Saturday, December 31, 2005

Prediction - US or Israel Will Strike Iran in 2006

There is a window of opportunity to hit Iran prior to actually being able to deliver a nuclear warhead on a missle. There is also an election in 2006 with Democrats continuing to harp on the idea that Iran was a bigger threat than Iraq. For a more in depth look from someone who knows 100 X more than I do about it go ">here.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Are There Really Any Poor Left in USA

Sure, there are still poor, and we were supposedly seeing them in New Orleans after the flood. However, just how poor is open to question.

By Mark Trumbull | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor.
In case there was any doubt, a study has confirmed that Americans have a lot of what economists know, technically, as stuff.

These census findings, released earlier this month, were true even before gifts piled up under trees this past week.

The bottom 10 percent of the income ladder averaged just (my comment JUST?) 0.6 cars per household in 2002, the same as 1992.

Still, by almost all measures, the data show rising well-being for all of society. And while the wealth gap may not be narrowing, the rich-poor gap in lifestyles has narrowed substantially since 1992 when measured in many of these tangible items.

... the conveniences they (those in poverty) have are in fact pretty good."

Census researchers don't have a happiness index, but they are exploring aspects of well-being that go beyond physical goods. For example, nearly 13 percent of Americans have incomes that place them below the official poverty line. But what does that mean in terms of their daily lives? The fact that 95 percent of them may have a refrigerator tells only part of the story.

The Census report also compares, from 1992 through 1998, people's perceptions of whether basic needs were being met. More than 92 percent of Americans below the poverty line said they had enough food, as of 1998. Some 86 percent said they had no unmet need for a doctor, 89 percent had no roof leaks, and 87 percent said they had no unpaid rent or mortgage.

While some improvement was found in all those measures over that period, shortfalls obviously remain. But in many goods, the progress is significant for poor and rich alike.

Two-thirds of those in poverty had air conditioners in 1998, up from 50 percent in 1992. Personal computers have grown increasingly ubiquitous. Where fewer than 20 percent of homes had them in 1992, nearly 60 percent did in 2002 (more than own dishwashers).

Even with the rise interactive tools like computers and media players - alas, Apple iPods aren't included in the Census survey yet - the preferred appliance of couch potatoes is also spreading. There are now 2.1 TV sets per household, up from 1.6 in 1992.

The Census report doesn't measure environmental factors. The US routinely consumes more resources per capita than most other nations.

Some of the very poorest are the folks who are the streets because of substance abuse, psychological problems, or temporarty displacements. There is also new arrivals that add to that group, many of whom will be very upwardly mobile in the short term.

For the rest of the article

Miracles From The Passion

I haven't seen this video, but you might find this interesting.

Not only has Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" powerfully affected the faith of millions of viewers, but according to a new documentary by an Emmy-award-winning news veteran, it has also been instrumental in bringing about real miracles.

"Changed Lives: Miracles of The Passion" is a 1-hour program that captures, in their own words, people's inspiring and documented accounts of relationships restored, diseases healed, the dead resurrected, atheists coming to faith and even a confession to murder.

Thanks to World Net Daily

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Become an Expert at Anything in Just Hours

Sure, it seems like there are 1000's and 1000's of folks who hold themselves out as experts in various fields. And for some, it really takes years of education and experience to qualify as an expert.

On the other hand, I think you would be surprised how quickly you can become an expert on some topic where few care to compete for the title. For instance, at age 24, I was hired to speak and write articles as an expert on small security hardware devices. There might have been five people in the whole country who would have cared to have the title of padlock expert. If you wanted the title today, you could probably become as expert as I was in 80 hours or less.

Most of the time, I'm not interested in becoming an "expert" in order to sell my services, but rather to provide answers to life's daily issues. Someone calls and says they are experiencing pain of a specific type in an certain location on their body. Within 15 minutes or so on the web, it is possible to be pretty sure you know what the problem is. Now you are on the way to becoming an "expert" on bunions or AC arthritis or heartburn.

If you want to dig deeper, you can get about all you need on the web today. But as you surf and pick up the terms of art and the main issues, you will also find reviews of books that can take you to another level. You may also learn of others who are "experts" in the field. Some of those will have websites, blogs, or articles published that you can read. You will be amazed at how often those individuals will answer a well thought out e-mail or even pick up the phone if you call.

