Thursday, March 31, 2005

Anti-stupidity Alert!

Rally for Social Security Reform

My dad just received this from the chairman of Washington's Republican party. Here is your opportunity to meet the American Warmonger in person. Hell, sounds like a fun afternoon. If I had time I'd bring my paper on it. As things are, I'll just have to wing it.

Democratic Senators Patty Murry, Maria Cantwell, Mary Landrieu, Barbara Boxer Blanche Linicoln and Barbera Mikulski will be holding a Town Hall Forum in Downtown Seattle to criticize President Bush's vision of strengthening Social Security. Democrats have been quick to condemn the president's plan but have failed to offer an alternative solution, save simply raising taxes.

Join Generations Together in a rally outside Seattle Town Hall to show your support for Social Security reform. Help send a message to Democrats. Work with President Bush to save Social Security!

Thursday, March 31
Seattle Town Hall
1119 8th Ave
(Entrance on Seneca Street)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I've been Terrilanched

This is just too weird. I've been watching my sitemeter climb the closer Terri gets to death. I went from around 120 hits to around 350 hits yesterday. Much of it had been from Hyscience or Blogs For Terri but yesterday was different. Yesterday I began recieveing a mess of hits from Terri herself. Yep, Terri has her own blog...well...sort of. Some smackboy decided it would be really funny to throw up a couple of posts with noises spelled out and call it Terri's blog. It was a really stupid idea.

I guess the most ironic part about this is that I had been priding myself on not being launched by any big blogs since my inception. Now here comes this sounding board of a topic that I have a semi-different idea about and everyone wants to tell me how much of an idiot I am for not agreeing completely with their truth about things. I am frankly very tired about this case. It has gone on much longer than it really needs to, but for some reason unbeknownst to me it has given me more traffic than I've ever had before.

So now that I'm getting a bunch of hits about this, here's the deal:

I'm rather sick of this whole ordeal and both sides of this case have really pissed me off. I no longer care if it's a dry or wet, hot or cold, sweet or sour death. I no longer care what your truth is on what life is or is not. Unless your name is Terri Schiavo you do not know what is going on...unless she's really PVS, then no one knows. I'm sure everyone has meant well with their articles saying Terri will feel no pain because this article says so, or she's really alive and only needs a shunt for a full recovery because of this article. It just doesn't matter to me anymore.

If you would like to debate the case on the merits of a person's rights to choice, whether PVS or not, by all means beat me up. If you have something on the legalities of what this could mean for future cases, by all means speak up. If you have irrefutable evidence as to why or why not Terri is or is not feeling something there are several other blogs that would love to take your truth and round file it. I, for one, am getting a bit tired of it.

..and I'd like to take this moment to apologize to my cousin for blowing up on her. This has been coming to a head for a while and I should have been a little more careful about the words I chose to write. I'm just getting a bit tired of being called wrong by people that only know their part of the truth.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Terri is Black!

According to reports Jesse Jackson has joined the fight for Terri Schiavo's life because those against her continued life have racist motives.
"This is one of the profound moral, ethical issues of our time, the saving of Terri's life," the civil rights leader said. "And today we pray for racial equality."

Mr. Jackson also made mention that:
"I have known black pedophiles and Terri is no pedophile." said Jackson. "The only thing Terri is guilty of is being comatose while black. This would not have happened to a white comatose patient.

Mr. Jackson also made mention that lack of brain capacity has never stopped him from making political, religious, ethical or even extramarital decisions before:
"Terri has no less brain capacity than I do. I am sure that with rehabilitation she and I will regain our ability to be effective and productive members of the black community in America, Lord willing.

He made reference to being able to help the world with the religious leader Osama Bin Laden and then had to have his feeding tube reinserted.

In honor of Nickie Goomba, this has been a satirical cross reference of Jesse Jackson in the news.
Michael Jackson and the Race Card: "Don't Leave Home Without It" by Larry Elder -- Capitalism Magazine - Jackson joins fight over feeding tube - Mar 29, 2005

Another fine blog

As promised, the EiP pink OLD Navy fleece pullover Babe has been provided with one all expenses paid blogger blog. It has been designed by yours truly, Franz. Chalk this one up as another fine blog by Pumping Pixels.

Please welcome Yup'ik Rock to the blogosphere!

If you would like another great design like this one, you know where to find me:

Eventually, I'll get the portfolio up, but right now I'm sort of supposed to be on vacation.

(note: I started Yup'ik Rock on Sunday. It's complete, or near complete on Monday night. Miss Patriot has been waiting for her blog design, from a competing designer, for several weeks now.)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Random thoughts on Terri

Well, the way things are looking Terri Schiavo will be passing on peacefully after her tongue swells and cracks, nose bleeds, etc, etc. and she finally has one last violent cardiac arrest. There's not much that can save her at this point. As far as I can tell any appeals will be going through Judge Kevorkian, so no reprieve will be found.

I've had some time to just think about the case and have sort of formed a different opinion about this whole situation. I've been contemplating whether I should post this or not. I don't want to tick off the right to lifers, but I'm not really one of them and sort of have to say something about it, so here goes:

If I were in Terri's shoes I would have wanted to be put down a long time ago. Could I recover? Hell, I don't know, but I wouldn't want to be left as a treant. I say treant because I don't think she's a vegetable, but I don't really think she'll ever be all there no matter what sort of therapy she gets. I doubt she would even be able to do anything without major assistance. I would want to be put to death. I do not follow with the ideal that all life is precious no matter how crappy it is. If you want to be put down I have no problems with it. More power to you.

To caveat this I believe I have taken more of the libertarian approach on this issue. I feel that Terri did not give the proper indication to decide one way or the other about her state. I don't believe one side or the other as to whatever she said. I think they're both lying about things.

It seems rather curious to be as to why someone would wait over seven years to say that she wanted to be put to death. On the same token, I don't believe that she made judgment to the contrary either. How many people in their mid twenties have really thought about a living will?...okay, BEFORE Terri Schiavo? Have YOU written you living will?

As an example, my mom, Patty-Jo, is 48 years old and has a free living will sitting on the table, unfinished. She'll get around to it...maybe. Sigh. I really don't think Terri paid it a second thought and both sides are wrong.

Now having said this, the only two groups able to determine Terri's condition are the government and Terri herself. Since Terri has this really strong speech impediment she can't quite speak for herself. I really wish that Judge Doom had given her over to DCF. They may not be the most kind and gentle people when it come to certain things, but at least you could get a third impartial party involved.

To throw out the devil's advocate argument, Judge Greer and all of the other judges do not really care about all of the facts. Greer has made up his mind many years ago and the rest of the judiciary is standing behind him on solidarity alone. Even if they looked at the records they already had a decision in their minds. It was over before it started, and that's really screwed up. That is why I would prefer, personally, to see DCF get permitted to look into this...which Judge Dredd dismissed.

The whole point I'm trying to make is that the only person who can make the life and death decision for Terri is Terri. That is why I believe this is wrong. Does it happen in many more cases than this where the judiciary will make life or death decisions? Yes, and that's rather screwed up too. It's rather unfortunate that the lady down in Texas had her baby pulled off the ventilator without her permission and there is nothing that can legally be done. Mom should have had the choice, it's constitutional: LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

...and if I'm ever in the same situation, pull a Kevorkian. I'll come back from the dead and kill you all if I'm starved to death...try me.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I just can't leave well enough alone

Well, I've made the major change to my site layout. If need be, I can change it back at the drop of a hat. My blog site is sort of like my sketch pad for ideas.

Speaking of ideas, my next major task will be moving the sidebars from the right to the left, staggering them and matching the towers to the top of my sidebars.

Let me know if it would be too much. I wouldn't want to offend anyone.

Almost forgot, Today I'll by flying out to Washington state to meet up with family. Depending on how things go I may be blogging a bit less than usual. I thought of bringing in a gnome to help with the rif-raf while I'm out, but we all know how that ends up.

My old offer of having a second blogger for the blog still stands. If you're willing to give up your own blog I may be willing to give you half of the proceeds*

*This site does not take in any money.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Just put up a new indie tune. He sounds like a Skynard age band. The clip is short, but don't make that keep you from litening or picking up his album. I haven't heard music like this since...well...Skynard.

Go give it a listen on the right, under "Supporting Indie Bands".

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Schiavo parents prepare Supreme Court appeal

Well, it's down to the wire folks. There's not much left to be done. There's about two more possible saves in this case. So, what are these saves?

1. An appeal to the Supreme Court of the U.S. can be made. It would be an unprecedented event for the same court that has refused to hear this case several times before. Considering the reaction of several lower courts, it does not look like the Democrat heavy Supreme Court will even see the case, let alone vote in favor of giving Terri life.

