Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time for a fresh look at Israel and Palestine

It's a treacherous topic, but it's always sat in the back of your mind. You know the conflict is a root cause of many things that impact our lives but you've never quite dug in to self educate yourself beyond the snippets and bites you hear on the news, or read in the headlines. What do you say now is the time to do some reading on the history of the Israeli Palestinian conflict? It's a dangerous thing when people are afraid to educate themselves. Understanding both sides of any conflict is crucial to even come close to solving the conflict. Just how far back does this conflict go? What exactly is Zionism, and what role does it play in this all?

An award winning documentary "Occupation 101" sheds some light on the conflict which (in the film's words) has sometimes been portrayed to us by the news and media like a badly dubbed foreign movie.

I ran across this article on CNN, and while I agree Obama should "engage" with Hamas, I think he also should "engage" with Israel. The world has been watching this "all out war".. we know both sides have blood on their hands and approaching such a sticky predicament with anything approaching one-sidedness is only going to dig the trenches deeper.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

IF

I'd also like to pass on these words to those facing difficult times during these times... powerful words to reflect upon indeed:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's all in a state of mind

If you think you are beaten you are.
If you think you dare not, you won't.
If you like to win but don't think you can,
Its almost a cinch that you won't.

If you think you'll loose you're lost.
For out in the world you'll find
Success begins with a fellow's will;
It's all in a state of mind.

For many a game is lost
Ere even before a play is run,
And many a coward fails
Ere even his work is begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow;
Think small and you'll fall behind;
Think that you can and you will;
It's all in a state of mind.

If you think you're out classed you are;
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can!

[Anonymous author, passed on to me by my father, years ago.]

Ps if you know the original author, please let me know!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

NO BAIL OUT



Think displacement, folks. If GM fails, it will not be the end of the auto industry. It will not drive our nation into a depression. It will eliminate an over-bloated whale of a company that has made poor, wreckless selfish choices as a leader of an industry in the United States and provide MORE opportunity to the companies who have made the decisions that have lead them to thus far, stay competitive... what will happen as a result? those companies who before had to sell hybrids for 23 and 25 thousand dollars would now be able to offer them at a mere fraction of that price. If congress gives anybody money it should be in the form of tax breaks to companies like Smart, Toyota and Honda for taking the early initiative to provide more aggressively fuel efficient car. no brainer. Even the banks don't trust you, GM. We all know why.

GM - There was a point where you had a choice. You, as the leading auto manufacturer in the US should have recognized the energy crisis and dependency our nation has on foreign oil... then you could have done the right thing and focused on providing consumers with aggressively efficient cars, and investing on marketing for such vehicles, instead of the road you decided to take: Make bigger and bigger trucks that can run over those stupid puny little hybrids. Nobody needs to drive themselves to work in an oversized Sports Utility Vehicle, yet you convinced the majority of this country that they did.

Moreover, the government is not a bank, nor should the manufacturing industry treat it as one. Banks DO exist even POST Sept 2008, and if you can't get money from them, there's a darn good reason why not.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proud to be American



...and proud to be a Chicagoan. I have never felt such an intense desire to be back home, and it hit me the hardest while driving over the bay bridge last night to celebrate with my girlfriend. This hit me on the San Francisco Bay Bridge, of all places.. I wanted sooo badly to be running to the red line stop to get on a crowded el, get off on Monroe or Jackson and join the masses heading to Grant Park... This was like the Bulls winning any of their six championships in the 90s... the Bears in 86.. I was there for that.. this was so so much more.

Now, this isn't to say that all of Oakland and San Francisco wasn't set afire with car horns and elated celebratory shouts and cries.. You could feel the air pressure change from every SINGLE person giving out a HUGE sigh of relief at about 8:01. I happened to be just leaving my shift at the station at 8 pm, as that was when the California polls closed. Just as I was driving past the courthouse I voted at 11 hours before, I immediately heard car horns, yelling, shouting... the most celebratory sounds I have ever heard in my life. The election had been called. Barack Obama is officially president elect.

I ran home, grabbed some things, and head over the bridge to SF, just in time to catch Obama's acceptance speech on 9 giant screens where my girlfriend and some friends were downtown SF. It was probably the most remarkable event of my life.

