Thomas Jefferson Quotes

January 21st, 2009

This is the thinking that made our country great.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Thomas Jefferson

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
Thomas Jefferson

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which He disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Thomas Jefferson

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the Continent their fathers conquered.
Thomas Jefferson

I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
Thomas Jefferson

Morphing Presidents

January 19th, 2009

Interesting site shows the presidents from Washington on. (Yes one was elected twice, but not contiguous.)

Latest TV Poop

January 17th, 2009

To give perspective, the bill to switch to digital TV was passed four years ago, in 2005. The date was Jan 4, 2009 when they ran out of coupons, which drives the rest of the following nonsense.

Update – Hawaii converted to all digital and now all the little dark rump birds can rest easy.

Not so good on the mainland – As expected, the government is trying to delay the conversion to digital TV, until it can bail itself out. Seems like the technology is ready, the broadcasters are ready, the public is ready, but the politicians forgot to do their part. To be fair, they only had four years to prepare.

The transition team wants to delay from the current Feb 17 until June 12. This was voted down this week, but will be brought back next week for another vote. (The word ‘vote’ has taken on a new meaning, just like the word ‘illegal’ has. If you lose the ‘vote’ ignore the results like in California, or call for another vote until you get what you want.)

“Obama officials are concerned that the government is not doing enough to help Americans – particularly those in rural, poor or minority communities – prepare for and navigate the transition.”

Obama’s transition team co-chair Podesta says (without admitting any fault), “With coupons unavailable, support and education insufficient, and the most vulnerable Americans exposed, I urge you to consider a change to the legislatively mandated analog cutoff date.”

The various numbers are:

$19 Billion was taken in to the government from the sale of the analog spectrum to be used for additional wireless functions.

$1.34 Billion has been allocated and spent to date.

They (our esteemed elected officials) want another $650 million and are considering adding coupons to help pay for antennas in addition to the set top boxes. This is on top of the $1.34 Billion already spent by the government. Billion is such an overused word these days.

MSNBC says 20 million people do not use digital, satellite, or cable.

Nielsen says about 7.75 million people are not ready for digital TV and about 11 million still have at least one analog TV

2.1 million have applied for the coupon and not received it yet.

The waiting list at a program to provide subsidies for digital converter boxes may swell to more than 6 million requests in the next month, according to Podesta.

Many (unnumbered) could lose 1 to 2 TV stations, because digital signal does not carry as far as analog.

24 million people have requested 46 million coupons.

60% is the number of coupons that have been redeemed.

2.15 million calls to the call center expected the first week

10 million might not be ‘taken care of’ unless Congress ponies up another $1billion according to the Consumers Union

2,600 “low-power” television broadcasters will be allowed to continue broadcasting their signals in analog after the conversion to digital.

1 guy, Henry Waxman, D-Calif. has proposed that they overhaul the coupon program to make it easier (like having them available maybe? duh!)

1 guy, Democratic FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, said “the program has been badly mismanaged. It’s not ready for prime time.”

1 guy, Murray, counsel for the Consumers Union said, “It’s no one’s fault that we didn’t realize how much demand for the converter-box coupons there would be.”

Bottom line – As usual, the numbers do not add up and they will piss and moan and blame Bush, then spend another billion bucks and delay another three to four months and we will all have digital TV, birds will sing, and life will be good.

Friday Thoughts

January 16th, 2009

I get a monthly email from the aptly named  Project Gutenberg and as of December 2008, it has 32,552 e-books, in its library. Project Gutenberg is the life work of Michael Hart, who wants to make available free e-books for the world. He started in 1971 digitizing out-of-copyright books. Since then, he has volunteers from around the world, scanning, reading, proofing, books and making them ready for the world to access for free.

I downloaded the Sherlock Holmes series a few years ago and most of Edgar Allen Poe’s stuff. Great reading! It’s fun just to browse through the catalog. If you like reading, you will find a treasure trove of goodies. You can also get audio books and CDs. The only downside is that you can preview so much that you will be lost for hours. If you have children or grandchildren in school, it might be easier to get them to an online library like this one.

