VA Death By Waiting - Secret Lists

Monday, September 29, 2008

Who's Covering My Six?

I'm worried. Very worried. I'm afraid that if the Democrats win this election that the Second Amendment will be a worthless statement on a piece of parchment, and the right to keep and bear arms will end up lost in this country.

We have "evolved" or maybe that should be "revolved" into a country that coddles the criminal element and somehow criminalizes those who do good, making citizens the bad guys when they protect life and property. The anti-gun establishment somehow would make you believe that if you pass stricter laws banning guns, that the criminal element will obey and there will be less violence and death. Let me tell you that it doesn't work that way. California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation regarding so called "assault weapons", and has all but stripped ownership of those type weapons from sportsmen and legal owners. Yet the thugs and gangs have them. How and why? Because they don't purchase them legally. For any type of firearm, you must fill out all the paperwork for the DOJ and FBI gun checks and pass a safety course, and must wait the requisite ten days after purchase to pick up the gun, All this won't stop the criminal element from getting their hands on a firearm, as they obviously easily bypass this, and obtain all their sophisticated and not-so-sophisticated weapons illegally. It just constrains the legal purchaser who has nothing to hide.

If you legally own a firearm and an armed felon enters your home to rape or rob, and you shoot them, you had best aim well and shoot to kill. I don't say that in light terms, but you could be liable for their medical bills and rehabilitation if they are simply injured. God forbid they are crippled, you might have to provide for their future care as well! If they are illegal, you can be assured their family will somehow emerge from the woodwork, and claim they spoke and understood no English, and even though you commanded them to halt and warned them you would shoot, they understood none of it. Bleeding heart lawyers will make you the villain for protecting yourself and your family, and you will incur tens of thousands in legal costs, even if you finally win. If you lose, you'll end up appealing to avoid a lengthy jail sentence. You'll lose your job, savings and maybe your home as well, all because you did what was right!

Think this is far-fetched? Ask the NRA about some cases in California and other states. And, it will get worse if B. Hussein Obama gets into office. He pussy-foots around the issue on the campaign trail, but make no mistake, he's a gun control fanatic. He's voted with the anti-gun lobby many times and he'll be on the forefront of helping steamroll over the Second Amendment rights you have. Add to that the erosion that's now happening without his help and we'd be in deep kimche.
So, nobody is "covering your six" any more, other than the NRA and the ILA and a few more organizations. They have been instrumental in keeping gun ownership available to law abiding citizens while supporting tougher penalties for criminal acts using firearms. They join with most of us in the logic that the criminal is the user and not the gun, any more than the automobile is guilty when driven by a drunk driver. If we held the vehicle responsible for deaths in this country, we would be devoid of cars, as the automobile would be banned from our roads!

As for me, regardless of the outcome, if anyone enters my home with an illegal intent, the sight of the red laser dot and the sound of the Remington 870 racking a round are possibly the last things they will see or hear en route to a meeting with their Maker! As for the consequences, there is a famous line that I'd like to pass on:
I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6!
and one more
More people have been killed by Ted Kennedy's Car than by my guns!

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Government and Less Railroad Safety, AGAIN!

Per the Associated Press:

"Spurred by the recent train crash that killed 25 people in Los Angeles, the House passed sweeping rail safety legislation Wednesday requiring more rest for workers and technology that can stop a train in its tracks if it's headed for collision.

At least one of the measures could have made a difference in the Sept. 12 head-on collision between a freight train and a commuter train — the nation's deadliest rail crash since 1993.
Lawmakers scurried to reach agreement on the safety bill in the wake of the disaster, which happened when a Southern California Metrolink commuter train failed to stop at a red light and ended up on the same track as an oncoming freight.

"I'm heartened that we're considering this bill now and I hope it's offering some small degree of comfort to the families that are suffering after the recent Metrolink disaster in California," said Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., before the House passed the legislation by voice vote.
It now goes to the Senate, where prospects for passage are uncertain in the dwindling legislative hours before Congress adjourns for the election at the end of this week.

Investigators are looking at engineer fatigue as a possible factor in the Metrolink crash, and the Federal Railroad Administration says that so-called positive train control technology would have prevented the crash.