I am, most certainly more proud of my country now than I have been for at least 16 years. We finally as a moral majority, recognized that our country was headed in the wrong direction with foreign policy and economic issues, and we voted in strong numbers for change. and in the process, as a nation overcame racial differences many of us feared could prevent Obama from having a chance at office... but we stuck with it because from the beginning, we agreed with his intents and his thoughts and his solutions. We've got a winner, here America, look at the reaction from the global community. Lets all get behind this man and if we criticize him, lets criticize his solutions and provide an alternative that's better and make it known productively. This nation has a long road ahead of it and it will take a lot of cooperation to drive this nation in the right direction.

This is a landmark in American History. A complete turning point. Way to go Barack. I knew right from 04 that you were the spirited leader this country needs. I am so proud of you, I am so proud of my country. Now lets go and get to work. We've got a LOT to do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

last minute voter info

I was talking to my girlfriend earlier tonight about some of the things we'll be faced with voting on tomorrow.. Both of us had a few questions that came up and it was shell-shocking to me how much anxiety actually hit regarding questions that have popped up at the last minute, and how the focus on the presidential race has most certainly detracted from the attention of the many things people will be faced with voting on Today. Many people, myself included are feeling slightly overwhelmed with these last minute decisions. What if we're still undecided on a certain local measure or state assembly member, or any item on the ballot? Is it best to try to make up our minds tonight skip an item on the ballot??

First of all, and above all, try to do as much non-partisan research as you can. Grab the voter guide (and ALL additional mailings) that were mailed to you as a registered voter. Get them NOW and bring them with you to read over again while you wait to vote tomorrow. It will address ALL of the items that you will be faced with voting on so there shouldn't be any surprises. Fill out the sample ballot and bring it with you. Make it known to a poll worker when you sign in that you've brought your sample ballot as a guide, but keep it concealed until you get into the poll as that is the regulation in place for most every state. I've used the voter guide along with smartvoter.org and a bunch of additional online resources to make my choices.

Regarding skipping ballot items.. This is a question you should ask at least one poll worker about if you are not sure. That's why they're there. (My father is actually a Republican working the polls in Illinois and they couldn't have found a more honest man for the job) going back to my point.. this is tricky. Logic would suggest that if you aren't sure about an item on the ballot, your vote may be more destructive than anything so it'd be best to skip the item.. however if you are voting on an electronic voting device, your entire ballot could likely be tossed if you skip items as there is no way to differentiate between machine error and an intentionally skipped item. so... if you're feeling you might be skipping an item or two on the ballot, ask a poll worker about it. If you can, make your choices before you have your ballot.

If you don't know where to vote or aren't sure what kind of ID to bring, go to http://www.canivote.org/

If it's 8pm and you're still in line. YOU STILL GET TO VOTE, but nobody will be able to join the line after the cut-off time. (double check for your states closing time)

If you witness ANYTHING resembling voter fraud or vote suppression, report it immediately, on the spot from your cell phone. This toll free number is different from state to state. I highly encourage every voter to find out this number, and store it in your cell phone before voting. just google "(your state) voter fraud hotline". In california it's 1-800-345-VOTE and I'm pretty sure they could direct you to your state's hotline if you have anything to report.

Additionally, some of the early voting that was allowed in much of the country has caused a bit of confusion... Many voting polls have posted their voting hours as mon (or tues) through Friday... PLEASE REALIZE that's last week... TODAY - Tuesday, the 4th of November is your LAST DAY to vote.

It's going to be quite a day. Time to get some rest before getting up in four hours. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

this is what its all about

Today is November 3, 2008. This has been one of the loudest election years in this country's history, and it all comes down to the responsibility of Americans tomorrow to cast their votes. This is a crossroad for America and it's not only about who becomes the next president, it's also about who gets seated in your community and your state, what bills and propositions get passed to shape the future of your community and this country. Please do not overlook your local community. Contrary to what I've read, being a pacifist and not voting will not cause "a revolution". This approach to democracy is insulting only yourself. You have an opportunity to be one of the record numbers of voters tomorrow. Vote, and get your undecided friends to vote with you.

Whether you have been behind one of these two candidates from the start or still can't see eye to eye with either candidate, please educate yourself.. do your research now while you can. Bring yourself to compare both candidates plans and proposed solutions. Forget the noise of the last 12+ months and make a decision, then tomorrow - get in that line and stay in that line until you have reached the voting ballot and have cast your vote.

If you have made your decision who to vote for, find out if you can vote early in your community and do it now. Do NOT be discouraged by the lines. The number of hours you waited to vote will only make for a better story when you're grey and old.