2. DCF in Florida has recently had a neurologist examine Terri's medical record and determined that there was a likely misdiagnosis. He considered her "most likely in a state of minimal conciousness". What this means is that DCF can intervene if it so chooses and deem Terri a ward of the state. This would take all decision making abilities from and of the current people in the case and make it a decision based on DCF's findings, free and clear of persuasion by either side. This appears to be the most logical choice in this case.

So what would Terri becoming a ward of the state enable?

Making Terri a ward of the state would enable the personal backstabbing on both sides of things come to an end. There would be no opportunity for Michael Schiavo to intimidate doctors, nurses, small shrubberies, etc. from providing care and/or therapy to Terri. He would no longer be able to prevent video from reaching the court system through legal means, swallow tests from being done, personal effects in the room, strolls outside, etc. He could no longer manipulate the situation in any way shape or form.

On the other side of this coin, the Schindlers will no longer be able to slander Michael about what he has and has not done. There are oodles of rumors flying this way and that about what people have or have not said or done. Putting this in the hands of DCF would put things on a level playing field and prevent the he said/she said.

Whatever happens we need to have it happen, it needs to happen soon. Terri's basically on a state imposed hunger strike and if anything is delayed she will get nothing but dead.

Template change - yet again.

I've tweaked my template ever so slightly...can anyone tell?

Let me know if the new background image makes it hard to read, I'll lighten the pic up a bit.

Teach, let me know if I'm still covered for the American Flag League. If not, I'll change the image to the firefighters with the flag.

Should I change back? Should I keep it? How's it look?

A letter from th Daily Blitz

Jheka, of The Daily Blitz, recieved an e-mail calling for essays from 17-25 year olds. I'm too old to write for them, but you might be right up their alley. Here is the letter that was sent to Jheka:
My name is Seth Spores; I am one of the three editors and co-founders of College Tree Publishing. We contacted hundreds of university and college conservative and liberal groups, political science departments, and university news papers and requested essay submissions from people in the 17 to 25 year old age group on political and social issues. The end result was What We Think: Young Voters Speak Out, which was put out nationally in late October. The book was meant to be a running forum for political _expression of America's youngest voting demographic, and in that regard has been a success. Since the book was published in October, the book has already received national press on CNN, MSNBC, an hour long special on CSPAN-Book TV and has been nominated for the Franklin Award.

We are a non-partisan company possessing a Republican, Democrat and Libertarian leaning editor, trying to give fair and equal voice to all ideologies present among college age youth. We are currently accepting submissions for our next two books, What We Think 2 and What We Think About God and looking to increase the number of well written pieces. Our goal is to receive 10,000 submissions from now through summer, and to publish the top 200 to 300 in late third quarter.

I am contacting many blogs and other forms of media not necessarily connected to Universities, in hopes of reaching a wider base of essayists. We would like to know if you would run a short story on your blog, stating that we are requesting submissions for national publication. All authors are given full credit for their work, a short bio is dedicated to them in the back of the books, and we've been arranging book signings and talks across the country for authors in our current edition so these young authors get the credit and visibility they deserve. Let me stress finally that individuals submitting need not be in college to qualify for publication.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or requests for more information,
Seth Charles Guy Spores
Editor and Co-Founder of College Tree Publishing

If you're 17-25 years old and capable of forming readable material there is a good chance you could have your essay published. Maybe I could lie about my age?

Anyway, Jheka is a good writer, good lawyer, and good Russian (as far as I can tell from only a snippet of reading his stuff). GO give him a look see.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


I was minding my own business when I heard about this Gnome guy that quit his post over at Chuck's Place. He was supposed to guard the place from Harvey and Nick bringing in strippers and beer while Chuck went out to party for spring break.

Well, it didn't take long for Ogre and GM Roper to come by with the needed supplies to bust the place wide open. The next thing you know the gnome was going on a little spring break of his own. Hell, he went on another world tour.

Somewhere along the line he got a bit of color in his life and he's hanging out at my blog now:

Beer and Strippers

I think the thing that Chuck may have forgotten was that gnomes are suckers for what Chuck was trying to prevent from getting brought in:

That was an easy one. Gnomes love beer. If you have more than two beer steins at home I'd be willing to bet that you're suffuring from "gnome encroachment" as well.

MMMMMmmmm.... Beer...

This was the hard part. You see, gnomes could really care less about long legged buxom blondes. Most gnomes aren't mountain climbers and don't want to go through the trials and tribulations of climbing some huge chick. Luckily, we were able to find this little lady hanging in one of the more seedy parts of town:

Hot Stuff Baby!

What a looker!

The moral of this story: Don't trust a gnome with a bad example, for he will rope him in with an ogre and end up with one hell of a paradox.

Please Help
This gnome needs traveling time. He's on a world tour. Put him on your blog. Write up a small story...or not. Trackback to Nick Here:

We're trying to get a full listing of where the gnome has been so Chuck can see when he gets back. Let's make sure the gnome has a better trip than he does!

If you need a trackback tool you can use Wizbang's Standalone Trackback Pinger.

Marking World Water Day, UN to launch Water for Life Decade

Yes, I'm spinning this for Terri Schiavo. Wouldn't it be sort of fitting to put her back on food and WATER today? I mean, she'll go by dehydration before she goes by starvation. Maybe God was waiting for the right day, sort of a coincidental occurrence?

One can hope, can't we?

Monday, March 21, 2005

GM Roper for king!

Yep, GM Roper has a talent for kissing the judges. He's done a wonderful job at it. So good in fact that he's wooed me as well. So, on for week two. WOO WOO!

Okay, that sounded bad. Nevermind. I'm voting for GM Roper to continue his riegn as the new king of blogs. In fact, I believe the handing of the crown ceremony has just taken place. I handed my crown down in absentia. I still don't know where Absentia is but I must have been there. I was busy getting my teeth laser whitened. In an hour and a half my teeth have gone from a shade of yellow sticky to damn near copier paper color. This incredible imporvement only comes at the cost of about $575 (Normally $650 but they're running a $75 off deal for a while.)

Anyway, go vote!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Fixing Social Security: The Options

Something that has been taking the front seat in the news today is Social Security. It has become something of the political hotbed in the past few months. We hear everything from there being no problem within Social Security to the current state of Social Security casing the fall of America in less than ten years. The truth of the matter is that none of us are completely sure as to what will happen. We have several options on the table and what I intend to do is define them in a manner that will simplify the effects each has on our society.

To begin, we need to define our current system and the factors involved with it. This article will deal with just a few aspects of the system: The age in which you are collecting, the totals payroll costs of the system and what portion of your salary is going to fund the system.

At the age of 62 you are eligible to receive minimum benefits for social security. At this age you can chose to get into the system at a reduced rate, or wait until subsequent years and receive a greater percentage of your graduated salary. Here is the statement included about retirement at age 62 from SSA.GOV:
You can get Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but if you retire before your full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced, based on your age. For example, if you retire at age 62, your benefit would be about 20 percent lower than what it would be if you waited until you reach full retirement age.

Your full retirement age at present is 67 for anyone born after 1960 and 65 for anyone born after 1937 with various changes in age requirements between those years. You can also chose to work until the age of 70 and gain increased benefits. A good representative of this system is also found at SSA.GOV:
Each additional year you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings may mean higher benefits when you retire.

Also, your benefit will increase automatically by a certain percentage from the time you reach your full retirement age until you start receiving your benefits or until you reach age 70. The percentage varies depending on your year of birth. For example, if you were born in 1943 or later, we will add 8 percent per year to your benefit for each year that you delay signing up for Social Security beyond your full retirement age.

The next factor in this system is how much money you will receive at retirement. For simplicity’s sake, we shall use the SSA.GOV calculator to determine your income considering a person earning $60,000 for at least 10 years. We will not be including the inflation estimate as it gives an inflated number of valuations that do not equate to today’s current value. Retirement values per month are:
Age 62: $1,263.00
Age 67: $1,794.00
Age 70: $2,224.00

If these numbers seem small to you remember that social security was never meant to entirely replace other means of retirement. It was meant as a means of preventing poverty in old age. However, over time it has included several other at-risk populations, but was still not meant as one’s only means of income. (Sharp, 401) In fact, only 18% of Americans use it as such today. (Sharp, 408) It wasn’t meant to enhance your life, only sustain it.

To add an extra factor to this from someone observing the things that happen at retirement age, the above numbers are not as meager as the look. This comes into effect by taking note of the standard 30-year mortgage. Most Americans will own their own home by the age of retirement or before. The mortgage normally consists of about half of your total income. Say, for example, you are making about $4,000 per month (the calculation of $60,000 a year and 20% income tax) you will receive about half of that at retirement age or only slightly less.