The technology can engage the brakes if a train misses a signal or gets off-track. The bill requires it to be installed by 2015 on all rail lines that carry passengers and on freight lines that carry hazardous materials.

That date may be too soon for the railroad industry, which says it supports positive train control but opposed a congressionally mandated timeline, but not soon enough for some lawmakers eager to move quickly on safety in the wake of the L.A. crash.

The package wraps in legislation reauthorizing Amtrak for five years and providing $13 billion for the carrier. Some of that money would go to matching grants to help states set up or expand rail service.

The Amtrak portion of the legislation also establishes a program for private companies to bid to develop high-speed rail corridors on the East Coast, a private sector component pushed by Republicans who have been wary of what they've seen as ever-growing subsidies to Amtrak.

Amtrak's previous authorization expired in 2002. The carrier's supporters say a new authorization will allow Amtrak to make long-range plans and take advantage of what they say is a growing appetite for passenger rail."

Do you smell something rotten here, as usual?

Once again, the politicians are playing with our lives by stuffing pork into the equation, and the railroads are balking at following safety rules to save lives! Washington starts off telling you they want to make the rails safer, then loads in a bunch of crap spending that bloats the bill so it's enormous and overspending would occur. The Amtrak addition is only part of it; they want to fund 1.5 billion to Washington Metro Transit as well in the same bill. No wonder it's not passing the senate as of today, Friday September 26. At least one Senator, Coburn, has the guts to stand up against the pork and says no to many of the additions. Mr. Coburn states the taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing food and beverage service aboard Amtrak and there should be performance metrics for Amtrak to meet which has never been required. Plus local authorities and passengers should fund local transit systems. Good for you, Senator Coburn! Although you'll be criticized for standing in the way of safety, I see you as a pork barrel killer and you're the man!

Finally, California wants us to pass a huge 9.9 billion dollar bond to build a high speed rail line that will travel at 200 miles per hour between San Francisco and Los Angeles to start and then, just maybe, some other areas in the future. Not with my money! The total cost will allegedly be around 30 billion with 1/3 from the feds and 1/3 from private funds, but you know how that eventually goes. This state can't run anything right and to think they should run a high speed rail line is asinine to say the least. Imagine a head -on crash or a derail at 200? And the bureaucracy and maintenance costs not to mention the construction overruns? Right...vote for this and you're slitting your wrists and throat all at once with a rusty razor! We already have a High-Speed Rail Authority costing taxpayers a bunch without even having a high speed rail line. Now ain't that sweet political bureaucrap? I'll bet the people would be very unhappy about having a Police Authority with no Police Departments or Highway Authority with no roads... Just a case of being fleeced once again.

In short, 25 people died and a bunch of politicians jumped on the bandwagon to either shine in some light of purported change, or in one case, to actually try and do good. I seldom say anything good about Diane Feinstein, but I believe she actually tried to do the right thing here in the bill's original inception. However, once the political system got hold of it, they fly papered it with so much pork that it's just a vestige of its former safety bill. And once the railroads get through lobbying and balking, 2015 won't even see the results completed. More bodies will have to lie on the tracks and under smoldering train wrecks before another round of politics moves this forward very far. Sad but true.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Do We Learn from War?

It seems we have a penchant to go to war pretty frequently, sometimes for reasons that almost everyone agrees on, and sometimes for reasons that seems to divide as many people as unites them. Why do we do what we do and go to war? Why do we send our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers into harm's way? Why has it always been this way? I'm certainly not a historian, just my take on what's been happening over the years.

Sometimes it's to defend ourselves from tyranny, as it was in the earlier times of our nation, and the Revolution, or because parts of our own nation didn't agree with how each side handled government, and split into several factions, pitting brother against brother in the Civil War.