Do not overlook the need to steer this country away from dependence on foreign oil. In case you haven't realized, Control of the earths energy resources, (primarily Oil) has been a driving force in US foreign policy. With no alternative, Oil is what makes nations run. There is no denying this. Is the solution to drill for more oil, or focus on developing oil independent vehicles?? We're so close, the most fuel efficient car to this day (honda insight) was first mass produced NINE YEARS AGO when BILL CLINTON was still in office. What happened??? This nation is on the brink of discovering an alternative to fossil fuels. That patent will be worth far more than the oil Russia and the Middle East (our two best friends) are swimming in.

Ok. Thats it for me. I'm disassembling my soapbox today. Time is winding down, and there are more important sources for you to be reading right now than my blog. In closing, let me just say that it's been an amazing experience. I'm extremely thankful I live in a country where we are free to voice our opinions. At times I've witnessed (and been involved in) some heavily intense verbal sparing. It's our right to be allowed to do this, and it's ok as long as we are able to take a step back from it and recognize that it is just the passion of Americans to fight for what we feel is right that has fueled the split among party lines. Ultimately we all must come together in the end if we are to succeed - success and a future is what this nation is all about. Putting the best American minds together to dig us out of this hole. I do have hope. We have only up to go, and I do believe that once we know which of these two paths the nation will be taking for the next four years, confidence in our markets will restore. It will take WORK. HARD work, but that is what Americans are best at, and now is our time, America, Now is our time.

Read up on those local propositions. don't overlook what's being voted upon in your community. Some of these items are just as important as who we vote in as president.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A look at what Obama and McCain's tax bill would do in 2009

So I wanted to continue a much needed discussion regarding McCain and Obama's economic policies as it started in my post a week ago on the 11th on a completely different topic of foreign affairs.

The economy is a central focus in everybody's minds. I was in NYC this past week with my girlfriend. The first night we were out there we were invited to a dinner party, one of the men who I met there was just coming home from his day at work as an accounting and investments attorney... and yeah we all had a drink or two. It became clear to me how much of the city will be effected by the drop of investor confidence. Finance is the bread and butter of the Big Apple, and the effect which current events on Wall Street and Main Street will have on the nation will last for years. Jobs are vaporizing. Confidence is slipping. We're not quite clear completely what either candidate's plan is yet completely, but details are starting to come in. 

Lets talk about a few things. What are the differences between Obama and McCain's tax bill?

John McCain continues to state that Barack Obama will raise your taxes, but who exactly is he referring to when he says, “your”? Well, according to US Census Bureau data and data from the Tax Plan Center, Yes. Your taxes are going up. If you're among the upper 3% of the working population making more than $227,000. Here is a chart from The Tax Policy Center that shows how the average tax bill could change depending on who is elected.

BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
Source: The Tax Policy Center

MCCAINOBAMA
IncomeAvg. tax bill Avg. tax bill
Over $2.9M-$269,364 +$701,885
$603K and up-$45,361+$115,974
$227K-$603K-$7,871+$12
$161K-$227K-$4,380-$2,789
$112K-$161K-$2,614-$2,204
$66K-$112K-$1,009-$1,290
$38K-$66K-$319-$1,042
$19K-$38K-$113-$892
Under $19K-$19-$567


Household Income Distribution
Source: US Census Bureau, 2006; income statistics for the year 2005
Bottom 10% Bottom 20% Bottom 25% Middle 33% Middle 20% Top 25% Top 20% Top 5% Top 1.5% Top 1%
$0 to $10,500 $0 to $18,500 $0 to $22,500 $30,000 to $62,500 $35,000 to $55,000 $77,500 and up $92,000 and up $167,000 and up $250,000 and up $350,000 and up






I posted this previously without an explanation and the numbers seemed to bring out an awfully confused reaction, so lets talk about it here.

(ed. found these next two charts today from the washington post which visualize the statistics quite clearly)





What do these charts tell us? They tell us that under Obama's plan, less than 5% of the population will be paying more taxes. The five percent that can afford to pay more to their country in a time of economic distress. They'll be paying twice as much back to the government than this top 5% of the salary bracket would be paying under McCain's plan.

We also can gather that middle-class Americans making under 66k annually will be seeing a much higher tax return under Obama's plan, watering the beds of  innovation and making it easier for the HUGE middle class of this country to be able to contribute to our economy and stimulate competition--without economic barriers.

