

So the trainer exclaimed, "That's what finished him off!"

"Vell, not really. You'd be amazed how strong you get ven you bite your own nuts!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Charley Reese is a syndicated columnist known for his plainspoken manner and conservative views. He was associated with the Orlando Sentinel from 1971–2001. This was published in the 1980s but is worth reading again.

By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them..

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.....The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red ..

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan...

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power..

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
Peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.

When he hollers;
Tax him more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid...

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
Taxes drove me
to my doom...'

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax...

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Still think this is funny? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had hardly any national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the hell happened?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Munchausen numbers

You have probably heard of the syndrome (not to mention the one by proxy) and, likewise, the Baron, but have you heard of a Munchausen number?

No? So, let me bore/enlighten you a second (delete as applicable). We have natural numbers - the ones we use to add up with. Now they can have many properties, but a Munchausen number is pretty special.

Their specific property is that the sum of their digits raised to themselves is the original number. With the number one, it works spectacularly and easily well.

After that, you're in trouble.

1 ... 11 = 1
2 ... 22 = 4 (2 out)
3 ... 33 = 27 (24 out, oh dear)
4 ... 44 = 256 (start sweating)

What's the smallest example? The answer is here.

Mathematical imagery

More beautiful images at Jos Leys' site.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Words of Wisdom from Ben

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."

"And where is the prince who can so afford to cover his domain with troops, as that ten thousand men, descending from the clouds, could do an infinite amount of mischief before a force could be brought together to repel them?"

Benjamin Franklin, Father of the Airborne

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's even in the Bible!

From Ecclesiastes Chapter 10:

2 The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
  but the heart of the fool to the left.

3 Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense
  and shows everyone how stupid he is.

4 If a ruler's anger rises against you, do not leave your post;
  calmness can lay great errors to rest.

5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
  the sort of error that arises from a ruler:

6 Fools are put in many high positions,
  while the rich occupy the low ones.

Whom to vote for

At a recent family reunion on the beach, family members inquired about whom they should vote for in the upcoming elections as a number of candidates are making their first run at offices for which there are no incumbents.

While it is nearly impossible to examine the platforms of all the candidates running for office, voters should take the time to check out the promises and background of the candidates who are running in their district or for candidates running for countrywide or statewide seats. Before you throw away that silly brochure that the candidate or his worker left on your doorknob or fence post, check out the candidate’s credentials and platform or promises. And while probably no candidate is going to promise to raise your taxes – otherwise known as political suicide – there are subtle clues that should raise the eyebrows of taxpayers.

One thing taxpayers learned from this past session is that the public employee unions are not abashed in calling for raising taxes to keep public employees whole. So it only seems logical that voters who don’t want their taxes increased should not select candidates that have endorsements by public employee unions, as those candidates will be obligated to hop to the tune of the union’s flute if elected.

What has become increasingly clear in recent years is that many elected officials have very little life experience, that is many have not held a “real” job to the point that they understand what the challenges are to meeting a payroll, making sure that all of the forms are filed for their business or that all fees and licenses are paid. Not having any clue of how the laws that they will consider and/or eventually adopt will affect every day life has been the norm for lawmakers in recent years. As a result, the cost of living and doing business in Hawaii has become more costly as newly elected officials want to “save the world.” So look for candidates that have some real life experience, have held a “real” job and know what it is like to make ends meet and survive in what is an already expensive place to live.

And what about those promises of providing this or that service or a new public facility? Translate those promises into more money that will be needed to deliver those promises. That means those eager candidates, once elected, will come asking for more and more tax dollars in order to make good on those promises. Ask those candidates who promise added services or facilities how they expect to pay for them. The old adage that “there is no free lunch” comes quickly to mind.

At a time when state and county governments are mandating “furlough Fridays,” promising new services runs counter to saving those services taxpayers have already come to expect. To the contrary, look for candidates who promise to “right size” government so that taxpayers can afford what government services are truly essential to the health and welfare of the community. When candidates promise “better” services, be wary of how they expect to achieve a better quality of service. Do they plan to merely throw money at an existing service to improve it or do they have a creative way of improving those services with the existing financial resources?