“I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb. . . and I also know that I’m not blonde.” – Dolly Parton

Sony’s new camera for $500 has web access to send your photos instantly from the camera to the web. The only thing that doesn’t seem to have web access these days is the toilet. We have shower screens to check email in the shower (what geek came up with that one?), TV screens behind the mirror so you can get your fix while you shave or put on your makeup. Refrigerators and ovens have built in screens, cars have direct access, phones can do everything. Next, they will probably put GPS, phone, and email in rifle stocks so you can find out where you are and tell the world what you just shot, send a picture, and call your friends to help you drag the poor critter back to the truck – all in real time.


More health woes – Experts worry about recession weight gain with numerous studies linking obesity and unhealthy eating habits to low incomes. Health professionals worry that the current recession will spur weight gain. Experts are concerned people will cut back on healthy, but relatively expensive items, such as fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and instead purchase cheaper foods high in sugar and saturated fats.
So, we eat too much when times are good and we are too prosperous and we eat too much when in a recession. Why do these fear mongers always have to tie the economy to everything? We eat what we like, what’s to study? My only fear is that the new Obamarxists will begin to outlaw what is bad for us. I’ll give up my potato chips when they pry them from my cold dead hands.

Sex cures headaches. Endorphins released into our bloodstream when we have sex not only give us pleasure, but also act as painkillers. Useful information for the next time your partner uses a headache as a reason to say no.

Global warming wrong, again – The recent acceleration of glacier melt-off in Greenland, which some scientists fear could dramatically raise sea levels, may only be a temporary phenomenon, according to a study published last January.

Researchers in Britain and the United States devised computer models to test three scenarios that could account for rapid (by the standards applied to glaciers) melting of the Helheim Glacier, one of Greenland’s largest.

Two were based on changes caused directly by global warming: an increase in the flow of water that greases the underside of the glacier as it slides toward the sea, and a general thinning due to melting.

A team led by Faezeh Nick of Durham University in Britain found that neither of these scenarios matched the data. “They simply don’t fit what we have observed,” said co-author Andreas Vieli in an interview. “The third computer model, which hypothesized that melt-off was triggered by changing conditions in the confined area where the glacier meets the sea fit like a glove. You cannot maintain these very high rates of peak mass loss for very long. The glaciers start to retreat and settle into a new an relatively stable state,” he said. The Helheim Glacier, along with several others in Greenland, started to slow down in 2007.”
Guess the slowing of the melt-off doesn’t fit the algore model of scarem and snarem fearmongering.


Digital TV – Had to sneak this one in from Yesterday. You probably know by now, the analog TV shutdown mandated by Congress to free up space in the airwaves for other services, is scheduled for Feb 17, except Wilmington, NC, which started last September. Hawaii’s change started yesterday so analog transmission towers can be taken down before the nesting season of the dark-rumped petrel, a volcano-dwelling endangered bird. (How cute)

The federal government has run out of money for $40 coupons to subsidize converter boxes, so President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team (this team of vultures is un-endangered) has asked Congress to delay the shut-off. No word on approval yet. Stay tuned.

PS – If you are planning to replace a ‘tummy TV’ or other old TVs, make sure the new one can handle digital without the box. I have been looking for one to replace my 34 year old Trinitron in my bedroom and found a number of cheap HDTVs, but the specs show that they are only NTSC compliant, not the new ATSC for digital (meaning I would have to buy a box or add it to cable). Caveat Emptor.

It has been determined the most used sexual position for married couples is the doggie position. The husband sits up and begs and the wife rolls over and plays dead.

A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.

New Mind Game

January 12th, 2009

A new game, called Mind Flex from toy maker Mattel, allows players to move a ball around an obstacle course by using just their powers of concentration. Mind Flex relies on EEG technology to measure brain wave activity through a headset equipped with sensors for the forehead and earlobes.

Focusing on the ball causes a fan in the base of the game to start up and lift the ball on a gentle stream of air. Once a player has the ball in the air they need to try to weave it through hoops, towers and other obstacles.

“It’s a mind-eye coordination game,” said Mattel’s Tim Sheridan. “As you relax you’ll find that the ball drops.”

The game will be available in September for eighty dollars, and was displayed by Mattel at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.