No, Actually I'm not drinking any kool-aid. I'm an American just like you, who cares about the problems in this country just as you do. I want the candidate with a clear understanding of the sources of the problems that face not only our national security regarding foreign affairs, but also economic issues. 

We don't have all the answers from either of the candidates on how they are going to pay for either of their economic plans, but that among many other important issues are going to be coming up in the debates beginning this Friday. Until then, lets see what McCain has to say about the economy from his own lips...  



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who's a "do nothing Senator"?

A few things strike me. I still hear Obama referred to as a "do-nothing-senator". You'd think people would look this information up before making a complete fool of themselves and try to bolster support for McCain by comparing Senate records.. Lets look at this, shall we?

I was looking at John McCain's Committee membership and see he is a member of only the Committee and subcommittees on Armed Services, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and he's a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs.

If John McCain is running for president...

Why isn't he a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs??

That's a pretty important Committee. Barack Obama is a member.

Why isn't McCain a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs?? Obama is.
(ed: I'm not making this up, I was TOTALLY blown away to see the disregard in John McCain's judgement in deciding it wasn't worth his time or efforts to join any of these committees during his TWENTY SIX years in senate...)

Why isn't McCain a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, or the subcommittees on either European Affairs, African Affairs, East Asian Affairs or Pacific Affairs?

Guess who is?
Yep, Barack Obama.

(ed: Yes!! I too, feel the need to vomit out of my nose for even having to say any of this. I was STUNNED to find this out while comparing the two candidates... but it does not end there...)

*
McCain has sponsored 537 bills since 1993, a rate of 35.8 bills a year.
Obama has sponsored 136 bills since 2005, a rate of 45.3 bills a year.

McCain has co-sponsored 1232 bills since 1993, a rate of 82.13 bills a year.
Obama has co-sponsored 659 bills since 2005, a rate of 219 bills a year.

Barack Obama missed 301 of 1282 roll call votes (23%) since Jan 6, 2005
John McCain missed 733 of 4099 roll call votes (18%) since Feb 4, 1993

Both of these percentages are quite high, but a look at the missed votes by month for both candidates (McCain, Obama) clearly indicates that their presidential campaign has driven them both to miss more than a majority of votes since 2007. It is staggering to note that when you add up McCain's missed votes since Obama took a seat in the US Senate, McCain has missed 39.7% of roll call votes.

And with that in mind,
John McCain has sponsored 38 pieces of legislation this term.
Barack Obama has sponsored 129 pieces of legislation this term.

Call Obama a do-nothing Senator one more time, McCain. I love watching you try to keep a straight face while you try to detract the country from how you fall short miserably.

*my source for this data is www.govtrack.us and a calculator.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

You Tell Me - John McCain's top 5 accomplishments

Hello readers,

I want to leave this one up to you.

Tell me. what are John McCain's top 5 accomplishments?

I've heard SO much about his POW experiences, and heard an awful lot about what he thinks about his opponent, but I'm still left wondering, what has John McCain done, what is it in his wealth of experience that are clear indications that he is the one to take this country by the reigns?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cold Warrior, Sarah Palin

"NATO should extend membership to two former Soviet republics (Ukraine and Georgia), and any Russian invasion of a NATO state could lead to a conflict with the U.S.", Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin told ABC News.

"We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is what it leads to," she said.

However, the United States and Russia "cannot repeat the Cold War," the Alaska governor said in her first interview since becoming Sen. John McCain's running mate.

Why, then Sarah Palin, are you attempting to grab the steering wheel of foreign relations and drive this nation into a head-on collision with your neighbor, Russia???

Contrary to your statement to ABC news today which will be airing on 20/20 tomorrow night, you don't realize something, Sarah Palin. For the past 20 years the United States has been easily getting away with demoralizing Russia politically, after the decline of the Soviet Union. Read history. Foresight helps resolve conflicts by not getting into them in the first place.

Things have changed, Sarah Palin. It is not wise of you to follow in McCain's shoes by taunting Russia with belligerent and irrelevant "tough talk".. "ECONOMIC SANCTIONS" on Russia? Are you out of your mind? Uhm... and how much of a bargaining chip is the US economy these days to a nation that is drowning in OIL, the worlds numero uno commodity?

Am I the only one to notice that McCain and Palin have been more vocal about foreign "relations" with Russia than our President has been? Why is that?