What taxpayers learned during this past session is that elected officials find it difficult to cut spending especially when there is a vocal constituency for this or that service. One just has to look at the department of education’s efforts to reduce costs by closing schools where the enrollment has dwindled to the point that the cost per student to just maintain the infrastructure soars per student enrolled in those facilities. No one wants to be the “bad guy” who reduces or eliminates the current level of services. On the other hand, no one wants to shoulder the responsibility to equate an inefficient government with higher taxes.

And lest you think that taxpayers escaped a major tax increase this past session just because there was no increase in personal income tax rates or the general excise tax, taxpayers should remember that incumbent lawmakers approved an increase in the barrel tax on petroleum products that will affect the cost of everything from the gas at the pump to your household electric bill to the box of cereal at the grocery store. They also reinstated the state’s tax on inheritance and estates and hiked the tax on cigarettes and rental cars.

So as you shop for a candidate to support or vote for this fall, ask the candidate knocking on your door whether or not they are willing to make those difficult decisions to rein in the size of government. If they can’t, then you can bet your tax dollar that they will come after your pocketbook for more taxes.

Lowell L. Kalapa is the president of Tax Foundation of Hawaii

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If You Don't Want to Hire Felons, You Need a Good Reason

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is warning employers that it is illegal to use a prospective employee's past conviction records, even for serious felonies, as an "absolute measure" as to whether they should be hired because this "could limit the employment opportunities of some protected groups."

This is, the EEOC says, because blacks and Hispanics are over-represented among felons.

"Blacks and Hispanics also have an unfortunate higher high school and college dropout rates than whites and Asians -- surely this could be determined to be a disparate impact. Does that mean the EEOC could mandate that employers cannot consider an applicant's education? Where will it stop?" asks Justin Danhof, general counsel of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "It is unfortunate that the EEOC is placing outdated racial politics ahead of the American workforce at a time when employers should be encouraged to hire, but this mentality will likely make businesses think twice about plans for expansion. Employers should be free to consider the full content of an applicant's character when making hiring decisions."

Yup, this edict is true.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bud's story

I got shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, a Sqdn. Commander. After I returned in 1973...I published 2 books that dealt a lot with "real torture" in Hanoi.

Our make- believe president is branding our country as a bunch of torturers when he has no idea what torture is. As for me, I was put thru a mock execution because I would not respond... pistol whipped on the head....same event. Couple of days later...hung by my feet all day. I escaped and a couple of weeks later, I got shot and recaptured. Shot was OK...what happened afterwards was not.

They marched me to Vinh...put me in the rope trick,...almost pulled my arms out of the sockets. Beat me on the head with a little wooden rod until my eyes were swelled shut, and my unshot, unbroken hand a pulp. Next day hung me by the arms ... rebroke my right wrist... wiped out the nerves in my arms that control the hands... rolled my fingers up into a ball. Only left the slightest movement of my left forefinger. So I started answering with some incredible lies.

Sent me to Hanoi strapped to a barrel of gas in the back of a truck.

Hanoi ...on my knees... rope trick again. Beaten by a big fool. Into leg irons on a bed in Heartbreak Hotel. Much kneeling... hands up at Zoo. Really bad beating for refusing to condemn Lyndon Johnson. Several more kneeling events. I could see my knee bone thru kneeling holes.

There was an escape from the annex to the Zoo. I was the Senior Officer of a large building because of escape... they started a mass torture of all commanders.

I think it was July 7, 1969... they started beating me with a car fanbelt. In first 2 days I took over 300 strokes.... then stopped counting because I never thought I would live through it.

They continued day-night torture to get me to confess to a non-existent part in the escape. This went on for at least 3 days. On my knees... fan belting...cut open my scrotum with fan belt stroke.... opened up both knee holes again. My fanny looked like hamburger... I could not lie on my back.

They tortured me into admitting that I was in on the escape... and that my 2 room-mates knew about it. The next day I denied the lie.

They commenced torturing me again with 3- 6- or 9 strokes of the fan belt every day from about July 11 or 12th to 14 October 1969. I continued to refuse to lie about my roommates again.