Now that you know how easy it is to become an expert, please keep that in mind when you hear someone giving their expert advice in the news or on a tv special. Their title may not be the result of any unique research or a lifetime of training and experience. In fact, the odds are against it.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Whole Clan

The four on the left are daughter Brandy, son-in-law Casey, and grandsons, Micah and Aslan. The four on the right are daughter Christian, son-in-law Nathan, and grandaughter Maddie (hard to see is grandson Grant who will be born in May. The two boys in the center are sons Brian behind yours truly and Robert behind the matriarch of this brood, Pam. And, lest I forget, our 15 year old cocka/terri/poo, binky, is in his normal spot.

Based on current projections and statements from the various children, this picture should roughly double before we're done.

Top 50 Gadgets of Last 50 Years

PC World has listed their picks for the gadgets that changed everything. You can see their list here.

The limitation on their list was that it had to be a gadget that PC World would have written about.

What about the most important breakthrough products of any kind in last 50 years.

#1. E-mail
#2. WWW
#3. Ball Point Pens
#4. Commercial jets
#5. Personal computers
#6. Digital Cameras
#7. Electronic Games
#8. Home washers, dryers
#9. Microwave ovens
#10. Copiers (commercial and consumer)
#11. Cell Phones
#12. Sonograms
#13. Medical and pharmacological too numerous to list
#14. Wireless technology
#15. Freeways
#16. Containerization of shipping
#17. Overnight shipping
#18. Credit/Debit cards
#19. Online banking and bill paying
#20. Bicycle Water Bottles

Friday, December 23, 2005

Science Giving Reasons for Skepticism

I admit to being a science skeptic. It isn't fun, because I truly like scientific inquirey, enjoy the fruits of science, and desire science to continue to build on its body of knowledge and give us great new inventions.

However, two recent stories give reasons to question what is going on with the scientific community. One article was brought to my attention by Michael Williams, friend and fellow blogger.

On global warming this horrific story. Here is the lead from Michael:

It's very unfortunate that scientists as a class don't live up to the image of objectivity they try to project, but it isn't surprising considering that every scientist I've met is a regular human being, with all the accompanying flaws. Still, many people seem shocked to discover that scientists are often more concerned with advancing their personal careers and agendas than with advancing the state of human knowledge.

The other is the widely reported deceit by the South Korean Scientist regarding cloning. He just made stuff up.

The Truth About Aspartame (NutraSweet)

I drink about 4 Diet Pepsi's per day. So when folks I trust tell me that the Aspartame in the drink can cause brain tumors, dizziness, and other such problems, I hit the internet to get the latest. I first did this about 5 years ago. My finding was that every site I visited which made such claims used anecdoatal evidence and unnamed studies. The few studies that purported to find problems with Aspartame seemed to have problems with causality. It is not the same thing to say something is linked as it is to say one thing causes another.

Anyway, the subject came up again today. I hit the web to see if anything had changed. The anit-apartame sites were still primarily over-the-top sites that made claims which were far from scientific. Two neutral sites you might want to visit if you're interested:

First study

# (MIT News):

Even daily large doses of the high-intensity sweetener aspartame, also known as NutraSweet, had no adverse effect on study subjects' health and well-being, a visiting scientist at MIT reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last week.

"We conclude that aspartame is safe for the general population," said Paul A. Spiers, visiting scientist in the Clinical Research Center (CRC).

The other study

Sure, where there's smoke maybe there's fire. The problem is that people tend to blame aspartame for everything. The sweetener has been associated with something like 90 different symptoms, including vision problems, dizziness, drowsiness, abdominal pain, anxiety attacks, depression, confusion, memory loss, ringing in the ears, chest palpitations, personality changes, convulsions, and irritability. It's also been linked to conditions ranging from brain tumors, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis to chronic fatigue syndrome.

Scientists say real toxins don't work that way--they produce a specific cluster of symptoms. One chemical can't possibly be causing all this stuff.