The last factor required in order to better understand the current situation is how much social security is costing today. I am going to have to split this up into two different sections. There are topics that cover both the taxed end of things, and then there is the total of all Social security revenues combined for payout to our seniors and other at-risk populations.

As the current tax system for social security stands, we will pay 1.45% of our pay to Medicare and 6.2% towards Social Security. The business end of this is matching that of your individual contribution. It equates to 15.3% of your payroll. Once we reach $80,400 in earnings per year we no longer have the payroll tax on either side, but the Medicare tax of 1.45% remains on both sides, employer and employee. This makes your additional taxes total 2.9% of your remaining pay over $80,400. This will actually change the $4,000 per month at a base of $60,000 per year after taxes to $3,694 monthly. This means $306 of your hard earned money goes towards Social Security and Medicare every month.

The last portion of things that needs to be understood is the amount of money required to fund social security and where it is officially headed. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that spending for Social Security, adjusted for inflation, will rise from $483 billion in 2003 to $2.5 trillion in 2075. Those estimates are based on CBO's 10-year baseline budget outlook and the "intermediate" long-range assumptions of the trustees of the Social Security system.

From some of the reports I have been hearing about Social Security, I was under the assumption that we were paying a lot more into the system. To quote Professor Kim, Strayer University online:
Out of about $2.2 trillion government spending each year, 32% is spent on Social Security and Medicare…

If this were true, 32% of 2.2 trillion dollars equates to $704 billion instead of the aforementioned $483 billion. There are several other examples of misrepresented numbers and it appears that you can get a different answer to this question simply by asking another official who has checked his or her own numbers. It has become an area of extreme confusion. The best representation of accuracy that can be mustered is the Summary of the 2004 Annual Reports from SSA:

Summary of 2004 Annual Reports

Now we need to compare this rate of inflated Social Security benefits to the age demographics of people through several generations. This is where we can cross-reference and determine at what age Social Security will run out

Births by age and gender

By looking at the chart and calculating how much will be owed, it appears the first major decline in this system will rear its ugly head in 5-50 years. This is when those aged 50 will be 62, the minimum required age or 67, the fully vested age of Social security. If you’ll notice, 10 years after that, we will be in a much worse predicament, when those that are in their 40s are of retirement age.

Now that we have defined the problem we need to determine what can be done to fix it. How can we save Social security so that we don’t bankrupt America? As the government sees it there are effectively three methods of accomplishing this. They are raising the tax rate for those paying in, increasing the age of retirement or creating personal retirement accounts.

Personal savings accounts (PSA), in reality, do nothing to directly change the Social Security deficit. What they do is put a portion of your funds into a more direct account that you can have some personal control over. It does a lot to increase your personal retirement wealth, but does not fund the system. It really doesn’t do much against the system either. Remember that every dollar taken out of the system is a dollar that doesn’t need to be repaid to that particular retiree. Since the overall burden would be smaller the general fund would be more capable of supporting the smaller system.

According to initial ideals, the startup of this program would be one third of your social security benefits being put into your PSA. Taking the 2004 OASI from earlier, if left in a vacuum, we are left with 372 billion in the system. We are not in a vacuum though and will be subject to several external forces that may equate with a greater or smaller reduction in overall OASI.

As a sub-system within this program the extra money that is to be gained over the current system is at a minimum 9% more than Social Security's COLA adjustments per year. This is according to the total return on stocks after inflation for the past 50 years (From 1950-1999) as compared with COLA, or straight inflation adjustment. (Sharp, 414)

Rate of return for stocks

The first thing that we need to do to this 9.73% is to remove the 1% handling fee accorded to the model we are using for PSA, The Thrift Savings Plan. (TSP.GOV) This leaves us with an average of 8.73% gain on the current Social Security plan annually. The true rate of your return can vary by choosing either the G, F, C, S or I varieties of mutual funds or even lose money in the event of something completely catastrophic. (The two years after 9/11 were two such years.)

Some of the additional 8.73% on average could even go towards funding the aging Social Security structure. I believe 2% would bring in approximately four billion in free revenues. It would still leave an average annual gain of 6.73% over COLA for the individual per year.

Another potential hazard is something called the ripple effect. This is where you take a large sum of money and pump it into the stock market, artificially boosting stock prices. In the stock market’s need to retain stability the stock will flux downward to adjust for the real worth of a stock. It will retain several smaller ripples to the initial drop of 202 billion into the market, and eventually level off slightly higher than if no influx of cash were ever made.

To put this in perspective, Toys ‘R’ Us recently agreed to they buyout figure of 6.6 billion dollars. (MSN Money) The stock for this company instantly increased 8%. For the same 8% push from the 202 billion dropped into PSA’s you would only need to invest in 31 total companies. Each of the five TSP funds has several times more than this. (The C fund matches the S&P 500, or Standard and Poor’s top 500 performing stocks.)

Increasing the tax burden on Social Security has had success in preventing the total melt down of the system. It has also had some adverse effects on GDP. This is a basic principle of economics theorized under “Tax Incidence and Efficiency Loss. (McConnell, 652) The more you tax people, the less money there is to be taxed. This system contains an equilibrium point that we are currently close to already. Unless you plan on getting creative with how you tax people, like raising the payroll tax cap from 80,400 to something like 100,000, then you will have potentially created an economic recession, or at a minimum, a decrease in economic and tax revenue progression. The biggest question you would need to ask is if we are currently at, above or below our tax versus income equilibrium.

The third option on the table is that of changing the age of retirement. Currently the ages of retirement are 62 for your minimum available payout, 67 for your full payout (if you were born after 1960), and up to 70 for an extra payout. Theoretically, you could raise each of these ages by one or two and reap an overall tax savings of hundreds of billions of dollars. It would make sense too. People are living longer than ever before. The overall benefits per individual would be reduced to a more manageable level and you would be matching your system to a longer living society. Unfortunately, this would only delay the inevitable by one or two years. Politicians, being who they are, would more than likely spend the money in other programs and in turn have nothing left over for our seniors. They did it before in the 1990s when there was a surplus in the general fund that could have gone to insure Social security but chose to retire some of the national debt held by the public. (Sharp, 413)

So there you have it, three distinctly different alternatives to the problem of social security. Each system holds its benefits and drawbacks for implementation. The wrangling you hear on either side of the political fence is greatly exaggerated. You hear about how Bush plans to destroy the system through private accounts. (AARP) You hear how no one could feasibly survive on Social Security as it stands today. (CATO Institute) It appears the only thing they can agree on, now, is that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. That wasn’t even the case a month ago. You heard several voices of Democrat origins claim there was absolutely no problem. This is false. There is a very real problem that needs to be addressed immediately; not tomorrow or next year, today. The only way to destroy Social Security is to do nothing about it. We need to fix it.


Sharp, Ansel M., Register, Charles A., and Grimes, Paul W., Economics of Social Issues. 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2004.

McConnel, Campbell R., Brue, Stanley L., Economics. 14th ed. Irwin/McGraw-Hill. 1999

Social Security Administration (SSA): Retirement age and benefits quotes:

Social Security Administration (SSA): SSA Retirement Calculator

Congressional Budget Office (CBO): Current costs of Social Security:

Comments from week 10 Strayer Online ECO405 Professor Kim, Hong-Jin:

Thrift Savings Plan:

MSN Money: Toys R Us buyout

Crossposted at: Blogger News Network

Social Security - Condensed

There is a full version coming shortly that will expand on this topic in much greater detail coming later tonight. It will prove the conjectures presented here.

Social Security will go bankrupt in five to fifteen years. There are three viable ways of preventing this from happening; Personal Savings Accounts, increasing or modifying the social security tax (yes, it's a friggin' tax, not a donation), or modifying the age at which benefits are reached.

Personal savings accounts (PSA), in reality, do nothing to directly change the Social Security deficit. What they do is put a portion of your funds into a more direct account that you can have some control over, albeit very little. The only deficit benefit reached through PSA's are a reduced overall Social Security system that can be funded more easily through the general fund. Afraid that the start up costs would kill us? Think again. The Thrift Savings Plan has been in effect for several years and runs at an overhead of only one percent.

As a sub-system within this program the extra money that is to be gained over the current system is at a minimum 9% more than Social Security's COLA adjustments per year. I'm sure some brilliant Senator or Congressman has already eyed this pot of money for his or her private tax dollars. Some of it could go to fund the outdated Social Security system, maybe 2% would suffice? It would still leave an average annual gain of 7% over COLA for the individual per year.