Now, the point of this is that our make-believe president has declared to the world that we (U.S..) are a bunch of torturers. Thus it will be OK to torture us next time when they catch us... because that is what the U.S. does. Our make-believe president is a know-nothing fool who thinks that pouring a little water on someone's face, or hanging a pair of women's pants over an Arab's head is TORTURE! He is a meathead.

I just talked to MOH holder Leo Thorsness, who was also in my squadron, in jail... as was John McCain... and we agree that McCain does not speak for the POW group when he claims that Al Ghraib was torture... or that "water boarding" is torture.

Our president and those fools around him who keep bad mouthing our great country are a disgrace to the United States.

If it got the Arab to cough up the story about how he planned the attack on the twin towers in NYC... hurrah for the guy who poured the water.

"Bud" Day

George Everett "Bud" Day (born February 24, 1925) is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and Command Pilot who served during the Vietnam War. He is often cited as being the most decorated U.S. service member since General Douglas MacArthur, having received some seventy decorations, a majority for actions in combat. Day is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Birds of a feather

From the email inbox:

John "Poppo" Popovich is the best sports reporter/sports director in Cincinnati and he is a great guy. He lives out in the country in Indiana, due west of Cincinnati.

Popo's Morning Rush
July 30, 2010

Father of the Groom
Before I came to Cincinnati, I was a news reporter at WOC in Davenport Iowa. I covered a lot of city council and a lot of political stuff. One of the guys I covered was Ed Mezvinsky, who was the Congressman from Iowa's first district. Seemed like a pretty nice guy, but when he ditched his wife for a New York reporter, the Iowa voters ditched him.

My most vivid memory is that he sat on the House Judiciary Committee that was deciding the fate of President Nixon. Anyway, years later, "Fast Eddie" got caught with his hand in the till. He cheated investors out of more than $10 million dollars. He has gone to prison for several years.

A week ago, his son married Chelsea Clinton.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Voronoi diagrams

From Wikipedia:
In mathematics, a Voronoi diagram is a special kind of decomposition of a metric space determined by distances to a specified discrete set of objects in the space, e.g., by a discrete set of points. It is named after Georgy Voronoi, also called a Voronoi tessellation, a Voronoi decomposition, or a Dirichlet tessellation (after Lejeune Dirichlet),

In the simplest case, we are given a set of points S in the plane, which are the Voronoi sites. Each site s has a Voronoi cell, also called a Dirichlet cell, V(s) consisting of all points closer to s than to any other site. The segments of the Voronoi diagram are all the points in the plane that are equidistant to the two nearest sites. The Voronoi nodes are the points equidistant to three (or more) sites.
Now see it in action. Mesmerizing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Written on the wall in the men's toilet in the math department


A test for primality, using regular expressions


That's it!

The Czechs remember

An interesting piece of WW II history remembered and celebrated in the Czech Republic.

Mau Piailug - rest in peace

From The Economist:
In the spring of 1976 Mau Piailug offered to sail a boat from Hawaii to Tahiti. The expedition, covering 2,500 miles, was organised by the Polynesian Voyaging Society to see if ancient seafarers could have gone that way, through open ocean. The boat was beautiful, a double-hulled canoe named Hokule’a, or “Star of Gladness” (Arcturus to Western science). But there was no one to captain her. At that time, Mau was the only man who knew the ancient Polynesian art of sailing by the stars, the feel of the wind and the look of the sea. So he stepped forward.

As a Micronesian he did not know the waters or the winds round Tahiti, far south-east. But he had an image of Tahiti in his head. He knew that if he aimed for that image, he would not get lost. And he never did. More than 2,000 miles out, a flock of small white terns skimmed past the Hokule’a heading for the still invisible Mataiva Atoll, next to Tahiti. Mau knew then that the voyage was almost over.

On that month-long trip he carried no compass, sextant or charts. He was not against modern instruments on principle. A compass could occasionally be useful in daylight; and, at least in old age, he wore a chunky watch. But Mau did not operate on latitude, longitude, angles, or mathematical calculations of any kind. He walked, and sailed, under an arching web of stars moving slowly east to west from their rising to their setting points, and knew them so well—more than 100 of them by name, and their associated stars by colour, light and habit—that he seemed to hold a whole cosmos in his head, with himself, determined, stocky and unassuming, at the nub of the celestial action.