For the most part researchers have been unable to replicate adverse aspartame reactions in the lab. In numerous studies investigators recruited individuals who said aspartame triggered headaches, epileptic seizures, or what have you. Typically they fed half the subjects aspartame and the other half a placebo. In most cases there was no observable difference.

I like Diet Pepsi. I'll continue to indulge.

The Truth About The Terror Threat

It would appear that some pretty smart folks honestly believe that the terror threat is not very substantial. They would argue that the very substantial acts of terror that have killed hundreds or even thousands in various places around the world are pulled off by rogue gangs of really bad guys. One friend compared them to the drug gangs in East Los Angeles or Chicago's South Side. To oustiders the motivation of these thugs might appear to be Islamic fundamentalism, but if we were to take a close look at the individuals you might find the same kind of social and psychological profiles that induce young men into inner city gangs: Need for strong leadership, desire for action, need to belong, low sense of self worth, even self loathing.

Others would point to pictures of cheering mobs in various Middle Eastern Cities after 911 or Sharon's stroke. This viewpoint would hold that that a substantial part of the Islamic population (especially in some countries) would be easily induced to participate in the Jihad if they thought it was succeeding. Thus, any evidence of weakness on our part would result in big gains for Al Qaeda, first in prestige, then in money and actual participating soldiers, and ultimately in nations under their control. We might call this the tipping point theory.

The vast majority of experts seem to believe that Al Qaeda already has, or at least did have, and will have again the assets in place to do real mahem. They also believe that there is an almost limitless supply of antisocial shock troops that can be employed to carry out actions against Jewish and Western culture and people.

If the threat is lower today than it was from 1992-2002, it could only be because of the efforts of the Bush administration with help from Blair and a few others. If that is true, then it would seem we should stay the course, and not become complacent until the job is done. Otherwise we will likely have to go spend money and lives a second time, which would be sad indeed.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Count Your Words - They Might Matter

According to Dan Kennedy, whose marketing CD's I'm currently listening to, there is an Indian legend which claims that we are each "given" a set number of words to speak in our life. When we use them up, we die. Then, we are judged based on the content of our speech. This idea, were it true, creates a number of interesting issues.

It would certainly cause us to think more carefully about how much we said. Folks like me might be looking for cures to diarrhea of the mouth.

We would also be more careful to be kind and not mean in our utterances.

Having shared this idea with a couple of people, they have immediately asked the implications for women. I'll leave it there.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What Are YOU Afraid Of? It May Be The Determinant in Your Political Views

Are you afraid of Islamic Terrorist striking the US or US interests? Are you afraid that human caused global warming is going to result in a global catastrophe? Are you afraid that some kind of illness (AID's, Bird Flu) is going to wipe out big chunks of population? Are you afraid that the Chinese, or the Indians, or the Europeans are going to take over our position as economic engine of the world, resulting in a lowered standard of living for us? Are you afraid that the Bush administration is desiring some kind of extra level of authority that might result in truly reducing freedoms in America? Are you afraid that licentious behavior with roots in Hollywood and branches in San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, and Miami is going to destroy the family as we know it and undermine the entire culture? Are you afraid that Walmart or Google or Bill Gates or Time Warner/HBO are trying to take over the world? Are you afraid that Indian, Chinese, and Mexican workers are going to take away your job. Or, if not your job, your brother-in-laws job?

Depending on what you are truly afraid of, you will likely vote for the folks that are fighting on that front. Or at least seem to be. Personally, I'm much more afraid of the potential for cultural decline and foreign mischief by tyrants than I am by anything else on the list. Why, because I have witnessed the results of both many times in my lifetime, and read the history of the world until now. I'm a bit concerned, for the same reasons, about our economy and how it will compete in the future, but not even to the level of being alarmed.

That's why I'm a Republican. The R's are very interested in those three things. The D's aren't. They are more interested in things that have never happened, but might. It makes no sense to me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Randy's Five Rules For Math Excellence

If your child is not doing very well in math, I promise you these techniques will create improvement.

Rule # 1. Fundamentals. Your young student must know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Adding and subtracting any single numbers should be as fast as counting to ten. Even better if your kid can add any two digit number to any other two digit number in their head. Multiplication up to 12 X 12 should be memorized and automatic. Division - any number that divides evenly up to 144/12 also memorized and automatic. Schools do not push this idea any more, and I believe it is the key reason why scores are down. Use this rule for a student of any age, including high school and college.

