Friday, January 28, 2011

Computers and Wallets

Have you ever noticed how similar wallets and computers are? If you've been carrying around a wallet for any time it becomes part of you; you know how it feels and where every thing is located without having to think about it. The same holds true for computers; they become familiar to a certain extent.

Our desk top computer "blew its brains out" the other day; a violent image stolen from the fellow who diagnosed its failure to function. I'd have preferred something like, "It passed away in its sleep" or "It ran away from the insane asylum"; closer to the truth than discharging a loaded weapon in my office.

Fortunately we'd purchased Carbonite a year ago to back up all our files for just such an event. It might take a couple of days to recover all those "ones and zeroes"; but thank goodness for a little planning in advance. I have almost everything on CDs or memory sticks and could probably figure out where they all go; but this way all our files should look pretty much like they did before.

I can't imagine having to reload every photograph or having to download all that music manually. I sure hope those files find order out of chaos as they filter across the internet. Imagine what it would sound like if Meatloaf got jumbled up with Chopin; mind boggling isn't it.

We'd skipped Windows Vista and went from XP straight into Windows 7; just wanted to sound technical for a few moments. I just checked on Carbonite's progress; only one percent has been transferred, a little over 3,300 files. At this rate it will take a few days before the new computer will be useful. I only mention this because I know how often our internet connection is interrupted; keep those fingers crossed, toss a dead chicken over the fence and spit.

If you put that in perspective, Egypt will have gone into total upheaval, oil will have jumped another ten dollars a barrel, Rahm Emanuel will have proclaimed all other candidates in Chicago ineligible, gotten a federal judge to have them removed from the ballot and declared himself Emperor of the Windy City. Nobody would be surprised.

The new computer shut down for an unknown reason, something to do with Windows 7 upgrades not being able to find a System Restore Point; it rebooted and Carbonite acted as if nothing had been accomplished, starting over from the beginning, again. The old computer may have died in its sleep; this brand new one might get shot if it keeps doing that. Are bullet fragments in the hard drive covered under warranty?

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Go on ahead

Recently my arthritis has been taking a toll; knees and back telling me to slow down or simply halt. When working with the 11 year old Scouts often times they hear me say, “Go on ahead, I’ll catch up later”.

“Old age ain’t for sissies”, at least that’s what Bettie Davis said. She was right, it’s tough getting old; all the same, think I’ll stick around as long as I can.

This past week at church there were several talks aimed at getting folks to attend the temple for their own ordinances as well as to perform vicarious work for those who’ve “gone on ahead”. If you think about it, these dearly departed really haven’t died, at least not in the eternal sense; they have achieved the next step in their eternal progression.

Those who’ve passed on without having certain sacred ordinances performed are halted in their progression until such time as the work is done for them. It is our responsibility to step up to the line, turn off the television or what ever is distracting us from a more important task and get that work at the temple done.

Shifting gears, this evening is the State of the Union Address; yet another pep rally for progressives, Barack Obama being the spokesman in chief. We’ll hear platitudes designed and matched with the applause cues. Somewhere there will be a promise for new jobs, green energy for the future with less dependence on evil oil, entitlements enough for all with no mention of how these are to be paid other than by the undeserving wealthy who just happened to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

I read a short article by Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit where Sen. John Kerry’s been pushing for more ecologically based initiatives, initiatives which will further collapse our fragile economy through expensive mandates to industry and our energy production.

“President Obama is likely to announce “major initiatives” on energy and climate change in his State of the Union address, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Monday.”

“Kerry, the informal leader of the Senate effort to pass legislation to rein in global warming, encouraged the president to announce ambitious plans on energy and climate policy during Tuesday’s speech, and said he expected Obama to do so.”

The EPA continues to mandate expensive modifications to industry and power suppliers based on faulty and fraudulent data provided by the IPCC. The EPA is pushing forward with greater percentages of ethanol in gasoline despite the lack of support from the petroleum industry, auto manufacturers and even some environmental groups.

“The government hinted that the E-15 rule will be broadened. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Wednesday’s action was “the first of a number of actions that are needed from federal, state and industry toward commercialization of E-15 gasoline blends.” She noted that “a decision on the use of E-15 in model year 2001 to 2006 vehicles will be made after EPA receives the results of additional DOE testing, which is expected to be completed in November.”’