Sarah Palin's threats to Russia are reflections of insecurities in her own understanding of foreign politics. Before she continues threatening the world's underground superpower, I'd like to know her credentials for talking on such a subject with more responsibility than she has completely come to terms with yet.

I'd describe McCain and Palin not so much of mavericks as they are kamikazes

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Worlds largest combat aircrafts arrive in South America from Russia for training exercises.


blackjackWhile American media is busy wasting breath on lipstick, pitbulls, pigs and OJ Simpson...

Today in South America, two of Russia's supersonic Tupolev Tu-160 bombers landed for "training exercises" in Venezuela after the Bush administration and Mad Dog McCain have continued to repeat their brainless war threatening banter towards Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin.

The Tupolev TU 160, also known as Blackjack, was designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theatres of operation.

Since we live in the United States of Amnesia, lets review some history, shall we?


* Early 1962 -- Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, worried by the deployment of U.S. nuclear missiles in Turkey, asked his defence minister if it was time now "to put a hedgehog in Uncle Sam's pants" by sending Soviet nuclear missiles to Cuba.

* The operation, codenamed Anadyr, began shortly afterwards. Soviet ships transport 50,000 soldiers, as well as artillery, tanks and more than 40 medium-range nuclear-capable missiles to Cuba, 11,000 km (6,900 miles) from the Soviet Union.

* October 14, 1962 -- The Cuban missile crisis reached its climax after U.S. U-2 spy planes took the first clear pictures of missiles in Cuba. For a week, Moscow denied the deployment.

* October 22, 1962 -- U.S. President John Kennedy imposed a sea blockade of Cuba and put U.S. armed forces on heightened alert, ready to order a strike on Cuba. The Soviet Union pledged to retaliate with "the most powerful strike".

* October 26, 1962 -- tension started to subside after Moscow announced it is ready to remove its missiles from Cuba in return for U.S. guarantees it will never attack the island. A secret agreement with Moscow removed U.S. missiles from Turkey.

* April 1970 -- after testing Washington's nerves with showy appearances of nuclear submarines in the Gulf of Mexico and landings of Tupolev Tu-95 Bear bombers in Cuba, Moscow decided to boost its presence in the Caribbean in response to increased U.S. moves in the Baltic, Black, Japanese and Bering Seas.

* According to Soviet and Russian military archives, after 1970 the Soviet Navy made at least 29 voyages to Cuba, lasting an average of 40 days. One or two Soviet submarines accompanied these flotillas in half of all the missions.

* Tu-95 strategic bombers and its Tu-142 anti-submarine version landed at local airfields and Moscow's Lourdes signals intelligence facility in Cuba was among the most significant eyeing the United States.

* After 1991 -- the overnight collapse of the Soviet Union and a severe economic crisis ended showy Soviet overseas missions and resulted in the closure of Lourdes, along with bases in some other Soviet allies.

* August 2007 -- President Vladimir Putin ordered Tu-95 and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers to resume flights around the globe. The gesture was designed to show a more assertive role Russia intends to play in world politics.

* Almost simultaneously, Russia's navy starts long-distance sorties overseas.

* Oct 26, 2007 -- Putin, on a visit to Portugal, drew a parallel between U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield in Europe and the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

* August 2008 -- the U.S. and Poland clinched a deal to deploy elements of Washington's missile shield in Moscow's Cold War ally. The agreement is overshadowed by Russia's brief armed conflict with close U.S. ally and NATO aspirant Georgia.

* Sept 8, 2008 -- Russia said it will send "Peter the Great", one of the world's largest nuclear-powered warships, to Venezuela for a joint naval exercise in the Caribbean, its first major maneuvers on the U.S. doorstep since the Cold War.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Honda Insight concept released!!


Honda has released details on their upcoming replacement for the first mass-produced hybrid car ever, the Insight... To me it looks more like an even uglier Prius than the previous Insight.. I'm a little confused as to Honda's strategy there... Apparently the new insight will be four doors??? Hm. to me that's disappointing, but for the market which more or less rejected the insight, I can see their strategy..

Honda released details on the new CR-Z concept a few months back, which actually looks a lot more like a redesigned Insight than what they are calling the "2010 Insight". The CR-Z is expected to be a "3 door hatchback".

Unless I'm missing the fine print, Honda has yet to release any expected efficiency ratings for either car.. I'd expect the CRZ will be rated higher as it's a smaller vehicle, and expected to be a bit pricey.. not a bad looking car... if only the interior didn't look like a throwback to TRON

John McCain's best and smartest people in America

From CNN.com:


Promising a "very bipartisan approach" to how he'll run his administration, Sen. John McCain said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he would appoint Democrats to his Cabinet.