Rule # 2. Real Life. What does your kid care about that relates to math. Your boys will very likely care about baseball averages and other sports statistics. They might also be interested in measuring things they are building.

Your girls will likely be interested in what things cost, how to do discounts, and measuring for cooking. Clearly your child might have vastly different interest than those listed. But math has applications to almost everything we do. How can you make math real?

Rule # 3. Paper is Cheap. Many math errors are made by making numbers too small, scrunching them at the bottom of the page, scratching things out, or not lining things up well. Tell your child that paper is cheap. It is ok to use more of it if it will keep the numbers neat.

Rule # 4. Memorize the definitions of all terms. We memorize for English, but no teacher I know is pushing kids to memorize definitions of math terms. If we don't know the definition when the word is used in a word problem, how can we possibly work it out?

Rule # 5. Is the answer stupid? If the answer you get is the car was traveling 387 miles per hour, or the temperature outside was 712 degrees, it may require rechecking the math. This doesn't just apply to word problems. Use estimates of regular problems to see if the resulting answer is in the ball park.

If you use these methods and have success or not, let me know.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Husband Wife Role Assignments

Pam and I have established different responsibilities within our home. The primary split is that I am the one who makes the money. She is the one who spends it.

We concluded the other day that she is far better at her job than I am, and she wishes I would catch up!!!

Media Bias - The Truth - Again

This is not the first study, but maybe the most thorough and most dedicated to insuring that the study was not itself biased. The results: The media is extremely biased to the left. WOW! What a shock! Here's the good news.

Five news outlets — "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," ABC's "Good Morning America," CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown," Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and the Drudge Report — were in a statistical dead heat in the race for the most centrist news outlet. Of the print media, USA Today was the most centrist.

The study comes from UCLA, which is a bit of a shock in itself. For the leftist faculty of this school (my alma mater) to admit these results is amazing.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Changing Your Mate

I don't put a lot of stock in this study, so I won't even site it. However, when women and men were each asked what they would change about their mates, the answers were:

Women want their men to be better listeners.

Men want their wives to be more available for sex.

By the way, it was the method of the study, not the results, that I question.

Two Most Important Parenting Tips

Talking to my daughter, Christian, today about parenting her daughter, Maddie. It reminded me that after 4 kids and years of studying parenting, I have two tips that reduce stress and improve relations with your kids.

1. Distraction. When the child is acting up or creating a scene, and correction isn't working I usually try ignoring next. If both of those don't seem to be getting the job done, I like to try distraction. That has a very high degree of success with most kids.

2. Friends. I love playing with my kids and grandkids...for a while. My favorite humans, in general, are those under 10. But a hour or so of being their pal is enough for me. So when I'm in charge, I'm looking for friends for them to play with.

Some parents seem to feel that they only get a break when their kid goes to the friend's house. I'm not particular. I will always offer to have the friend or friends come over to our house. Either way, I get some time to get other things done. And I prefer the interaction of friends to using the tv as a babysitter.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Who Kills More - Atheists or Christians

20th Century War Deaths were exceeded by Communist governments killing of their own people--democide.

"Overall, the best estimate of those killed after the Vietnam War by the victorious communists in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia is 2,270,000. Now totaling almost twice as many as died in the Vietnam War, this communist killing still continues.

To view this double standard from another perspective, both World Wars cost twenty-four million battle deaths. But from 1918 to 1953, the Soviet government executed, slaughtered, starved, beat or tortured to death, or otherwise killed 39,500,000 of its own people (my best estimate among figures ranging from a minimum of twenty million killed by Stalin to a total over the whole communist period of eighty-three million). For China under Mao Tse-tung, the communist government eliminated, as an average figure between estimates, 45,000,000 Chinese. The number killed for just these two [Communist] nations is about 84,500,000 human beings, or a lethality of 252 percent more than both World Wars together. Yet, have the world community and intellectuals generally shown anything like the same horror, the same outrage, the same out pouring of anti-killing literature, over these Soviet and Chinese megakillings as has been directed at the much less deadly World Wars?" War versus Genocide and Mass Murder

Atheistic Communism has no close competitor when it comes to murder and mahem, expecially against their own people. Those who suggest that Christianity or those professing to be Christ followers havae been responsible for substantial genocide have a point, but there is no comparison.