Increasing the tax burden on Social Security has had success in preventing the total melt down of the system. It has also had some adverse effects on GDP. If any of you have taken a basic college economics class you would be familiar with the static rules for taxes vs. available funds for GDP. The more you tax people, the less money there is to be taxed. This system contains an equilibrium point that we are currently close to already. Unless you plan on getting creative with how you tax people, like raising the payroll tax cap from 80,400 to something like 100,000, then you will have potentially created an economic depression.

The third option on the table is that of changing the age of retirement. Currently the ages of retirement are 62 for your minimum available payout, 67 for your full payout (in most cases), and 70 for extra payout. Theoretically, you could raise each of these ages by one or two and reap an overall tax savings of hundreds of billions of dollars. It would make sense too. People are living longer than ever before. Unfortunately, this would only delay the inevitable by one or two years. Politicians, being who they are, would more than likely spend the money in other programs and in turn have nothing left over for our seniors.

Hopefully this has piqued your interest ever so slighly as to what could happen to Social Security. We really are in dire straights right now. The full data and essay will be available later tonight. I just thought you would like a sampler.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Houses Suck

Some of you may know my woes about heating and cooling. For a few years now I had to turn off my older computer because it would overheat and reboot. In the winter we would freeze. It was not a pleasant experience.

A few days ago we noticed that our thermostat had started kicking into Emergency Heat all by itself and then proceed to blow cold air. Our first thought was that it was the thermostat. It was old, really old. It was mercury powered old. We figured it had given up the ghost. If it hadn't it would be good to have a newer thermostat anyway.

I went to Lowes, picked up a cheap $40 digital one and thought it would be good. Little did I know that EM Heat was a special feature and there were no less than seven wires behind the old mercury thermostat. So, after returning that one and picking up the super, monster, do everything except do dishes for you, $80 programmable that would do EM Heat it was installed.

The problem did not abate itself. The exact same problem occurred, exept this time it was called AUX Heatand was in digital. Luckily we have friends that have A/C Heating and Repair freinds. We were shocked to be informed that the AC unit we had was the oldest one he had ever seen. It was 25 years old. He gave us the option of a quick $250 resealing and cleaning or the more costly but more needed replacement offer. For $3,395 we could have a complete brand new 3 1/2 ton Ducane AC and Heating system. Tomorrow we shall see if the new system does any better than the old one. There goes our new fence budget for the year.

The end is not yet here from our house woes. Today we woke up to no hot water either. The hot water heater is only about two years old. There is no way we lost both elements early. So, after checking the breaker about five times we called the same freind that knew the AC guy. Luckily, the guy we called is an electrician and came over faster than Dominoes. We were both puzzled. The system turned out to be getting no power. We checked the breaker and everything seemed to be in working order. On a wild hunch, he individually reset every single breaker except for the main.

Thank God for friends. Without them I'd be putting that damn thing up on the market tomorrow. Even with a crappy AC and no hot water I'm sure I could still pull off $250,000-$300,000. Thank God for a great housing economy.

Allah or Jesus

Have you ever heard of a guy by the name of Rick Mathes? Well, I have. I received an e-mail the other day from him the other day and remembered the name from somewhere but couldn't place it. Google is my friend.

Rick is the prison minister that completely annihilated a Muslim Imam when he came to speak at his prison. He sent me an article entitled "LETTER TO IRAQI PATRIOTS" for potential publishing, but I'm going to post the "Allah or Jesus" article that gained him some notoriety:


I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my state prison security clearance and during the training session there was a presentation by three speakers who represented the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths who explained their belief systems. I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say.

The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam complete with a video. After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers. When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked: “Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that all of the Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?"

There was no disagreement with my statements and without hesitation he replied, "Non-believers!"

I responded, “So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to heaven. Is that correct?”

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, “Yes.”

I then said, “Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Pat Robertson or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to heaven.”

The Imam was speechless.

I continued, “I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question…would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in order to go to heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and wants you to be with me?”

You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame.

Chuck Colson once told me something that has sustained me these 20 years of prison ministry. He said to me, “Rick, remember that the truth will prevail.”

And it will!

In my minds eye, this seems a bit extreme, and only represents one Imam's ideas and not the entirety of the Muslim religion...or does it?

But don't take it from me, go to the source, Rick Mathes.

Friday, March 18, 2005

More music

It's about time I changed the music a bit in here. Go listen to "Shady Grove" by Celtic Soul. just click the play button over on the right.

Terri Schiavo update

Well, I haven't said anything about Terri in a while, 'cept to eat a troll over at Holy they're tasty. Today has been a rather important day in the case.

Lets see, congress tried to get her to testify about Jason Giambi taking steroids...oops, sorry. That was the wrong congressional subpeona. She was subpeona'd to speak on behalf of people that have around 30 written statements from doctors saying you can get better, but being classified PVS because a judge deems it so. I think that's what it's about, right? We live in a really crappy place when a state judge is capable of deciding federal law. And I thought it was DOCTORS that had a god complex.

Anyway, back to the case at hand.

Relax everyone. Terri will not be dying any time soon. The House and the Senate are working right now to finalize the wording for the act that will prevent things like this from happening. If the Democrats think a fillibuster is called for I may have to shoot a few of them myself. Maybe I could give a few of them PVS while I'm at it.

Honestly, you shouldn't be listening to me on this matter. I'm just a poor source for this stuff. Roll on over to Cao's Blog. She's been rolling full steam ahead since this thing began. The only people I might give more props to on this are Hyscience and Blogs For Terri...maybe.

As bloggers we have done something to be proud of: We have made the Lesgistive branch take action to save a life.

No Time to Blog

I've been pressed to the limit for time this week. I have very little time to blog. In the meantime, go visit another one of my creations: Solomon's House If not for my template talent, but for the guy's sporadic and on target commentary.

Since I'm doing this in notepad, waiting for blogger to load, I have a moment to talk about Yemen. Jane, over at Armies of Liberation has a petition running, and would like you to sign it if you haven't already. Several middle east nations are buckling under to new found democracy and Yemen should not be one of the places left behind. GO make yourself count. Go sign the petition. You don't have to write anything fancy, you just have to stamp your big red X on some digital paper. The petition is to free a journalist who spoke out against the president of Yemen, who is also the superior judge there. You've heard of freedom of the press, right?

Last, but not least, how do you like the color change? I think I'm going to keep the sidebar color, because it makes things pop a bit more. I might change the center back to the tan color. Any ideas, let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Day For Green Beer!

It's Saint Patrick's day! Woo Hoo! You can't pinch me! I went green!

For those that are looking for something a little more traditional and can't get to Ireland today to kiss the Blarney Stone, I've brought all that magic home with me. Just pucker up and smooch on the big green X.

Kiss my stones!

Now tonight be sure that it is the beer that remains green and not your stomach!

Buy my stuff

I finally broke down and got a Cafepress site. Yes, the thong is there in case you're wondering. It's just not a Cafepress site without a thong! I just started it up and if you want to see a different design let me know and we can hook that up. Until then, go buy some T-Shirts!

[I have coffee mugs too!]
[Wouldn't it be cool to have a shirt that just says: American Warmonger?]

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Guys! I'm RETIRED!

Okay, it all started with Rusty from The Jawa Report breaking through his millionth hit. Honestly, it couldn't happen to a nicer blogger. He really deserves the traffic and has been rather kind to me throughout the blog-years (months). I congratulate Rusty on making a mark that many other bloggers may never reach. (Coincidentally, I just went over 15,000, just to put things in perspective.)

The intreaguing part is the comment he put in his millionth post:
GM Roper is trying to replace American Warmonger as the new King of Blogs competition. He's got my vote.

Really, I appreciate the link, but it sounds like Rusty has chosen sides between me and GM Roper....or at least that's how someone took it. The same statement could also mean:
GM Roper is vying for the crown that American Warmonger will be handing down after his forced retirement after three wins in the King of blogs tournament. I vote for him. So should you.

Sure, it's a little more wordy, but it solves problems like this:
Rusty at The Jawa Report says: "GM Roper is trying to
replace American Warmonger as the new King of Blogs
competition. He's got my vote."

I'd like to publish a 1-paragraph campaign statement
(50 words or so) from each of you about why you should
be King of Blogs. Are you game?

I'll include a link to both blogs.


Brian Blazevic

San Diego, California

The whole thing seems a bit funny to me. I think Rusty understood the situation, but wrote it in such a way as someone became confused. I'll give them both the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't mean I can't have fun with it. So, Brian, here's my paragraph in 50 words or less:
I do not know if I am a better king. I do know who the three judges are though: Songstress7, Mr. Ober, and PIETRO, not Nick Queen. I am also familiar with what makes the judges happy. After three consecutive wins and retirement you sort of learn these things.