Sometimes it's been to prevent the global spread of a power such as Germany and the Japanese in World War I and World War II. Sometimes it's been to prevent an aggressor from taking over the land and freedoms of our allies, as it was in Korea, and sometimes it's been to secure the freedom of others who are oppressed under communism or a dictatorship, such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In everyones' eyes, except the British, perhaps, America won the Revolution and became independent. No questions there. Depending on where you ask the question, north or south of the Mason-Dixon line, either the North or the South won the Civil War. Actually the North came out on top, but in my mind, most of the reasons for fighting were never a reason to lose family or fight over, other than perhaps a brawl on the back porch after drinking. It was a draw that left wounds that still fester in some areas to this day. Thankfully, those wounds are finally healing faster than in the past....

World War I and World War II were wars that were basically started in Europe by Germany and had our involvement to stave off takeover of Great Britain by Germany. Although WWI lasted from 1914-1918, we entered in 1917, and a peace treaty was signed in 1919. WWII actually started in 1939 and our involvement didn't officially start until December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Had the US not entered the war, Germany would have steamrolled over the rest of Europe and Asia, continued weapons development, mass genocide and perhaps become unstoppable. No question we had to get involved in a big way. As for the Japanese, they decided their own fate with the attack on Pearl Harbor. The dropping of two nuclear weapons ended the war with Japan with their surrender on August 15, 1945.

So, two more wins, for the American and Allied side as it were. Then as for Korea, I don't know whether that was a clear win, but South Korea remains a free nation after fifty something years, so as far as I'm concerned, we won there too.

Vietnam was a quagmire, a political war that had been fought for eons long before we entered it. A nation in chaos and unrest for centuries and, in my opinion, nothing we did was going to change that as long as politicians pulled the strings. As young warriors we entered the fray ready to change the world for the better and kick butt, and thought the Washington political machine was behind us all the way. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The tide of war could have been turned in six months and the communists routed, had the politicians listened to the military who knew what needed to be done to "clean the clock" of the enemy. But no, it became a political war with air strikes requiring permission and bombing runs cancelled and targets requiring surgical precision for acquisition. But only for the Americans and not for the other side, as always. We play by one set of rules and the opposition has no rules at all. Many people at home opposed the war, although I'm not sure to this day whether they were really opposed to those who gave so much in fighting oppression and tyranny. After all, they were being lied to daily by the same politicians who were directing fire when they hadn't a clue what the hell they were doing. Not fit to be politicians nor military, yet trying to be both and killing and maiming thousands in their stupidity.

Let it be known that we did not lose the war in Vietnam. The politicians finally decided to back out of something that we could have won, but decided to play with for too damned long. Like a dog who grabs a snake by the neck and could have killed it with one bite, but decides to play with it, gets bit too many times, and eventually slinks away. We gained freedom for many thousands of Vietnamese and those in neighboring countries, and paid a heavy price for doing so. A very heavy price that was way too high for what the final outcome was. But, again, the warriors didn't decide the outcome, the politicians did. And, other than a few, like John "fond of Fonda" Kerry, (The thought of those two people nauseates me) all did what had to be done in the name of God and Country.

Then there was the Gulf War, which was won swiftly and decisively. Yet, once again, the politicians screwed up and decided to quit before cleaning house completely. With Iraq in the cross hairs, we left the sands and came home victorious and left Saddam Hussein still in power when we could have marched into Baghdad all in one fell swoop.

So here we are in Afghanistan searching for terrorists and fighting al-Queda and in Iraq fighting God knows who today or tomorrow. We toppled Saddam Hussein effectively and have a mess to clean up. In my opinion, it's turned into another Vietnam, which is a shame. We've traded jungle, mud and monsoons for desert, sand and wind. I would have thought we would have learned something about fighting insurgents and guerrillas by now. These people are insane! They don't care about life! They're freaking crazy and don't care if they die or you die. They murder their kids if they don't agree to marry the right person and kill their wives if their veil is off center! They kill because someone mentions another religion or says a word wrong. They are crazy! And, once again, the damned politicians want the military to fight surgically clean! While the other side fights as dirty as possible and kills and maims at will without regard to anything, we're in there with a scalpel and criticized when a round goes astray. Then we compound it by court martialing our military on charges of murder for doing their job. Yup, throw the good guys to the wolves when you can...why not a couple of stuffed suits from Washington who are really the guilty bastards, just as they were back during Vietnam?