HT to my daily read, Collecting My Thoughts

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas and Chocolate Gifts

My dark chocolate journey began a couple of years ago. I've preferred the dark stuff for as long as I can remember, but it started getting press for being good for you. Never one to pass up the great combination of liking something and having it be good for you, I became a choclatier.

Now I can count on at least a few of my Christmas, birthday, and Father's Day presents being some new variation on the dark chocolate them. So here are a few ideas for someone whose health and well being you care about. Trader Joe's Pound Plus looks like $10 or more worth of Chocolate, but it's only about $3. Hershey's Extra Dark is hard to find, so your friend or loved one probably hasn't tried it yet. And it's package just looks expensive.

Of course, you can hit the web and find all kinds of really expensive chocolates in various forms and in beautiful containers. Just Google Dark Chocolate.

No, contrary to how it may look, I don't make any money from these recommendations. I do it because I like you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bush Scores Yet Another Victory

I don't claim to be the smartest guy on the block, but I don't think I'm totally stupid either. And yet the Democrats and the liberal media must think I am. They keep asking Bush for a strategy and a plan and clear markers of progress. And yet, way last year, or was it the year before, we set out specific dates for election, constitution, election, and then full sovereignty. We have hit those targets almost exactly on the nose in each instance. Where is the headline "Bush - 4 for 4!" But you can imagine the uproar if we'd missed one of these dates by a month or two. Oh, my gosh!

Now we have new expectations. We will be putting Iraqi soldiers and policemen into postions of command that take US soldiers 3-5 years to attain. But it's way to slow for the Dems. Can anyone explain this to me. In simple sentences.

Gift Ideas for Big

If you have a reader in the house and you're trying to figure out some great gifts, don't ever think that your reader gets tired of getting "more books." If you aren't a reader yourself, it is probably a bit difficult to understand us. But we get at least as much, and probably more, enjoyment from a good book, that the rest of the folks get from a good TV program or round of golf.

Anyway, there are two easy ways to get a bunch of ideas for your reader if he or she is a Christian. Up at the top of the page is a little search engine for my blog. Just start typing in names like Randy Alcorn, Ted Dekker, Tim LaHaye. You can also just quickly tool through the archives. A few of the best reviews are down on the right column. You can also see some of my favorites linked to Amazon.

Or you might just jump over to my other blog which has lists of books recommended by folks like Chuck Colson, Dr. Dobson, Charles Swindol and others.

Hopefully among the hundreds of books on these two blogs, you'll find the perfect gift.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Luckiest Man on Earth

Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas

My answer to everyone who wishes me happy holidays is to say: "And a Merry Christmas to you, as well!" For my effort, one elf receives a tool belt. Or at least that is the contention of a new website For those who utter the Happy Holidays greeting, they have to live with the fact that they just killed an elf. This rather fun and silly way of dealing with the controversy beats the heck out of lawsuits and talking head arguments. So, Merry Christmas to all of you, and a Happy New Year, Too.

Narnia vs Kong vs Potter

If you like movies and you like horse races and you like to root for certain points of view as expressed by movies, prepare for the face-off of all time. The darkest of the Harry Potter series has been producing box office gross ahead of the other three. Score one for the secularists and the lovers of magic and the occult.

Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe debuts this week with enough pre-opening publicity to make it a sure hit. But will it outgross Harry Potter? If it does, the Christians will have struck another blow for more movies celebrating Christian history, fantasy, and life style movies. Imagine a trend where there were more movies showing Christian and pastors in a positive light than making fun of them.

King Kong, the remake, will hit theaters December 13. The is predicting this will out draw Titanic to become the number 1 film of all time. Christians and secularists won't know how to root on this one. Peter Jackson became a hero to Christians with his wildly successful Lord of the Rings Trilogy. But King Kong can't be seen as a story with many Biblical themes.