Word Count: 49

Gee, I hope I win!...Okay, this has become a noteriety piece. I have to give it up to GM Roper. I'll be tracking this back the the KOTB and voting for him as well.

One more thing: New Eagle has me on his blogroll. I shall reciprocate.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Thank you

Well, I should have done this yesterday but was way too busy to think. Now that I've been able to assemple my thoughts, I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me, trackbacked, left nice comments, or otherwise pledged your support. You know who you are, but others do not, so here goes the list of people I know about:

Daisy Cutter
Julie with a B (and all three of her work computers)
Holy TornadoPirate's Cove
Silver Surfer 9090
Dr. Sanity
West Coast Chaos

If I missed your name let me know and I'll fix it.

Again, thank-you everybody!

I would also like to thank the judges for being wonderful sports about my constant abuse of the english language. If I ever need an editor I'll know where to turn.

Songstress7 from News From the Great Beyond (I still can't remember your real name.)
Ogre from Ogre's Politics and Views
Pietro From SmarterCop

The judges are only part of this though. I would like to thank the people that run this whole she-bang:

Nick Queen (Who is a real king among men...and just nominated me for the promised land!)
Christweb (who seems to be down.)
King of Fools

Most of all, I'd like to thank all of Munuviana for hosting such an event. Without them none of this would be possible. (Does this qualify as suck up points for the Ellis Island vote?)

Monday, March 14, 2005

COMING SOON.... a blogosphere near you.

Pumping Pixels

Getting tired of that tired looking blogger template? Having problems getting your Movable Type to move? Getting the full court press for trying to play with Wordpress?

We are Hanz and Franz and we are guaranteed to pump your blog up!

Have you noticed the lack of testosterone in blog design? Tired of blog designers that make you look like a girlie man? Are you a girlie man that want's to fake it?

We are here to help bring some muscle back to blog design. The bloginators are coming to restore your symmetry.

Come get your blog deeezigned or we will pop your neck like a cheeken' bone...pop.

[Steroids not included. Llamas on request.]
[We can do kickin' blogs for girls as well!]

Blogger News is getting old...

...well okay, Blogger News has just turned one month old. There is a call out for centrist and left minded bloggers to counteract people like me.

They're also looking for someone to design a cool banner and several buttons. I already have a few buttons on the way. I still need to work on a few banners, but the contest is open to all of the BNN members.

If you think you have what it takes to pontificate as good as a windbag like me go ahead and sign up. At last count there were 77 writers and growing. I think I may need to invite Orcinus if he hasn't already been invited. I've heard he's a good solid lefty.

Trusting NZ Bear

Well, I've re-added my Alliance blogroll and the TTLB thingie...with a twist. I've also rearanged some of my stuff to accomodate the massiveness of the Alliance blogroll. If things start to get slow again let me know and I'll ditch the blogroll again.

In the meantime, check out the music by Queenie. She's much more mellow than I'm accustomed to, but she's really got a nice clean voice.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Marines driven out of UAW lot

for having Bush bumper stickers?

Can you say asinine? I knew ya' could!

"While reservists certainly have the right to drive nonunion made vehicles and display bumper stickers touting the most anti-worker, anti-union president since the 1920s, that doesn't mean they have the right to park in a lot owned by the members of the UAW," the union said in a statement released Friday.

Great, leave it to the unions to segregate free speech. I thought it was us Repugs to try and silence people.

Sorry, I forgot, we're talking about the Maybe if American car companies could produce something worth while people wouldn't drive the most dependable vehicles on the road. Maybe it's the American car companies that haven't been "always faithful" (Semper Fidelis)? Here's some data on that:
Lower score is better:
1. Lexus - Japanese
2. Buick - Who drives a buick?
3. Infiniti - Japanese
4. Lincoln - Who can afford a Lincoln?
5. Cadillac - Repeat the Lincoln line.
6. Honda - Japanese
7. Acura - Japanese
8. Toyota - Japanese (seeing the pattern yet?)
9. Mercury - Crazy 'bout a Mercury? Me neither.
10. Porsche - Porsche is more reliable than a Ford, GMC or Chevrolet?

J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study

Anyone surprised by the list? I'm not. Both the Focus I now own and the Escort I used to own, both new, came defect free. Both had to be taken into Ford for repairs before the 36,000 mile mark. They also had several factory recalls for various things as well.

I'll start supporting the UAW when they start supporting me again. THe Marine commander, Lt. Col. Joe Rutledge or the 1st Battalion 24th Marines feels similarly:
"You either support the Marines or you don't," said Lt. Col. Joe Rutledge, commanding officer of the battalion's active duty instructors. "I'm telling my Marines that they're no longer parking there."

It's okay Col. they stopped supporting the U.S. many years ago.

Hat Tip: Sir George of The Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiler

Human rights off China agenda

Our stupid news of the day comes to us via Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer. What a fitting name.
"If you try to get into a trade negotiation ... if you make human rights issues conditions of trade negotiations that will be rejected with China, or for that matter with any other country," he said on ABC radio.

"You're not going to succeed in getting the human rights agenda mixed with the trade agenda.

"You won't get the free trade agreement and you won't get any improvements in human rights.

"So it's a symbolic thing to do, but it would be utterly fruitless."

Sorry for the pun: It seems like he's a real Downer.

So what other leverage does the world have over China or any other country than its right to free trade? China has been a Communist country for many years. They bank on thier ability to produce goods for other countries. If we can get the international backing to cut of trade, start an embargo, restrict trade, etc. then China will have no choice but to deal with their problems.

Another unregistered factor is their new president is the closest thing they've had to a democratic model of a president in recent history, and quite possibly ever. President Hu has been the young upstart in the Chinese government that seems to have the silver tongue that everyone listens to. If you can get him to understand that his country will suffer if they keep up with their bad human rights record then maybe the country will follow.

Of course, you can always just be a Downer and think with your pocketbook.

The best unknown blog on the web

Yes, I'm delacring myself the best unknown blog on them web. Why am I doing this? Well, it's because I'm vain. No, really folks. Head on over to the TTLB and look through the links and tell me one soul in the top 200 that gets an average hit count of LESS than 200 a day. Did I stump you? Yeah, I thought I did.

Okay, there's ONE guy I know that's in the same boat: William Teach of Pirate's Cove. I think the only difference between him and me is that he's been launched by a couple of his articles. Well, that's not entirely true. I was Jawalaunched once, a very long time ago. This was back before even Shack was getting big numbers.

To be completely honest, the most hits I've ever had in one day is around 220-230. The only reason I was that high was because I saved up all of my Blogexplosion! points and released them all on the same day.

The only reason I write this is because I'm about to go over the 100 threshold...maybe. I'm sitting at 114 today and in 47 more links I'll be in the top 100. This is a really wierd predicament. Maybe it's just that bloggers love me but regular people hate me? I dunno, whatever.

End confused, upside down rant.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I am the KING!...of sucking up.

In the last episode of this I did a little Jack Spade impersonation. In this one I'm just gonna whip it out. I've had a bit of happy juice so screw it all.


Songstress7 of News From The Great Beyond:

Writer's Block. Everyone gets it. In fact, I sort of have it myself right now. The best remedy is to just grab the closest meme, or any unfinished post you have available and just do it. It's not about putting something out that matters it's about breaking the lock. Fifty other bloggers already say the exact same thing? I doesn't matter. If what you write turns out to be the absolutely worst thing you've ever written it is still better than writing nothing.

Usually, what works for me when I'm a bit off is poetry. Just sit and stew about your feelings for a while and come back to the canvas (keyboard) and just whip it out. Don't spell check a damn thing until after you've published it. If you go back and look at what you've written you'll just delete it.

Ogre of Ogre's Politics and views:

I am incapable of linking to all of the fine posts you have put together in the past week. Yo have your iron in so many fires it is white hot. It can boost your traffic up to around 250-300, but after that it's sort of a vacant lot. You are at the top of the envelope from breaking into the mainstream, but you've got a hometown, christian based spirit at heart. If you have a choice of going big time or sticking with your roots, I hope you chose your roots...purely for selfish reasons.

Pietro of SmarterCop:

I can't really get to you too much. I've thrown up a couple of comments here and there. I've looked for some interaction, but you seem to be taking this judge thing pretty seriously. I can't get through. Kudos on your integrity.

As for what you're posting, I like the idea of a round up, but you may want to change it to a weekly deal, and only use your own material. You and Ogre have the same probelm: too many memes for one typist.