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a concerted effort to destroy the free market, industry and individual liberty in favor of the great collective. Socialism has proven a failure everywhere it’s been tried while capitalism has been the driving force behind America’s success. The progressives won’t be happy until we leave our cars on the side of the road and start walking, live in caves without heat or light and die early in order to make up for the sins of mankind against mother earth.

I think I’ll skip tonight’s performance. Mr. President, “You go on ahead; I’ll catch up later.”

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pig Flu Auto Theft Scare

Remember how we were all going to die from H1N1, Pig Flu, Chinese Bird Flu or some other mass pandemic? Did it happen? The news media had a field day scaring folks into getting face masks, flu shots or even pulling children from school to avoid contact with others who might already be carriers.

This past week there’s a similar scare tactic on our local NBC station, KPRC; only this time we’re being warned about high tech auto thieves lurking behind every blade of grass, bush and tree. This new brand of auto thief doesn’t need to break the window or lock; he only needs a cheap electronic device which hacks into your remote to steal the code which opens and starts the car.

Everything in the story was true; devices are out there which are capable of stealing the electronic codes when you lock or unlock your car, some thieves have been found to be in possession of these devices and there is a chance your fancy car could be stolen in this manner. Common sense dictates a modicum of caution; however, before getting too concerned, this information came from Switzerland and there is little indication the devices are in widespread use here.

“KPRC Local 2 checked with Houston police, who said they have not heard of any cases like this. They said keyless entry has helped car thefts decrease.”

Imagine that, the police have not heard of ANY cases like this. I would; however, amend their assumption that keyless entry has helped to decrease car thefts. Most newer vehicles are equipped with an anti-theft device called a transponder system.

A little transmitter about the size of a large grain of rice is embedded in the head of the ignition key. When you turn the key towards the start position, energy from the vehicle's battery activates the device which sends a long strand of code to the vehicle’s computer. Unless the information stored in the computer matches the car won’t start. Transponder key systems are mostly responsible for the decrease in car thefts.

Unfortunately, auto thieves have figured this out. Instead of stealing your car after you’ve gone inside the house or shopping mall, these guys know they can’t just smash the ignition switch with a hammer and screw driver like they could years ago. Now auto thieves have to stick a gun to your head to obtain the fancy transponder key in order to get your car; the crime is called Armed Robbery, with or without serious bodily injury.

I wrote an article back in July which included auto theft statistics . The police department failed to include the most important information, were the vehicles stolen equipped with transponder technology or were these older vehicles. I tried to obtain the information but could find nobody capable of extracting this important statistic from their over burdened computer data base.

The price of gas goes up a few cents each week and is hovering at three dollars a gallon. It’s expected to reach much higher; maybe that should be phrased differently, certain government officials, under pressure from environmentalists, would prefer the price of gasoline to reach five dollars per gallon in order to save the planet. Never mind the economy falling off the charts, our jobless rate equals or surpasses that of the Great Depression, China’s about to call in our markers because the dollar isn’t worth gambling on; no, we need to get worked up because auto thieves in Switzerland have figured out a new way to steal cars equipped with a push button starter.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shaking the Money Tree

A call from a Ford/Lincoln/Mercury dealership came in the other day to make keys for a 1998 Mercury Mountaineer. Their service department was no longer able to access the key code, it having been dumped, so they needed a locksmith. You have to wonder why the folks who manage their database consider it needful to purge valuable information, such as key codes for older vehicles, as if modern computers couldn’t handle the extra information.

I could understand if this were twenty years ago when computer hard drives had limited storage; but the space taken up by one year’s worth of vehicle information couldn’t justify throwing it away, could it? Don’t get me wrong; I make quite a few calls to car dealership service departments to make keys for vehicles they could easily have done had the database supplied them with a key code.

On the way to the call I phoned my mom, a regular conversation to let her know how things are going, what’s on the list today or the weather. I mentioned how the service department was handcuffed by a database which had tossed key codes in the trash. She started reciting lines from an old fairy tale by the brothers Grimm.

“ Rustle and shake yourself, dear tree,
  And silver and gold throw down to me!”

I pulled off into a parking lot to jot the lines down, not wishing to drive and play secretary at the same time. I knew if I didn’t put it down in writing I’d forget; morsels too good not to share.