If you want to keep score, check out This site is great for reviews, history, face-offs between movies, and the like. This really awful movie year will see a great closing month. Some other outstanding movies won't stand a chance.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Field Emission Display - Don't Buy Plasma or CRT Yet

My other favorite magazine, Wired, says that early 2006 will see the intro of FED television by Canon, working with Toshiba. Benefits include super thin, more accurate color, truer blacks, and smoother motion tracking. The technology requires using an inkjet to spray electronics directly onto the glass resulting in millions of microscopic electron emitters arranged in a grid on your screen. Please don't ask me for any more detail on how it works than that, but I'm going to wait a bit longer to buy my next TV.

New Telephone Invention May Change Everything

It is so annoying to hear our cordless phone going off somewhere in the house, then try to hunt it down before the 4th ring. Cell phones are worse, because there is only one handset for each phone number. At least with three phones in a two story house, the cordless landlines offer a respectible chance of success.

With this in mind, I offer my solution. Tethers. They have changed my life with regard to gas caps. I used to have to buy one every year or so. Why not attach a tether to each phone and attach the other end to a wall? Then you would always know where it is.

Let me know if you'd like to make an investment in my new product.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Truth About Troop Casualties in Iraq

If anyone of a center or center left persuasion wonders why I am so skeptical about the mainstream media or the Democrats, here is another example. We keep hearing about the 15,000 "wounded" in Iraq. Here is the real story.

Statistics for Army hospitals treating Operation Iraqi Freedom casualties can be found here. From March 19, 2003, through May 31, 2005 there were 18,729 total evacuations to Army facilities, broken down for cause as follows:

Wounded in action (WIA): 2,527
Non-battle injuries (NBI): 5,444
Disease: 10,758
The number of amputations may be surprising to those who've never seen them reported before.
188 Army soldiers, 28 of whom are multiple amputees
60 Marines, 10 of whom are multiple amputees
4 Navy sailors, no multiple amputees
2 Air Force amputees, 1 of whom is a multiple amputee
Total of 254 service member amputees treated in Army hospitals
The numbers from Afghanistan are smaller:
Wounded in action (WIA): 122
Non-battle injuries (NBI): 408
Disease: 1,046

Total of 28 service member amputees treated in Army hospitals

HT to

Cows, NOT Humans, to Blame for Global Warming

Almost 20 years ago my friend, Ron Guilbault, told me that the major sources of methane gas were cow flatulance and termites. He also maintained that one major volcanic eruuption creates more carbon dioxide than all the human effort since the beginning of humandom. Here is the most recent cow study

But a study by French scientists published this year warned that flatulent farm animals must shoulder some of the blame.

There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14% of all emissions of the gas.

Carbon dioxide is by far the biggest contributor to climate change, but methane has 23 times the warming potential of CO2 so reducing its emission is also considered important.

Sure, it is a French study, but discounting that, surely there must be a way to pipe that methane into a storage facility and then pump into cars.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Truth About Homeland Security

Sometimes I start to believe that Tim Russert of Meet the Press is trying real hard to be balanced in his reporting. And I acknowledge that you can't give a really deep answer to a complex issue in 10 minutes. However, today's program interviewed the Chair & Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, on their final report on terrorism & U.S. preparedness, "The 9/11 Commission Report: The Unfinished Agenda" The complete transcript is available. I take you to the middle.

MR. RUSSERT: I can just see my dad and millions of other Americans sitting here watching this program this morning saying, "What is going on?" It's been four years since September 11. You had your commission. You met, had a bipartisan unanimous vote, had these recommendations to allow emergency responders to talk with one another...

MR. KEAN: Yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: give more money to areas of high risk, to have a unified command center and nothing's been done. What is the problem? Seriously, who's accountable?

MR. HAMILTON: Well, we've asked ourselves that question a good many times. I think in general what we will say tomorrow is that there is a lack of a sense of urgency. And that's what impresses us overall. I think what happens is sustainability is a very tough thing in our government just because there are so many competing priorities. We've got a war going on. We've got three wars going on, one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq and the war against terror, and it's awfully hard to keep people focused on something like this. What Tom and I and the other commissioners are saying is we have to get back to a real sense of urgency about protecting the safety and the security of the American people.