Good luck to all of the judges and remember that a threepeat would be really cool.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Linking up with the Joneses

Okay, I'm running out of good titles for this little link update post thing. The first thing I need to do is clear out some of my e-mail, so here goes:

A.J. van Hemert runs Data Source75, a link directory. Does he have original content? Nope. He's just a link hound. So am I. If you like links you'll love A.J.

SSG Anthony Roberts runs a blog called Jumping Without A Chute. Maybe he has actually done this, because when he asked me for a reciprocal link he forgot to include the name of his blog. Even after I asked for his blog name so I could reciprocate he only gave me the title of the blog. Thank the good Lord for Google. I know Mr. Roberts does, not because of me, but because he's a devout Catholic. He's also one of the many devout Schiavo case followers. Go read.

Don Surber is something I would consider something of a rarity. It's not because he's been a journalist for twenty odd years. It's not because he's a journalist that will actually respond to your e-mails personally. It's not even because he's a journalist from West Virginia. (Sorry, Don. I couldn't help a good West Virginia joke.) It's because he's a conservative journalist, of 20 years who will answer his friggin' inbox. And if you really want to get a good story ask him about senator Bob "Klansman" Byrd. Oh, and he pissed off the DU with an article he wrote. Way to go Don!

David has some Tangled Thoughts. I'm not completely sure, but I believe he's untangling them in his blog. He's half-Phillipino, half-white, all American that's in need of a J.O.B. after gratuating from Michigan. Go give him a shout out...and a job reference.

Thomas Nichols, aka Jack Army is a retired Special Forces guy with a laundry list of missions accomplished. If you'd like to read some good stuff from a guy who knows more than most Mr. Nichols is the guy for you. I know he probably doesn't know that I've been watching, but I can see hits coming from his site several times a day. In fact, I can feel your eyes on me right now!

Remember that e-mailing me or signing my guestmap will get you a reciprocating link and a snippet of article....and don't forget to support me for the last half hour of voting left for the King of Blogs tournament!

Double Standards

This just in: Daniel Baldwin missed the last episode of "Celebrity Fit Club" due to his addiction on pain killers!

Please notice that I have no link for you. That's because it didn't make the news. The only way I found out about it was because my wife was watching Extra! and I just happened to catch his on-air confession.

Try as I might, I keep Googling "pain killer addiction fat guy" and all I get is Limbaugh. The only good information I'm getting from this is the Freepers. Can anyone else spell hypocrisy?

Before you go all stupid on me and start saying that actors and respected talk show hosts need to be held to different standards, rethink what you're about to say. The Baldwin family was one of the front running celebrity entities for the sKerry campaign. But hey, I'm sure Limbaugh pissed more people off so it's okay, right?

Just another example of flip-flopping, self-serving, hypocritical libbo whack jobs that run the media.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Social Security - The definitive answer

Sorry everybody. I'm working diligently on my senior paper on social security. All I can give you right now is my outline. Bring your reading classes when it's complete. The requirements are for at least 10 basically it's only slightly longer than a regular post. If anyone knows where to get good data on the topic I'm ready and waiting:


Defining the crisis
When does the s*** hit the fan for real
bring up the fact that SS is now in the general fund (now a general tax burden)

Options for fixing it

Personal accounts
Pros & cons (need a chart following age vs start of accounts
examples in action
explain about the riple effect
charting the progress of thrift savings plan

Raising the retirement age
pros & cons (chart the rising age of death and normal retirement age)
examples in history

Increasing the tax burden
calculate the tax burden through the age vs needs chart
give the numbers at it's max badness to keep system afloat
explain unpopularity

how fair are these options?
is race or gender an issue?
rate the three options on the table

That's it for now. Check back later to see how it progresses. FOr now, just GO VOTE!!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Happy Belated blogday to Songstress7

Okay, I'm no Frank Sinatra, or even Nancy Sinatra. Please don't dog me out too hard for this.

this is an audio post - click to play

I was going to bake you a cyber cake as well, but I couldn' get the candles lit. Besides, it's no fun if you can't lick the frosting.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Sam Spade in The Case of The Missing Cop

Turning quickly I saw trouble walk in my door in the shape of a nine year old, completely unexpected, and completely unwanted. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but I was on a case, a big one. Pietro, the SmarterCop, had gone missing the day before a big three partied verdict was supposed to come down, and Pietro was one of the judges. The last thing I needed was this songstress busting into my office and raising a stink.

I suppose it was my own damn fault though. I was busy with another case and missed her blogday. Damned carnival case had me slaving away day and night. I barely had time enough to keep things running at the office, let alone get her a blogday present. I hope I can talk my way out of this one without taking too much collateral damage.

“Where were you last Tuesday?” she said, trying to bait me.

“I was on a case Sweet Thing. You know the one. We took down that Pelosi broad.” I said, "Look, I’m sorry I missed your blogday, but it’s work. These crooks ain’t gonna’ catch themselves. What can I do to make it up to you?”

I knew it was better to tell the truth with this than let it linger. She’d have me begging for mercy if she thought I'd forgotten. It didn’t matter though. I’d fallen into her trap. I asked her what I could do. I won’t make that mistake again.

She sidled over to my desk and leaned across it in that playful way only your own daughter can give you. She took her big brown eyes and stared intently into my soul, and with a slightly devilish grin she said, “LINKS! I want LINKS, Daddy! I want lots and lots of them, trackbacks too!”

She got up and started strolling back and forth from one end of the desk to the other while examining the edge. “You see, Daddy, no one did anything for my blogday party last week and I feel like nobody loves me anymore, not even you Daddy. I went though a whole tub of rocky road waiting for you to come home, and you never came. Nobody came.”

“The whole tub?” I repeated, “I was wondering where the ice cream went. Okay Honey. I’ll get you your links, but not tonight. I’ve got to work on the Pietro case. He’s gone missing.”

“Pietro’s gone missing?” She said with surprise. “Who would want to take the SmarterCop? Everyone loves him.”

“That’s what I’ve got to figure out Dear. I’ll make it up to you when this case is over, I promise.” I said as I turned back to my work, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few people coming to the office. I’ll need you to take a seat and do your homework until the meeting is over.”

“Okay, Daddy.” She said.

She bounced over to the heavy, dark leather chair in the corner of my office. Pleased with her negotiation skills, she flopped down, turned on the antique lamp standing next to the chair and pulled out her homework. As usual, the first book she pulled out was her English book.

I’ll never understand why she always does her English homework first. She’s never missed a single comma or period, her tests are perfect and her writing skills are better than the average journalist. That one’s going to be either a writer or an English teacher when she grows up. As long as she doesn’t start correcting my writing we’ll be just fine.

About ten minutes went by and in walked Ogre. Ogre was a mountain of a man, six-foot two and every bit of two hundred fifty pounds of pure muscle. I’ve dealt with some trolls in my time, muscle-bound freaks that look pretty but will start crying for their mommy with a good punch to the gut, but this was Ogre. If you did that to him he’d just give you a smile and show you how you could have hit him harder.

“Alright, I’m here. Who are you and what’s this about? I need to be back at the llama ranch in an hour.” Said Ogre.

“The name’s Spade, Sam Spade,” I shot back, “and I’m getting everybody together to get to the bottom of this case.”

“Case?” Said Ogre.

“Yeah, Peitro’s gone missing. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?” I Said.

“Pietro? Who’s Pietro?” asked Ogre, “Wait, isn’t he that SmarterCop guy? The one that came up missing for last week’s Verdi-”

“Hey, waitaminute! You don’t think I had anything to do with that, now do you?” spat Ogre, offended. “I barely know the guy! What would I have to do with this?”

“Patience.” I said in a soothing voice. “Have a seat over by my little songstress and just relax. We’ll get to the bottom of this once everyone’s here.”

“Everybody better hurry up. I’ve got to..”

“I know, I know. You’ve got a date with a llama named Steve. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.”

Ogre strolled over and eased back into the heavy, dark leather chair in the other corner of my office. My wife got a really good deal on them the day after Thanksgiving last year. Black Friday has always been a favorite of hers. The excitement she gets is the same as other people get on Christmas, what a shopper that one.

After about five minutes, Mike and Dean came walking in.

Mike, the one with the shaved head and punk jacket had just come off of a bad relationship with Paris Hilton. He kept calling and calling until she finally had to file a restraining order against him. He got even though. I'm sure you heard about her mobile phone getting hacked and pictures showing up on the Internet, right?

Dean was different. Dean was a quiet sort of guy that never said nothing to nobody. He just did his job and went home. I don’t even think he had a girlfriend. Those are the types you have to watch out for, the quiet ones. You never know what they’re thinking. It means they’re guilty of something. They don’t want to say anything for fear of spilling the beans.