How well we in Hawaii remember that voyage! When European sailors hugged the coast of the Med, and never ventured much past the Isles of Dogs, (the Canaries) the Polynesians, hundreds of years before Columbus, were sailing the world's biggest ocean. How pale is the English word for the boundless vast "in-finity". A negation! The Hawaiians had two words..."out of sight up" (infinitely big, the ocean) and "out of sight down" (infinitely small, you in your war canoe).
The world's greatest seamen never got around to inventing the wheel (they never had a need for it.) Winds, tides, currents, scents of the land driven out to sea, the stars, the sun, the moon...they could do this. The Hawaiian and Tahitian languages have many similar words.

Lima (hand) = 5 (Hawaiian)
Luna (hand) = 5 (Tahitian)
Lua Lima (two hands) = 10 Hawaiian)
Lua Luna (two hands) = 10 (Tahitian)

In one version from New Guinea the word for "forty" was "mattress"...a man sleeps together with his wife on such. I am not making this up.

Many years ago, our destroyer came upon two women in a small sailboat. We had just come out of the edge of a hurricane which had savaged our home island of Oahu. It had been overcast for an entire week. No stars, no sun, no moon. "Where are we?" semaphored (I love verbing nouns) the women. Our navigator told them where they were withing 100 square feet on the surface of the ocean (this was before GPS...we had it but they didn't.) "Would you like to come aboard for dinner?" our captain asked them. "No thank you, we are sailing around the world and would rather remain aboard our own boat" they replied. "We can ship over fresh fruit, ice cream, whatever you would like" we said. "No thank you very much for our position; we are OK" and they sailed off into the gloom. Modern-day Hawaiians. With a boost from NASA. But still...they were far better sailors than anyone aboard the USS Brewton. Our captain knew this, and we, admiringly, coveted their company for dinner.


Pi - to 5 trillion digits

The Plouffe formula is very clever but elementary to derive.

A building made in the shape of a Möbius strip

(click picture to read more about this building)

What's next...a Klein bottle hospital??

The Pope in Alaska

The Pope took a couple of days off to visit the rugged mountains of Alaska for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the campground in the Pope-Mobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods. A helpless Democrat, wearing sandals, shorts, a "Vote for Obama" hat and a "Save the Trees" T-shirt, was screaming while struggling frantically and thrashing around trying to free himself from the grasp of a 10-foot grizzly.

As the Pope watched in horror, a group of Republican loggers, wearing "Go Sarah" t-shirts raced up to the commotion. One quickly fired a 44 magnum into the bear's chest. The other two reached up and pulled the bleeding, semi-conscious Democrat from the bear's grasp. Then using long clubs, the three loggers finished off the bear and two of them threw it onto the bed of their truck while the others tenderly placed the injured Democrat in the back seat.

As they prepared to leave, the Pope summoned them to come over. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions!" he told the men. "I had heard that in America there was a bitter hatred between Republican loggers and Democratic environmental activists, but now I've seen with my own eyes that this is not true."

As the Pope drove off, one logger asked his buddies, "Who was that guy?"

"That was the Pope," another replied. "Well," the logger said, "he sure doesn't know squat about bear hunting! By the way, is the bait still alive, or do we need to go back to Massachusetts and get us another one?"

How fast is the Beacon of Gondor

Around the Civil War [sic], Morse signals from Washington DC could be sent to San Francisco. This is how the news of Lincoln's assassination was dissiminated. Of course when it was raining, you had to wait. Under ideal conditions, it took about a few hours or so.


"Breitbart is a media genius"

From my email inbox:

Andrew Breitbart is a media genius.

He proved it originally with his brilliant handling of the ACORN ‘hooker’ scandal which he skillfully manipulated so that the corrupt media was forced, against its will, to broadcast corruption in one of Obama’s most powerful political support groups. But Breitbart’s handing of that affair is nothing compared to his brilliant manipulation of the Shirley Sherrod ‘white farmer’ scandal.