Sad to say, we'll be over there for awhile. At least until the politicians get their fingers off the trigger and let the military make the real decisions. With God's blessing John McCain will be at the helm, and a real military man will make some decisions to kick ass, and then come home sooner rather than later. Make the Iraqis take charge of their affairs and lead the way.

For the Baby's Sake...and Everyone

Numbers of babies dead, almost 7,000 babies seriously ill (at least that's what we have been told has been admitted) and the litany goes on of contaminated milk powder, formula, and now whole milk in China. Thank God none of this supply has made it to this country, but then again, we're at the mercy of a government that seems to allow so much junk to be imported, it's a miracle we dodged the bullet this time.

UPDATE...It's 54,000 sickened as of September 22, and 13,000 babies seriously ill, while the Chinese still admit to only 4 deaths. Who's kidding whom here?

What was the "additive" that has caused such illness and death? Melamine. Does that sound familiar? It should since it's the same chemical additive that was found in your pets food a short while back that killed and sickened so many pets in the exact same way...kidney failure. Now, it's happening to babies, and likely children and adults, but it seems to be centered in and only in China as far as we know.

When will anyone learn. Never ingest anything from China! If it comes from China, has ingredients from China or is formulated in China, don't drink or eat it. Sure, there may be fine products from that country, but is it worth risking life and limb for it? Remember the glycol poisoning incidents from the toothpaste recently? Also from China! They don't give a damn about poisoning a few thousand people; they have tens of millions to lose without batting an eye! Some greedy idiot makes more money by adulterating a food product to increase the values and fool a meter, and he's instantly killing kids or pets without a care. In a country with few morals and even poorer sanitation in many areas, why would you trust your health to its products.

Question what you ingest. It's your body, your life and that of your family. Read labels, ask questions and boycott products you think could be unsafe. Find out where your food comes from. If it's from south of the border, even, do they use human waste as fertilizer and do they have sanitary facilities? Bet you know the answers to that already.

You may have heard someone make an off-the-cuff remark that they were "Dieing for some Chinese food." This is NOT what they had in mind.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jumping on the Train Bandwagon

Since I wrote my September 14 blog on Positive Train Control and the tragedy in Los Angeles, I see everyone has jumped on the same bandwagon. Local and national news media, even the mayor of Los Angeles wants to know why the Metrolink trains don't have fail safe devices.

The answer? Read my last blog! The government, for the most part, lets them run rampant with little regulation. They regulate based on body count, rather than on sound safety principles. If there are enough dead bodies and injuries, a little momentum is created and that lasts until the furor dies down and can be swept under the rug.

Think it only happens on the railroads? Think again!

The airline industry is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and you'll find that after something happens, they start sending out notices requiring inspection and correction to airlines. However, some of the corrections do not have to be met for years! Thus, you could very well be flying on an aircraft that is unsafe, and has not been inspected or repaired, although the FAA knows it's very possible it's a ticking time bomb.

Here's a story on a 737 jet where a protruding bolt caused an explosion upon landing, and the FAA gave airlines flying similar aircraft 24 days to examine their planes. After four more planes were found with similar issues, they shortened the inspection time to 10 days. WTF? Why not ground all that series planes until safety inspections were completed? Because, in another case of the tail wagging the dog, the cost and inconvenience to the airlines would be too great. So, instead, let you fly on a potential time bomb and see what happens.

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Boeing_737_inspection_deadline_shortened_after_four_jets_found_with_similar_fault_to_China_Airlines_plane

That's playing Russian Roulette with your life, folks! And you don't even get to hold the gun!

Bottom line is that the government doesn't hold the big boys to the same tight restrictions and rules as they do you. You're more likely to be cited and fined for a safety violation in your automobile that might kill or injure you, than a railroad or airline that will kill or injure hundreds!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lack of (Train) Control

It is with sadness that I write this blog, due to the 25 dead and the 135 injured as a result of the head-on collision of the Metrolink commuter train and the Union Pacific freight train near Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. My heart, sympathy and most of all, prayers, go out to all those who lost loved ones, and to the injured, wishing them a speedy recovery.