I found a website dedicated to the study of fairy tales , an explanation of how childhood verses weave intricate memories, memories which explain imagination, emotions and the world around us in terms more suitable for young minds. I spent half the afternoon enjoying images created by random verses, short tales I’d heard many years ago, rhyming couplets and poems; each painted a memory of my youth. It would have been a shame not to include this as part of my locksmith experience.

“Jacob (1785-1863) and William (1786-1859) Grimm, both fine scholars, incapable of any but good work, did not undertake to put the tale into literary form suited to children. They were interested in preserving folk-lore records for scientific purposes. And we must distinguish between the tale as a means of reflecting the ideals of social and religious life, of displaying all the genius of primitive man for science to interpret, and the tale as a means of pleasing and educating the child…”

Now for the translation of the brothers Grimm couplet:

“Big car manufacturers toss out your stuff
  May it fall down to me, I can never get enough”

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

This will also appear as a feature article on Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America’s website.

The Climate Debate Summed Up

I found this video by Edward John Craig on Facebook, originally posted at National Review Online; a couple of cartoon robot figures explain man made global warming. There must be another video somewhere, Al Gore predicting Crop Circles will eventually cause ocean levels to rise and destroy major cities.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Texas Needs Brown Shoes Fighting EPA

The EPA is intent on taking over Texas’ permitting authority as the new year brings about significant mandates to power plants and larger industrial complexes according to an article posted on Fuel Fix blog by Matthew Tresaugue. Texas has refused to go along with EPA mandates based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The EPA based its mandates on the IPCC report and continues to back them as if man made global warming, primarily CO2 as a leading contributor to greenhouse gasses, was a settled science or closed issue.

You might recall how the IPCC report was shot down for using tainted scientific data, altered or manufactured to suit their needs, by a close knit community of environmental “scientists” involved in moving the agenda of man made global warming forward rather than conducting unbiased testing and recording of data.

Climategate , and other reputable scientists have exposed the IPCC report for the fraud it represents and yet the EPA continues to pursue an agenda which would destroy American tools of industry through unnecessary and unwarranted constraints on energy production and consumption. Many scientists have jumped ship from the environmental movement and conceded that man made global warming is nothing more than an attempt to redistribute wealth.

Tresaugue’s article included a glimpse of the environmental movement, the folks intent on moving the “religion” of man made global warming forward.

“The ruling is just the latest chapter in what is a spirited fight between Texas and the federal government over the way the state regulates air pollution. The new rules on greenhouse gases would have a profound impact on Texas, which pumps more carbon dioxide into the air than any other state.”

‘“Three strikes should mean ‘you’re out’ in this case,” said Steve Cochran, vice president for climate at the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group. “If Texas put half the effort into carrying out greenhouse gas pollution control measures that it put into fighting them, EPA would not need to be involved.”’

What is the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and what kind of folks are running it? Glad you asked! If you visit their website  all manner of clues can be found.

“EDF today has more Ph.D. scientists and economists engaged in advocacy than any other similar organization. Our biologists and chemists are deeply involved in the most critical environmental challenge of our time, global warming.”

Our work is directed by chief scientist Dr. Steven P. Hamburg, who has served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, formed in 1988. Since our founding, our science-based efforts have influenced government and corporate policy to produce winning results:

Advancing public understanding of climate science. EDF climate scientists played a key role in highlighting the urgency of global warming. Today the national dialog has dramatically shifted from whether human-caused global warming is real to nuts-and-bolts policy discussions on how to reduce its impacts. Our scientists' analysis is helping shape climate policy goals at every level of government.”

If those three paragraphs were all you ever read about EDF it would be enough to dismiss anything they have to offer. Their chief scientist and spokesperson not only helped draft the IPCC report; he was the lead author of that report, a report which is full of unsupportable data and outright manipulation of data. Instead of searching for scientific data the EDF’s agenda is to “shape climate policy goals at every level of government” based on the assumption that man made global warming is a done deal.

Steve Cochran of EDF compared Texas’ battle with the EPA to a batter getting called out on “strike three” as the recent battle with a three judge panel failed. I’m willing to wait for the next batter; but instead of wearing cleats when he comes to bat I’d suggest a good pair of brown shoes, sure is getting deep on the playing field.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Fuel Fix Logo Evidence of Two Americas

The Houston Chronicle has a regular environmental blog called Fuel Fix, articles intended to inform the masses on topics related to the oil industry and anything else which might impact climate or society in general. Loren Steffy wrote an article, Henhouse Open, Foxes Welcome , letting everyone know the evil GOP planned to look into how much government regulation over the free market system could be reduced or eliminated.