Sen. John McCain says he would put the "best" and "smartest people in America" in his Cabinet.

Speaking to CBS' "Face the Nation," the Republican presidential nominee vowed that he won't just have a single token Democrat in his Cabinet.

"It's going to be the best people in America, the smartest people in America," McCain said. "So many of these problems we face -- for example, energy independence -- what's partisan about that?"


Who MADE it a partisan issue and is now pretending they've been supporting it all along? Your party dragged Carter and Gore into the ground over caring about our dependence on foreign oil back when we could have done something to avoid the trouble we're now in.

...................

Ok, so my question to you is was Sarah Palin the best and smartest person available to John McCain as a VP pick? 

Please, take a second to answer the poll question I just posted. 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

General Election is off...

Well the Republican National Convention is over, so you can lower the tarp from over your head, for now. Make sure to only touch the bottom side and dispose of it in a sealed receptacle promptly.

"Please, please my friends, my dear friends, please don't be diverted by the ground noise and the static"

Don't worry John, your campaign is as transparent as your inability to speak to anyone outside that same rootin tootin base that cheered only a little bit louder for Bush in 2004.

Palin was an effective speaker if a sock puppet can be an effective actor... We'll see how she deals with the media, which has barely scratched the surface of really looking at Sarah Polin's political life.

By the way John and Sarah, welcome to the scrutiny of American media. Despite an apparent wide case of amnesia among Republicans, Sarah Palin's family is not the first politician's family to get thrown into the ring this year. Get used to it.

I was shocked that the party crossed over a certain line by belittling the aspirations of millions of Americans who dedicate their life to cleaning up Washington's mess by volunteering in their cities and communities. I mean, Palin's words speak for themselves.. she doesn't consider the dedication of community organizers an "actual responsibility"?? Slight conflict of interest there Sarah... These are Americans who sacrifice time from their jobs, their families and friends to commit themselves to serving here at home, on our city streets and communities in need... not exactly the class of Americans you'd want to have demanding an apology from you as they are now.

Yeah, I guess Pitbulls aren't really well known for their good judgement.

So, what it comes down it is the question: Did the Republicans convince me at this year's convention that John McCain is well suited to lead this country in the right direction? No, not so much.

They did a great job at diverting from that incapability by focusing on every single thing BUT McCain's (lack of?) solutions, though.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: BUSH AND REPUBLICAN PARTY CARES ABOUT STORM THIS TIME


For some reason, this time around instead of hanging out with John McCain to celebrate his birthday like back in 2005, in election year 2008 Bush and McCain are politically motivated enough to give a damn about a Hurricane threatening New Orleans.

John McCain said Sunday it wouldn't be appropriate to hold a political celebration during the storm. He said there would be significant changes, but did not elaborate.

"We must redirect our efforts from the really celebratory event of the nomination of president and vice president of our party to acting as all Americans," said McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

McCain said it's likely the event would change into a "call to the nation for action."

Nice to see McCain acting like he sincerely cares.

As I commented last Thursday night, I hope the city of New Orleans gets a more than sufficient and rapid relief out of this election year. Somebody will have a lot of explaining to do to regarding the fact that the levees aren't even restored to a point where they could sustain a cat 3 storm yet, though...

Friday, August 29, 2008

An Obama supporter as McCain's VP

Did you know that McCain's chosen VP, Sarah Palin from Alaska has gone on the record, supporting Obama's judgement on energy policy over McCain's and expressing excitement that Obama was pulling ahead in her homestate???

just wondering.

(edit: I posted this blog entry and didn't back it up with any links, but now that i put them in there, you wont want to miss any of them, especially the last one. )

Palin did question Obama's proposal to tax oil company profits... because the state of Alaska's JACKPOT is windfall tax from oil profits!!! Does anybody know anything about Alaska and Oil?!?

Not taxing oil profits might be reallllly good for the state of Alaska, but not so good for the rest of the country who rely on other industries that have been completely neglected and not offered the incentives and loop holes available for oil companies. This is a big "screw you" to blue collar workers who don't work for the oil industry. Palin might be experienced with working in the energy business but that doesn't mean she's not in tight with the oil business... her self-before country politically charged stance on windfall taxes are a crystal clear demonstration of exactly why she is a pawn of the oil industry, and not the "she-maverick" the McCain camp is trying to paint her up to be.