But, regardless of fault in this terrible collision, there is another feeling inside of me. OUTRAGE! What the hell happened here? Why was there no controls to prevent this? We won't know for awhile who or what was truly at fault here; early reports say it was the Metrolink engineer who failed to stop at a red signal. Regardless if that remains the outcome, more questions need to be answered.

I don't claim to be a rail expert, although I've travelled all over the country to work with rail districts, and I do know something about controls on trains. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has had a push on for years for PTC or Positive Train Control systems for railroads in the US. But it, like so many other things, is left to the whims of the railroads, so little gets done until a tragedy occurs. Just like after the last California commuter train - freight train head-on crash in 2002, there was a hue and cry to get something done again. I'd bet we'll hear the Feds moan about this, yet the railroads won't do much, if anything. It's almost like they're unregulated.

For example, there are a number of systems which work similarly. They are all a supervisory system that alerts the operator of a train if he fails to follow the required speeds or signals. First a light goes on along with a horn or other signal and then, if the operator still fails to do what is required, such as decrease speed or stop, the train goes into emergency braking, and all power to the locomotive is shut down. Engineers hate this since in most cases, the power has to be restored by a supervisor, and their a** gets written up at a minimum, or worse.

Want to read more about how the Federal Government has been protecting you on the rails? Here you go:

http://www.ntsb.gov/recs/mostwanted/positive_train.htm

So, I ask why the Metrolink train, on such a busy corridor, had nothing similar to PTC or ETMS or other control in place? From what I have heard, some commuter trains do, many do not. I believe the Coaster in San Diego, which shares the tracks with Union Pacific freights, the same as the Metrolink, has ETMS or a similar system. Why not Metrolink? Would the sounding of the alarms have prevented the tragedy of Friday afternoon, and turned what is now termed the second most deadly railroad crash in modern American history, into just an inconvenient delay, and a big ass chewing for someone? Probably. Too late to speculate now.

Ride the train. Save gas. Who wants to ride the train when one mistake, if that's what it was, can send you right into a freight train that takes a mile to stop on a good day? Granted, these accidents are few and far between, but there is no backup plan? No copilot, which would be the automatic train control? Sure, make the light rail vehicles have all these controls, a dead-man control so if the driver of that vehicle becomes incapacitated the light rail vehicle will stop. Even SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) systems on some, monitored from a central location, to assure smooth traffic flow and that there are always multiple safety systems in place.
But apparently, our nations commuter rails don't place the same emphasis on safety.

I have only one more observation to make. Those commuter trains are push-pull meaning the locomotive could have been behind the cars instead of in front when then collision occurred. Had that been the configuration on Friday, September 12, the toll would have made it the deadliest train collision in our history, as the head car would have hit the Union Pacific locomotive head-on and the Metrolink locomotive would have continued to crush the cars between it and the UP locomotive. I'd estimate maybe 100 deaths or more in that scenario; just a guess but maybe for those who think things could not have been worse, a guardian angel was in Chatsworth that afternoon after all...

Corporate America and the Disposable Employee

Once upon a time, there was a partnership in this country, between employees and employers. People actually thought a lot about each other, more like family than simply boss and worker relationships, and people worked for companies for many years secure in the knowledge that if they did a good job, helped the company grow and prosper, they themselves could be secure in their future. If many of you recall, your grandfathers and fathers retired from long time jobs with companies like that, and spoke highly of the relationships fostered between management and labor.

Such ties started way before your grandfather's time, with the old time grocer and even the village shops. For the most part, the owners knew people and treated them with respect and dignity. In many cases, they supported a family even though the person could not work, simply because it was the kindly, neighborly and right thing to do, for a long time employee who gave so much of him or her self to the company. They would take a person to the doctor for care so they could be treated right, and do all they could to assure that employee would be better soon.

So, what happened?

Step in Corporate America with their promises of bigger pay, better benefits and all that you could want in a job. I never could figure out how they can somehow put in "we plan to screw you as soon as we squeeze the life out of you" somewhere in their benefits package, and you never can find it. Maybe because it's not a benefit?