It all began last Monday, July 22, 2010. As the country watched in horror, Breitbart released a snippet of a tape on his “Big Government” site which showed an obscure black female official of the Dept. of Agriculture laughing to a roomful of NAACP members about how she’d discriminated against a destitute white farmer and refused to give him the financial aid he desperately needed. As she smirked to the room, she’d sent him instead to a white lawyer – ‘one of his own kind’ – for help. The black woman was Shirley Sherrod – and almost immediately she became the center of a firestorm of controversy which exploded throughout the country. Within a day of the release of that infamous tape, the head of the Dept. of Agriculture, spurred on by Obama, demanded – and received – Sherrod’s resignation. Breitbart had won.

But then seemingly Breitbart’s actions began to explode in his face. As Sherrod screamed in protest, FOX News released the entire text of her speech last March to the NAACP. And there on tape Sherrod was shown supposedly repenting of her racism against a white farmer and instead championing his fight to win funds to keep his farm afloat. Within hours of that entire tape being revealed, the entire world turned against Andrew Breitbart. Conservatives throughout the country were enraged that he’d endangered their reputations by releasing a ‘doctored’ tape. Breitbart, they thundered, had dealt a fatal blow to the conservative media. I confess that I also was horrified at what I saw as the clumsiness and stupidity of Breitbart in ‘doctoring’ a tape to make a supposedly innocent woman look guilty. But now I discover I have been as guilty of haste to judgment of Breitbart as the Dept. of Agriculture was of Ms. Sherrod.

Only now am I realizing the real purpose for Breitbart’s release of that tape snippet. It was to allow him to cunningly trick the media into exposing one of the most shocking examples of corruption in the federal government – a little known legal case called “Pigford v. Glickman”.

“In 1997, 400 African-American farmers sued the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging that they had been unfairly denied USDA loans due to racial discrimination during the period 1983 to 1997.” The case was entitled “Pigford v. Glickman” and in 1999, the black farmers won their case. The government agreed to pay each of them as much as $50,000 to settle their claims.

But then on February 23 of this year, something shocking happened in relation to that original judgment. In total silence, the USDA agreed to release more funds to “Pigford”. The amount was a staggering $1.25 billion. This was because the original number of plaintiffs – 400 black farmers – had now swollen in a class action suit to include a total of 86,000 black farmers throughout America.

There was only one teensy problem. The United States of America doesn’t have 86,000 black farmers. According to accurate and totally verified census data, the total number of black farmers throughout America is only 39,697. Oops.

Well, gosh – how on earth did 39,697 explode into 86,000 claims? And how did $50,000 explode into $1.25 billion? Well, folks, you’ll just have to ask the woman who not only spearheaded this case because of her position in 1997 at the “Rural Development Leadership Network” but whose family received the highest single payout (approximately $13 million) from that action – Shirley Sherrod. Oops again.

Yes, folks. It appears that Ms. Sherrod had just unwittingly exposed herself as the perpetrator of one of the biggest fraud claims in the United States – a fraud enabled solely because she screamed racism at the government and cowed them into submission. And it gets even more interesting. Ms. Sherrod has also exposed the person who aided and abetted her in this race fraud. As it turns out, the original judgment of “Pigford v. Glickman” in 1999 only applied to a total of 16,000 black farmers. But in 2008, a junior Senator got a law passed to reopen the case and allow more black farmers to sue for funds. The Senator was Barack Obama.

Because this law was passed in dead silence and because the woman responsible for spearheading it was an obscure USDA official, American taxpayers did not realize that they had just been forced in the midst of a worldwide depression to pay out more than $1.25 billion to settle a race claim.

But Breitbart knew. And last Monday, July 22, 2010, he cleverly laid a trap which Sherrod – and Obama – stumbled headfirst into which has now resulted in the entire world discovering the existence of this corrupt financial judgment. Yes, folks – Breitbart is a genius.

As for Ms. Sherrod? Well, she’s discovered too late that her cry of ‘racism’ to the media which was intended to throw the spotlight on Breitbart has instead thrown that spotlight on herself – and her corruption. Sherrod has vanished from public view. Her ‘pigs’, it seems, have come home to roost. Oink!

Robert W. Fortner