“The new Congress is now in session, and any hopes for meaningful reform or deficit fighting are quickly evaporating.”

I mention Steffy’s article because it represents an attitude, one which defines the difference between the two Americas; America, the land of the free and the home of the brave and that other America, land of government imposition. It bothers folks when labels are assigned; but one America is a republic while the other is more akin to socialism, the two are not compatible.

The Chronicle referred to an article by the Politico which spotlighted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) as he asked industry how Congress might better serve America’s interests. Issa actually sent letters to his constituents asking for input; imagine that, a congressman trying to improve the lives of those he serves.

“Is there something that we can do to try to ease that [regulatory] burden and stimulate job creation?” he added. “Is there a pattern emerging? Is there a consistent practice or regulation that hurts jobs? Until you have all the facts, you really can’t make a lot of determinations and judgments.”

I found the interaction between Rep Issa and industry to be a breath of fresh air; however, the left interpreted Issa’s request for information in quite a different light. If you look closely the different Americas become clear; one America has We The People working to ensure government does what’s best for We The People while the other America would have government impose elitist tyranny on We The People, as if those in government were somehow more capable than the lowly We The People.

“His approach is a little like teachers asking school children how much homework they’d like to have.”

Steffy’s article mentioned a group, Public Citizen, as having written a letter to Rep Issa “noting that the purpose of regulation is to protect the public health and safety, rather than coddle corporations”, as if Public Citizen represented We The People. (emphasis added)

I looked up Public Citizen and found it to be nothing more than a left wing political action group. Their board of directors reads like a who’s who of community activists, environmentalists and lawyers; so much for the idea of having unbiased and non partisan reporting. These folks have nothing but contempt for the free market system which made America successful.

Steffy finished her slap down of Rep Issa by including mention of the Gulf oil spill and, of all things, the presidential spill commission.

“Ironically, Issa’s pandering comes as the presidential spill commission prepares to issue its final report on the Deepwater Horizon accident.” (emphasis added)

Remember the presidential spill commission , that fair and impartial group of hand picked environmentally friendly “yes men”? Isn’t it interesting how industry has been transformed into an ugly monster by the “the other America”? If you listen to the left, the socialist other America, Industry has destroyed America and the only way to save America is to destroy big oil and the free market system one brick at a time.

Yes, I pay attention when I see the Fuel Fix logo emblazoned atop an article. I recognize it for what it is; an attack on our free market system, the land of the free and the home of the brave; it might as well be a hammer and sickle, thanks for the warning.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Sacred Cows and 911 First Responders Bill

Congress recently passed the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act”, otherwise known as the 911 First Responders Bill. The AP article on the Fox News website mentioned how some Republicans originally tried to block the bill but eventually gave in to the $ 4.2 Billion compensation package. Obama signed it while on vacation in Hawaii.

‘“We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers and first responders who risked their lives to save others,” Obama said in a statement. “I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks.”’

The Sacred Cow has been acknowledged once more; can’t say no to a spending bill that honors brave men and women who served valiantly on the day we were attacked by Muslim extremists. Anyone voting against such a bill must be cruel and heartless or has no desire to get re-elected; interesting how history repeats itself.

"In the early 1800’s Congress was considering a bill to appropriate tax dollars for the widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in support of this bill. It seemed that everyone in the House favored it. The Speaker of the House was just about to put the question to a vote, when Davy Crockett, famous frontiersman and then Congressman from Tennessee, rose to his feet."

“Mr. Speaker, I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity, but as members of Congress we have no right to so appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Sir, this is no debt. We cannot without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”

Republicans and Democrats have no idea how to carry out the job of representing the people; believing spending money solves problems. A simple resolution to honor the day of the attack as a national day of remembrance would have been a reasonable measure; but instead, Congress decided, “Let’s throw lots of money away to prove we care”. If only we could get Congress to fund Sacred Cows out of their own pockets instead of dipping into the public treasury, show a little fiscal responsibility and respect for the office they hold; but that reality will have to wait, now won’t it?

“Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

It’s a shame Congress hasn’t learned from Davy Crockett’s wisdom. Maybe they grew up thinking he was only famous for his coon skin cap and killing a bear when he was only three; never mind, they’re not listening. “Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.