Here's an example:

You work for a company for 20 plus years and work your way into a top management position, improving yourself all the time. Better education, better technical certification, become more valuable and a real "can-do" leader for the company, never refusing a tough assignment. Then one day, the top brass changes because of a few reasons, some of which are known and some are better left unknown, and a new top dog steps in and everything goes along okay for awhile. Then everything changes. He hires an executive to improve technology, someone who decides to bring in all his cronies who previously worked with him (and were all allegedly dumped at a failed venture before being hired on here to spend millions of dollars) while holding all types of meetings, so nobody can get anything productive done. Seems what they did best was hold meetings, to discuss when to hold a meeting, to plan the next meeting, ad nauseum.

More new people come on board and specific departments start spending millions more on technology, while you are told to cut your budget and spend less on realistic street smart items. Field people are given overpriced laptop computers incapable of handling their everyday tasks, and unable to connect to the Internet due to alleged "security concerns" that hold up important investigative reports. They are told it's in the company's best interests, but what about investigative reports that are not being completed quickly? When you're the tail wagging the dog, I guess that didn't matter. And top management okayed this idiocy.

Meetings become an obsession, with people marching from one to another like robots; you can't talk to anyone on the phone because they're always in a meeting, so it's "phone tag" all day long. A new 'techno" language spreads throughout the executives who don't bother to let anyone else know what the hell anything means, yet expect you to understand what they're speaking of. Yet if you're in a meeting and use a scientific or medical term they don't understand, you're "pontificating".

Then there's the newly found Corporate Culture meetings where employees spend an entire day each month sucking up, and God knows how much more time spent preparing to suck up in front of others at the monthly meetings. Sometimes the meetings are even several hours drive away through heavy traffic, but you have to keep that culture up in front of the employees. It's like a freaking Weight Watchers meeting on steroids for chrissake, but they do serve good free lunches. After several years of pissing away millions in time and money, not to mention talent, this too vanishes. Funny, the person who thought up this asinine venture finally vanished too.

So here you are, working your ass off with less budget money than needed, more responsibility because they have piled several new mantles on your shoulders as budgets get tighter, while certain other departments piss away untold millions on failed systems and ventures, and new highly paid executives are hired. You have a heart attack, and are still so loyal to your job and employees that you go back to work two days later! Do you think anyone gives a rats' ass? Nope. A man in a field office dies after coping with severe illness on the job for years, and in the employee newsletter he gets a one-liner saying he was a dedicated employee. Hell, he was a freaking saint to work in his condition, and should have been canonized and all they tell anyone is that he passed and was a dedicated employee? In some cases they didn't even tell anyone that an employee died, unless it was someone the brass knew or were willing to give employees time off for a funeral I guess. People left the company after 20 plus years and nobody told anyone they were gone. Corporate Communications was an oxymoron.

Then you become ill, and when you use up your 12 weeks FMLA (a Federally mandated leave) the company tells you to have a nice day and you're done. Strangely, I actually understand the reasoning behind that, because of disability and all, and it's a common occurrence in many companies. But in one company, an employee who worked there over 20 years never had the direct supervisor, a senior executive, never once, call to see how he was doing in the 12 weeks or at any time after! The self-centered egotistical a**hole never had the courtesy or consideration to call, nor did the President or COO, any of the other "senior executives", save for one he had known for 21 years. There is kind of a silver lining to this though since there was always laugh had on the thoughtless a**hole ; he wore a belt buckle with a huge "H" on it all the time, and he probably never knew how ridiculous it appeared to everyone. I understand everyone thought it stood for "Hemorrhoid" and he probably never knew it.

Bottom line is that corporations want everything from you. They want you to miss family time, work overtime, work when you're ill as long as you don't pass it around, come in early, stay late, travel unbridled distances, be ready to go at a moments notice, adapt to change readily, give up anything necessary for the good of the company, be loyal, keep secrets, and somehow they want you to believe they will come through for you when you need it.

If you believe they will, I have a bridge or two to sell you...in Brooklyn, San Francisco...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Want Fry's With That?...Or how about bait and no switch?