She claims: “Windfall profits taxes alone prevent additional investment in domestic production. Without new supplies from American reserves, our dependency and addiction to foreign sources of oil will continue,”

A strong talking point for Republicans is their believe that stubbornly not taxing profits REGARDLESS of economic situations (believe me we have an economic SITUATION) reduce the incentive to invest in industries... TOTAL BS. Oil is a COMMODITY. Currently, our country completely relies on it. believe me, there is incentive to get involved with the oil industry. If you ask me, Windfall profits taxes ENCOURAGE technological developments and advancements in streamlining our economy instead of putting our economy in molasses thick stalemate. It places incentive and encourages investments on ALTERNATIVES to relying on Oil PERIOD. Windfall taxes encourage advancement and... you guessed it.... change.

Obama knocked the ball out of the park last night. Both Bidens as well as John Kerry knocked it out the night before. If Obama did implement windfall tax on oil profits he would prevent oil companies from being able to bump up the price because of the tax, something Palin WASn't able to do when she originally voted to (HELLO) raise taxes on oil profits in August 2006 because she wasn't also president of the country, which was the cause of the rise in prices after she voted for the tax. All of this will come out to the public eye soon. I certainly hope Obama makes a point of this, and I can only imagine it's comin' big time.

So then.. McCain tries to steal the thunder by announcing his VP pick the day after Obama's historic nomination acceptance speech at the DNC, which undeniably detracted from people otherwise going to the news to see recaps. Nice, McCain, I gotta hand it to ya.. you DO know how to play politics.

BUT. considering the fact that McCain's most significant talking point against Obama is a so-called "lack of experience", McCain's decision to pick an unknown, completely inexperienced VP, this choice displays just one thing: political panic.

Well... not to mention gender based manipulation, irresponsibility, and politically motivated judgement to benefit John McCain, and not the United States.

I can't speak for women, but I find his pick horridly insulting. It's all the guise of exalting women in leadership... which I don't argue, is a good thing. My woman boss is easily the best boss I've ever had. I have no idea what her wage is but It certainly BETTER be higher than any Male boss I've ever had. But even she, who is on the fence politically couldn't help bringing this topic up with me first thing Friday morning, expressing her complete disgust with both McCain for selling out women and insulting their ability to follow politics enough to care about the issues, but also she was utterly sickened by Palin for accepting to be such an obvious pawn. I have to agree completely, I can't see how this pick won't backfire.

He'll probably forget her name publicly and call her Michelle or something. (he met her in person ONCE before choosing her as VP)

If I were a McCain supporter I might be blind to the fact that putting this inexperienced pawn into a vice presidential position demonstrates extremely poor judgement as it's a terribly irresponsible decision, but I really don't think McCain supporters are blind.

PUT KARL ROVE AWAY

www.contemptforrove.com

Recently, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Karl Rove, demanding his testimony about his own role in the politicization of the Department of Justice and politically motivated prosecutions of Democratic leaders, including Governor Don Siegelman.

Karl Rove refused to even show up for the hearing, claiming that Congress has no power to compel senior White House officials to testify.

That's outrageous. Yet again, Karl Rove and the Bush Administration have showed their callous disregard for the law and for Congress' constitutional role as a co-equal branch of government.

It's time for Congress to act: Forward an email to your Member of Congress by clicking on the link below, urging him or her to support a contempt resolution against Karl Rove. If Karl Rove won't respond to a legitimate Congressional subpoena, it's time to turn up the heat.

Email your Member of Congress right now:
www.contemptforrove.com

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Neither Gustav or Hanna can make another Katrina happen.

If you haven't heard, Tropical storm Gustav is making way over Jamaica, gaining strength and according to NOAA maps, it's expected to reach at least category 3 status as it's headed straight for Louisiana where levees still haven't been repaired in New Orleans (and aren't expected to be finished until 2011 under current plans). Meanwhile, Hanna is sitting exactly in the same spot where Katrina was sitting before It hit New Orleans. A likely evacuation of New Orleans is slated for Saturday. I just talked to a friend of mine having an anxiety attack over this who lives in the French Quarter. Thankfully I didn't wake her up as she couldn't sleep.