Ted Kaczynski was a quiet one, hiding up in the hills like a hermit. He turned out to be The Unabomber. I wonder what Dean’s hiding? I’ll be keeping an eye out for him. Yeah, I had Dean earmarked early. He’s the one that did it. I was just going to have to beat it out of him.

“I’m sure you’re all wondering why I brought you here when the police could handle a matter like this.” I said. “Well the chief of police, Nick Queen, thinks Pietro’s absence is an inside job and felt like his good pal Sam could help him out with the case. That’s what I’m here to do, get to the bottom of it. One of you did it. No one else had the access or motive to make him disappea…”

Just then Pietro walked in like nothing had happened. Everyone turned as white as a ghost. My daughter jumped out of her chair and flew into his harms.

“Uncle Pietro!” She cried, as she leapt into his arms. “We thought you were dead or something.”

“Dead?” He inquired as he looked around at everyone’s pleasantly surprised expressions. “ I just went away for the weekend. I sent out an e-mail on Thursday that I’d be out for the weekend and sent my verdict in early. Didn’t you get that memo?

“You’ve got mail”

Everyone’s eyes turned to the laptop on my desk. It was the e-mail Pietro had sent on Thursday, nearly a week late. WOW! We really need a faster network.

Rock the Vote!

Well, it's week three as my reign as King of blogs, and I face some of the stiffest competition yet. It does not appear that I will be able to rest on my laurels with this one. Both of the pretenders have excellent website design. I'm not sure that my regular works will fair that well against them either.

I have two potential saving graces:

1. My challenge piece could completely blow their doors off. I've been pretty good with this part before, but there's no telling what the judges will be expecting from a returning king.

2. I need your votes and trackbacks. Currently, I'm tied in the vote category. I need you to go vote, and vote often. Did you know that you can vote multiple times throughout the day? You can vote about every three hours. As for trackbacks, no one has provided one this week, and it was the category that really put me over last week. Never underestimate the power of a little blurb. Three points are three points. I'll take them any way I can get them.

Hail to the king!

Need more incentive? How's this:
If I don't win I will subject everyone to a photo of myself in a THONG! Teach, your Hillary and Boxer photos are bad, but you should not subject the world to this. Rock the vote!

Cramming more stuff into the blog

Yes folks! I've managed to pack just one more thing into my blog. I have put my resume in HTML and linked to it directly under my profile. I also moved the posts about me moseover section there as well.

As for my blog development, I've done:

Currently in development are:

I'm sure you have noticed all but one of these use the same template. Don't worry about that. I can do multiple styles. For some reason, people just like the style that fits the screen.

So, now that you've seen my portfolio, do you feel like I'm ready to go pro? Looking over at Web-Divas and Elegant Webscapes, I'm not that far off the mark when it comes to professional design. In fact, I've got the marketing idea to cater to guys, since everyone else is doing girls. What do you think?

Monday, March 07, 2005


As I write this the 109th session of congress is deliberating over what they perceive as the last piece to the puzzle of homeland security. I doubt that they will make any headway with the weak and understated proposals on the table. The Real ID act is a waste of paper that will only cause illegal aliens to be driving illegally. The Dream Act, which allows illegal aliens that have gone through our school systems to get in-state tuition at colleges, is a slap in the face to security. Even the field act, the one that permits law enforcement to work on immigration issues, falls short of doing any real good.

No, I'm not going to whine about the sorry state of immigration and how the government is wasting our time. I'm going to offer some solutions. They are my solutions, and I come from a place that has an intimate understanding of the front end of immigration control. So let's get this ball rolling at the source: The INS:

The INS (Immigration and Nationalization Service) has been traditionally one of the slowest and most ridiculous branches of the government we have. Go down to your local INS office and try to get something done on your lunch hour. Unless you've got all of your paperwork completed and bribed your way to the head of the line you will not make it in time.

The painful slowness doesn't end there. Imagine you need to do something other than get a simple visa. Imagine you need to file your paperwork for permanent residency. Your one time, two hour long wait has now turned into at least three separate two hour long waits and potentially a three hour long interview after the year and a half you've waited for them to complete your paperwork.

If it sounds like I have some personal vestment in this waste of agency you're right. My wife is a Korean national. The two years from entry in country to permanent resident status was my wife's. It was not three visits with an interview it was six. Three of those times were to get the proper paperwork (still with a two hour wait) because they didn't understand what a PDF was. Fortunately, our interview only took 30 minutes to an hour. Eventually she wants to get her citizenship but if we have to deal with those knuckleheads again I don't know if she'll ever be sworn in.

The reason that politicians don't go really dig into immigration is because the entire system needs to be completely redone from the top down. Let me explain in detail:

To their credit, the INS has made filing and printing most of your paperwork much easier to do. Much of their paperwork is now in PDF format and capable of being filed online. However, everything sent to them via e-file still has to be printed out and ferreted around to their paper laden desks. Hearken back, if you will, to the newsy days when your inbox was actually a wooden box and not sponsored by Microsoft Outlook. This is where they still sit. It is still done by pen and ink, not pixels. The solution to this is quite simple to anyone smart enough to have heard of a digital signature. Take away the paper and make their processes electronic.

Now what does this have to do with aliens? How does that help terror at home? Remember this: Many of the terrorists involved with the actions of 9/11 were already on an international watch list for terror. The slow and inefficient paper filing of the INS allowed them to live in this country unadulterated for years. There was, and is, no digital database for all of the INS paperwork. It is still put on pieces of paper and stuffed in one of many filing cabinets to collect dust. With digital filing and processing they could create an instantly accessible database nationally or even internationally.

I know a little bit of work has been done with this but it only catches a few people, like Cat Stephens. Some have said the system they have is nearly impossible to keep up with, and unlikely to be of any use. Knowing that Cat or Allah or whatever his alias is this week, donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Hamas is good enough for me. Keep him in Europe where they sympathize with moonbats. The system is flawed and does need improvements, vast improvements. Oracle has a good product that could easily be used to database everything in the INS. They could even tie it in with Social Security. For those out there that believe this is an impossible task ask yourself how credit card companies do it. If MasterCard can find you when you miss a payment then why can't the INS if you stayed late on your visa? They're dragging their feet. Don't let them fool you.

Now that I've gotten that piece off my chest let me address the three aforementioned proposals:

At 8 to 12 million aliens there is absolutely no way to send them all back to where they came from. Much of our land was once their land. L.A. stands for Los Angeles, the city of Angels. It was named by the locals and not the cowboys that took over and sent them all to Mexico. There was a war about it and unless we want to declare war on L.A. I think we need to take the suggested approach and streamline a system for undocumented workers.

Here is my approach for doing this:

We need to have a moratorium for undocumented workers in America. All those in the country without paperwork would have a set amount of time in which to find a job and file paperwork for moratorium status. They would not be provided full citizenship but would be protected as a migrant worker residing in the United States. I would give a period of three months in which to find a job and file paperwork as a migrant worker. Anyone unable to comply with this would be subject to immediate deportation. If we have to rent busses or semi-trucks for one mass drop then that's what we'll have to do. They will have been given their golden opportunity and if they choose to ignore it they can suffer the consequences.

Those that have filed paperwork (or e-filed, preferably) would be given the opportunity to file for citizenship in two years time of continuous work with no break in employment greater than four months in total unpaid unemployment. I know the influx of 8 to 12 million filers would be considered daunting to the current INS but again, if the go digital and streamline their aged systems it could be just slightly better than absolute chaos. The standard citizenship procedures would apply including the test and interview but those with an employer's recommendation would get priority in paperwork processing. Hopefully, that would assist in prioritizing processing and additionally aid in reducing fraud.

What about the people crossing our borders everyday to find work?

They do the jobs we don't want to do. They do the jobs that our kids don't even want to do. They pick our cabbages, strawberries, blueberries, and tomatoes. They do all this because it's a better life than they had before. The people who employ them know they're paying them slave wages. They give them no medical support and are not above beating them because they know they won't say anything for fear of being deported. My above solution will help those that are already here, but does nothing for those who flood the borders every day.

Something California has tried to do now and again is create a migrant worker visa. These are people that would cross the border in the morning, work in our fields and go back to Mexico in the evening. Every time this proposition has hit the table it has been shot down by people who don't understand it. They are afraid that it will mean people will lose their jobs and those not losing their jobs would get paid less due to the foreign competition. What I propose is that in order to a position to be filled by a migrant worker it would need to be unemployable to the standard American. With the previous solution we may not have too many jobs available to fill but that will eventually change as those applying for citizenship gradually become more educated and thus retain more technical positions. It would only be used when citizens or migrant residents are unavailable or unwilling to take the jobs. It would also not be considered an "all or nothing" endeavor. If a farm needs 200 people to pick cabbage and half of those positions are filled with teenagers or migrant residents then the remaining 100 positions could be picked up by migrant workers.