How many times have you gone to a store for a special item because it was advertised as being on sale for a great price, and then when you get there, they're all out of that item? I guess it would be one thing if you showed op the last day of a 5 day sale, but how about when you show up first thing when the store opens and are among the first customers and the sales clerk tells you "Sorry, we're out of that item." Does that piss you off or what?

Now how about some other equal item in place of the allegedly sold out item? No way, Jose. They won't offer you an equal replacement item at all. What they will do is try and sell you a lower quality item on the shelf that is higher priced because the item you wanted is not available.

The item I am speaking of was a Gateway Intel quad core 6600 computer available the weekend of September 5-7 for the great price of $499. You know, a great price is only a great price if you can actually buy the item and take it away at that price. Yet here we were, none available, NO RAINCHECKS, nothing stating limited quantities or no more available, and , according to the sales clerk, just out of luck.

Well, thanks to Fried Electronics where you don't alwaye get the best buys, I was forced to look around some more and found, at Office Depot, a better Gateway DX Series computer with a faster Quad 6700 processor and memory, plus receive an instant $20 rebate PLUS a $130 mail in rebate which made the Office Depot deal a much better buy!

So, while Fry's touts the better buys, you can do better elsewhere and likely find the products advertised in stock. Nothing like wasting gas to run to Fry's and having nothing to show for your efforts. This isn't the first or second time this has happened to me so I say:

The Wise Don't Necessarily Buy at Fry's!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

John McCain and Sarah Palin

Last night's speech by Sarah Palin was compelling and anything but what one would expect from what many called a "novice' politician. In my mind she didn't sound like a politician, which makes me feel even better. Sarah Palin sounded like an American who is raising a family, serving her State and Country and doing it all darned well, by all accounts. And that's not only from her lips, but also from what many others say about her.

Sure, there are detractors, those who say she's not ready for the Vice-Presidency. Not enough experience. Amazing that she has more experience than the Democratic nominee for President, B. Hussein Obama! Sarah Palin tells it like it is and from all accounts always has. She speaks from the center of her mouth and not out of both sides, like Mr. Obama has. She's pro-gun and an avid hunter and NRA member. She knows where the need for energy independence lies and where the energy can come from and believes in drilling now, not kissing off to a bunch of environmental nambie-pambies who don't give a rat's ass if we all freeze to death in the dark, while they forge ahead on their save the planet agenda at all costs.

We all agree we don't want to destroy the environment. But there has been drilling in Alaska for many years with a sound environmental record, same as there has been offshore of California and the rest of the West Coast. But the environmentalists use the big "what if" bat to effectively block exploration and drilling, so we continue to be highly reliant on foreign energy sources. I received a copy of letter to a friend from Senator Diane Feinstein who dared state that drilling now is senseless, since we would see no benefit in reducing price nor dependence for many years. That's the same exact idiocy we heard ten years ago, when if we did the exploration and drilling we'd be ten years ahead now! That's the type thinking we need to abolish in Washington and in all government agencies, and having people like Sarah Palin on our side is a great plus in opening the doors to an energy independent America.

Speaking of which, Sarah Palin is the perfect partner for John McCain. They both are mavericks who know what's needed for America and won't flinch in going after it, and won't be swayed by political influence that tries to stand in their way. I hear people saying John McCain is too old. Too old for what? Too old to run the country the right way? Seems the younger guys have been trying to do it and not doing very well, so I think it's time we let age not be a factor and let someone who has used his years wisely take the helm and get us out of this quagmire we're in.

There may be no perfect candidate, much as there is no perfect person in this world. But when the chips are down, you really have to ask whether you want a one-term grandstander at the helm of the ship, or one who has been there and done that for most of his life, one who knows how to fight and survive under the most difficult conditions, and who has the tenacity and ability to lead us when we're in trouble, as we are today.

When the going is easy, it's easy to be a leader, because all you need to do is look good and sound good and everyone thinks you know what's going on and can lead them out of harms' way. But when the detritus hits the fans and the going gets really bad, the real leaders emerge, and I want to be behind a team that can lead through the bad times as well as the good.

For my money, John McCain and Sarah Palin are that team.