Here are my two biggest objections. Not once during the entire interview does he ask the gentlemen if the POTUS and the Congress should get an A for having given us four years without a single successful attack on US interests. At no time does he provide a list or ask for a list of the things that have been done correctly!!

This month's issue of Wired Magazine points out why no ideology or use of force will defeat America. Our capitalistic system rewards folks for coming up with ways to stop bad guys. The rewards are huge, thus the brains in business, not the ones in congress or the administration, will be working night and day to collect the bucks from the method or weapon that will stop these freaks.

The only thing besides fear itself that we have to fear, is that capitalism will become the underpinning of another major power who decides for illogical reasons that we are the enemy. Only a great capitalist country can ever defeat us, and a truly great capitalist society will not want to hurt us, because it will hurt a major market.

Read by Four - Step By Step Method Anyone Can Do

I was planning to write a book on this, create a series of CD's, set up classes, and otherwise market the idea into untold $millions for my family. Alas, there is only so much time, and I have a blog to write. So here it is for free.

I have successfully taught 3 of my children to read at the third grade level within one year of starting. One started at age 4 and a half. The other two started at age 3 and a half. My youngest boy read the first 4 books of the Bible by age 5, and the entire New Testament by age six. (Children's International Version which is a full translation.)

Sure, my kids are brilliant (at least according to me.) However, I maintain that this can be done with any child. Here are the steps. No Charge. No Come On.

1. Start teaching letters as soon as they will pay attention. Use Sesame Street, magnetic letters on the Fridge, blocks, electronic games, anything. At age 2 and a half, have dad sit with the soon to be genius for 10-20 minutes and study letters. I suggest dad, because it will be special time. Not that moms aren't special, just that the kid is probably getting lots of attention from mom with very little work. I suggest that this study be done on Dad's lap. Makes it even more special and desirable.

2. The first goal is to have the young reader recognize every letter by pointing to them as you say them . The second goal is to have them saying the letter when you point to it. These two exercises can be done simultaneously with some work on each done each day. Start with capitals. When they are 100% proficient, then do the lower case letters.

3. While this entire process is going on, begin to tell them what a few simple words are in their children's books as you read to them. Words like the, and, or, I, and Mom. This is so that they will begin to get the idea that the sets of letters they are seeing are more than just letters, but have word meanings.

4. At this point you will need a "reader." My personal favorite is the McGuffy's Readers, which are a reprint of a reader from the 19th Century. They are so different than anything else the child will be seeing, that they have a special intrigue. There is also much talk of God in these readers. Finally, they have phonics in an easy way to explain it.

5. Whatever reader you choose, begin with a few weeks of see and say. In other words, have the child learn words that they can associate with pictures. In the McGuffy's, these are words like pot, ax, dog, cat, and hat.

6. Don't do "see and say" for more than six or eight weeks. Begin to take the pictures away as soon as possible and introduce new words that don't have a picture. Again, the McGuffy's reader does this in a way that make the transition easy.

7. About 90 days into this process, begin to do phonics drills. I always started with "a" and worked on various "a" sounds before moving to "e"

8. During your story book reading time, point out the words they have learned as you see them. Very likely, they will begin to point them out as well.

9. You will be surprised at how quickly they begin to take over some of the reading of their stories, combining actual reading with memorization.

10. Within 1 year, they should be reading at about the 3rd grade level, if you do about 20 minutes per day, 4 days per week.

11. I'd love to get your comments and e-mails on this.

Oil Prices May Be On the Way Down - Way Down

One little known theory of commodities pricing is that what goes up fast, comes down fast. Be prepared for a precipitous fall in oil, gold, silver, and platinum.

Some oil executives worry prices may fall

By Jad Mouawad The New York Times

NEW YORK Hold on to your gas guzzlers: Cheap oil may once again be just around the corner. Even as consumers worry about high gasoline prices and rising heating bills, oil executives in London, Texas and Saudi Arabia seem to be concerned about a prospect of falling oil prices.

In a recent speech in Singapore, John Browne, the chief executive of BP, spoke of a possible sharp drop in prices and called current levels "unsustainably high."

John Hofmeister, head of Shell Oil in the United States, said during an interview, "This high price cycle is artificially inflated."