This covers the problem of having jobs that no American or migrant resident would want but does little to quell the flow of illegal border traffic. The solution to this problem lies in making it so Mexicans do not need or want to cross the border looking for work. Some things I have become more familiar with as of late are tariffs and import taxes. It appears that one of the things keeping poor countries poor are the taxes levied against them for import goods. If we were to reduce those taxes and tariffs against high migration counties, such as Mexico, we would increase the real Gross Domestic Product of that country and ultimately increase the yearly salary of workers in Mexico and other countries. With increased pay and better living conditions available through the greater GDP there will be less of a desire to cross the border to find work. This may seem very nuanced, but it's really quite simple. If you can get them paid well in their own country they won't need to come infiltrate ours.

The third and final suggestion (Yes, I've got an end to this thing.) was to get tough on the borders. If what I have suggested above does not completely correct the problem, which I doubt anything will completely, we need to enhance the border guards to reduce the flow of undocumented workers/illegal aliens. Something I noticed while living on the border of San Diego and Tijuana was that the only people allowed to touch an unauthorized border crosser was The Border Patrol. The police have absolutely no jurisdiction unless they try to break into your house or make an attempt to harm you. Simply jumping over your six-foot tall fence and looking through your windows as they pass through is not enough to stir up the police.

It reminds me of the separation between the CIA and the FBI. It's a wall that doesn't need to be there. The police should be able to assist in border issues and vice versa. If we need to make it illegal to cross the border without papers for the police to get involved then that's what we have to do. I understand that legitimate police work takes precedence over border issues but I'm sure there could be some assistance in both directions.

Another solution to the manpower problem is the National Guard. Even with the current state of affairs in Iraq, we still have over 150,000 reservists that are cooling their heels at home. Would it be so difficult to have your one-month a year defending the border instead of running around in circles? Besides that, wouldn't the training they get ferreting out illegal aliens better training than any simulation could give them?

Hopefully, other people than me can realize that immigration reform is not going to come in the form of some small policy change or insignificant passing of a bill. It will require drastic measures that affect everyone. It will require politicians to step up to the plate and do what is right, not what will get them reelected.

Cross-posted at BNN

Sunday, March 06, 2005


The dear songstress7 of News From the Great Beyond has gone slightly off kilter. I feel like she has slighted me with her tongue. I am distraught. In her royal verdict for the week, found here, my score (and everyone elses) was halved for not providing the appropriate congratulatory praise due the original queen of blogs. You see, the congratulations I gave here was apparently not enough for the only female member of the blog triad of judges.

Forgive me fair queen. I made mention that the first would be a slow day of blogging for me due the creation of the challenge post I submitted. If you wish, you may consider it a blogday present and redistribute it under your own name. Say the word and I'll contact the BNN and have them change my name to yours.

I fear, however, that this post will fall on deaf ears. Well, Mrs. Songstress7, prepare for a blog orgy of linky lovin'.

Mr. Ogre, Mr. SmarterCop, don't worry. You're invited to this Caligula of linky lovin' as well. This may get so raw that someone may want to film it for trackbackaphiles.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


WTF is chalazion? My wife went to the plastic surgeon yesterday to have the doctor look at her chalazion. A plastic surgeon's is a neat place to visit. THe first nurse I saw had braces in for her "tooth bonding" and the one that checked us out was, well, displaying what plastic surgeons are known for, breast implants. It was like a walking billboard for the place she worked at. I wonder if she got a discount?

Hanging out anywhere you always grab a pamphlet or two without thinking. Here are the two I grabbed:

Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery
Breast Lift

Lets read the first paragraph from the breast lift pamphlet:

Breast Lift
A woman's breasts often chenge their youthful shape and firmness. These changes, including loss of skin elasticity, can result from pregnancy, breast-feeding, weight fluctuations, aging, and gravity. Heredity may also be a factor, and a woman in her teens may experience loose, sagging breast tissue. Breasts that have lost their firm, uplifted counours can affect a woman's self-image and confidence.

It looks like I have found a new meme. Okay, anybody wanting to duplicate this meme, here are the rules:

Pamphlet Meme

1. Grab a random pamphlet at random from any office that has them.
2. Include the pamphlet title and the first paragraph.
3. State where it came from.
4. Link back and trackback to where you got this meme from.

That should cover it.

Almost forgot. A chalazion is an inflamation of the cartilage in the eyelid that creates a bump the size of a beebee. It is removed and/or reshaped from the inside of the eyelid and does not require a suture. That's what my wife has.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Child Pornography - Follow-Up

I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and personal experiences about that portion of my job. In average, we get one of this sickos a month. It has become a pandemic that needs to be shut down somehow.

This may just be my opinion on the subject, but I believe the problem stems from the ready availability of pornography on the internet. I'm sure we could talk about that part of things for hours but the truth is that the legislators don't see this as a real problem and will not act.

The only way to do anything about the problem is to bring it up to our legislators. Even if we can't do things on a national level there are things we can do in our own communities. If I get the opportunity this weekend I'll try and draw something up for your perusal. If someone out there in the world wants to write one up on their own I'll have no problems in helping formulate it and sending copies to all of the legislators I can get a hold of.

Again, thanks for the moral support.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Disturbed - Child Pornography

I am really not in a good state of mind right now. I'm not really sure I should be writing this, but I've got to get it out. Sometimes what is required of me at my network security job is more than one should endure. My hands are literally shaking.

Working in the network security field you tend to run into the odds and ends of society that really don't need to be walking among the general population. Most of the time it's some guy that thinks it would be really cool to try and hack into your network or open holes in your network with some stupid video game the want to bring into work. I think my favorite are the geniuses the think it's cool to plug their X-Boxes into the second largest intranet in the United States, NMCI, and think they won't get in trouble. I don't really get bothered by these people too much. You slap their hand, tell them to knock it off, and go about your business. It's kind of fun sometimes.

The other part of the job deals with a different sort of unauthorized activity: pornography. People who surf porn tend to throw us a lot of viruses. We usually find a couple of people surfing porn a week, but it's usually nothing too serious. Normally, they just bounce around the web for five minutes to a half hour, depending on personal stamina, clean out their web cache, wipe themselves off and go back to work. Honestly though, I don't know exactly what they're doing though, because we don't investigate these people. They're not important enough. Besides, we're not contracted to catch them. We are contracted to catch the other kind.

I have just spent the last two hours investigating a machine that, at first, just looked like he had saved around a gigabyte of porn videos. The severe violators are the ones we send to NCIS (Navy Criminology and Investigative Services) for criminal investigation. Most of the time they're just collecting standard, everyday, adult, legal, guy on girl porn. At first I thought that was what this was. There was even this picture of a nude painted up like a cow. We all took a peek and made a Gateway joke and followed it with a Chick-Fil-A joke: "Eat Mor Fish". Everything was fine, until we found the horse video. That's when we started looking a bit deeper.

The next thing we found were she-male videos. They're still legal in most states, but they still make me feel a bit sick to my stomach to see a freak of nature like that. Let's just say that it's not how God intended a woman to be. It bothers me slightly but it's not too bad.

Scrolling down through the files we came across the picture: kiddy porn. There wasn't actually any nudity in the first picture, but it was presented in a suggestive form. Still, he could have been able to get off with a picture like this. He wouldn't have served any time in jail for it, so we continued on.

Going to through his favorites we only found one link we have a problem with. There was a link to an incest site. Maybe it was all legal and maybe it wasn't. I wasn't sticking around on the site to find out. It doesn't matter anyway because what we found next it the primary reason I'm writing this. (Damn, I'm shaking again.)

On his desktop we discovered no less than five shortcuts to Yahoo Picture groups. A couple of them were general everyday porn, but two of them were not. Two of them were verifiably sick people. One had a picture of a suggestively posed teen that could have been old enough but was more than likely too young to be doing it. He only shares pictures through e-mail, and that's all he does. The other showed a young Asian child around kindergarten age as his pic. He was also an e-mail trader. The piece that disturbed me the most was his favorite quote, or as much of it as I could read: Come here little girl, let me pull down your panties so you can sit on my lap and.....

I'm not going to be right for the next few days. I pray he finds a cell in general population with a large inmate nicknamed "Bubba the ass-wrecker". I'll let someone else pray for him. I want him dead.

Cross-posted at BNN