The notion of a steep falloff in energy prices may seem far-fetched.

After all, in the past year, the market has experienced crude oil prices that touched $70 a barrel; huge disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico; strong demand from the United States and from the world's fastest-growing market, China; continuing problems in producing Iraqi oil for export; and mounting tensions with Iran, a large OPEC exporter.

If anything, most of those situations would point to a sustained period of high energy prices. Most analysts said they expected crude oil prices to remain above $40 a barrel for the foreseeable future.

But the oil business has witnessed a succession of booms and busts, and oil companies have found it impossible to balance their future production with the world's need for oil. Too much capacity, and prices fall; too little, and they rise.

Today, producers are again under pressure to step up production and refining, and to increase investments to get more oil to the markets quickly. But oil executives and government ministers are concerned that if demand slowed down, even a little bit, those investments might create a large oversupply in two to three years, pushing prices down again.

Only a few years ago, the industry was dealing with a glut in production capacity, sluggish demand and a financial crisis in Asia. All of that led to an oil-price collapse in 1998, with futures contracts falling to about $10 a barrel.

Prices eventually rose, but the experience left a lasting impression among producers. As Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, said recently at a news conference in Riyadh, "As producers, we don't want to build capacity without demand."

This recurring debate in the industry may seem odd. Recently, the theme has been the end of cheap oil, prompted by a surge in Chinese demand and a lack of spare production capacity. Traders' concerns that producers would struggle to catch up with consumer demand pushed prices to $60 a barrel from $30 in less than two years. Doomsayers saw signs that the world was running out of oil.

But there are indications that high oil prices may be coming to an end. After briefly topping $70 a barrel when Hurricane Katrina interrupted supplies from the Gulf of Mexico, prices have fallen on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Analysts at Citibank said oil might fall to $50 a barrel, and possibly less, in coming months.

There's more if you want it here

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Who Makes Minimum Wage?

Some demagogues charge that jobs at Wal-Mart and McDonald's only pay the minimum wage. That's plain wrong, as are many other things said about jobs that start at the minimum wage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Sixty-three percent of minimum wage workers receive raises within one year of employment, and only 15 percent still earn the minimum wage after three years. Moreover, only three percent of all hourly workers and two percent of wage and salary earners earn minimum wages. Most minimum wage earners are young -- 53 percent are between the ages of 16 and 24.

Furthermore, only 5.3 percent of minimum wage earners are from households below the official poverty line; 40 percent of minimum wage earners live in households with incomes of $60,000 and higher, and over 82 percent of minimum wage earners do not have dependents. -- Walter Williams

Hat Tip to John Hawkins

Can we take those stats and make them more real: Almost all minimum wage workers are just starting out on their first job, are very young, and live with someone who adds to their support. Moreover, 85% will no longer be earning the minimum 3 years from now. That last 15% are very likely also the secondary wage earner, and have reasons for staying where the wages are low. Very low skills, no effort to advance, poor work habits or attitude, other benefits on the job that are not paid in cash.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Right Wing News Offers List of Most Fascinating People in the Blogosphere

I'm not on the list, but since all of them are not that flattering, I may be glad to have been passed over. In any case, if you are politically conservative, and you would like a fun read check out this site

Truth About Global Warming Activists

Another site I love to visit is Junk Science. Here is the beginning of a new article out today.

The 11th annual meeting of global warming enthusiasts in Montreal isn’t turning out to be a very happy event. Even though this is the first opportunity for the burgeoning global climate bureaucracy to celebrate the full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, the realities of science, economics and politics are raining on its parade.

First, a new study published this week in the journal Nature (Dec. 1) turns global warming alarmism on its head. British researchers reported that the ocean current responsible for the tropical winds that warm Europe’s climate has decreased by an estimated 30 percent since 1957. The headline of the New Scientist report (Nov. 30) on the study nicely captured its import, “Failing ocean current raises fear of mini ice age.”

That conclusion, however, doesn’t jibe at all with the reality of European climate, which began warming 200 years ago and is now setting the modern records for warm temperatures that the pro-Kyoto crowd likes to hyperventilate about. The European Environment Agency, in fact, claimed on Nov. 29 that Europe is currently facing

To read the rest, go here