A feeling of "oh no, we're not ready for this again" is starting to be murmured in New Orleans, as people are already starting to decide if they're going to come back after an evacuation... But one thing at a time. First the storm.. I do believe that now more than ever, that FEMA and those in higher offices have a lot to loose by not responding quickly, and providing an efficient evacuation plan, and covering as many bases as possible after learning from mistakes (and complete negligence) from Katrina. If "the worst" that New Orleans or any other coastal city gets from this or any other storm becomes a reality, I'm quite sure that especially with this being an election year everything will be done to keep people safe and in good hands. It's a sick sick truth, but with all eyes on President Bush again this time around I can't imagine him ignoring a distress call from New Orleans (or ANY coastal town no matter how big or small) a second time around.

My thoughts are with all those on the SE coast, and if you're not there right now, please recognize how fortunate you are at this moment to not have to be considering how you're going to be able to afford to take off work to go guzzle gas with as many belonging as you can fit in your car to stay at some hotel for X number of nights.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Russia weighs in favor of South Ossetian independence

this is ugly

but Condoleezza Rice called Russia's move "regrettable"... Condoleezza.. would you mind EXPLAINING your side to the American people in full detail why you believe that South Ossetia should remain a part of Georgia, despite the near DECADE of turmoil South Ossetians have faced with their dealings with Georgia... Condoleezza.. Why exactly is Georgia allowed to invade who they want while you and ALL of America's media choose to ignore these things?!?! This whole issue will explode in OUR face Condoleezza... your overly-proud, stuck-up, spiteful rhetoric and means of dealing with foreign affairs is getting us NOWHERE fast.

What does Bush have to say about Russia recognizing S Ossetia's independence?? He calls it "irresponsible"... Mr. Bush, please elaborate on that one liner. You are clearly confused as to the definition of democracy.

Hmm.. Ever wonder why "liberals" have a bad name?!?



What in the world is happening.

As the 2008 Democratic National Convention is preparing to start, we have thousands and thousands of protesters marching in Denver. Yes, it seems people have come in droves to speak their minds and practice their right to demonstrate. That's nice... but where in the hell have all these pissed off passive aggressive "protesters" been for the past eight years?!?! What have they been doing?!?! Smoking cronic and playing Grand Theft Auto!?!?! Do these people have ANY inkling as to how ill-timed and thus irreversibly counterproductive their decision to unleash it all, now, in Denver at the Democratic Convention is???!

Do they realize the entire Republican party is jumping up and down in glee with all the ENDLESS ways they can twist this in their favor?!? Do these freaking idiots have any clue what further damage they are doing!?!? If you're against the war you should be against McCain... So go protests at HIS CONVENTION. Seriously. Wake up. Look at the bigger picture. We're all pissed... I'm not a big believer in the complete accuracy of the polls, but the same polls that put Obama only 1 or 2 points above McCain are also showing that 70-80 of the country disapproves of the direction our president has taken us and is taking us.

Why I believe we need to vote Obama into office is that he is completely determined to change the direction of this country. A man who _chose_ from very early on to dedicate his career to helping others less fortunate than him gain better opportunities that weren't previously available. I'm sure Obama knew as he was making a success of himself that his success was a rare exception of his time... he could have done many things with his life, instead he chose to dedicate his life to public service, leading project vote in 92, registering hundreds of thousands of voters to defeat Bush Sr (SO glad this was mentioned in tonight's convention. I remember Project Vote making WGN ch 9 news back then.) He was consistently elevated to high status in a number of public service and youth leadership organizations, and as anyone who has done any service work, you know you don't get leadership roles by slacking off, nor would you want a leadership role if you weren't sincerely into doing your work. I sometimes wonder why this aspect of Obama's dedication is so under-appreciated and relatively dismissed, and I wish those people would sometimes ask themselves what _they_ are doing for _their_ community or maybe the world around them.

I don't believe activism is a productive method of getting your point across.. I'm sorry.. but it doesn't work. It's TOTALLY counterproductive. If you're an "activist", you're putting everybody who shares your cause into a "radical" category and whether you realize it or not this does nothing but detract from the issues you are protesting. I really feel for people who are upset with government but haven't found a productive way to contribute to society to help turn things around. I really do. I think there's something we're all missing there. I think if I didn't have the outlets I have with music and art I'd be in a really unhappy place.

Anyhow, these protesters, they are not "far-left" they are not "liberal" by their actions, I don't know what label to give them, but political stances in this nation are FAR more dynamic than could be described as left to right... There are multiple dimensions to politics, and this "far left" / "far right" crap doesn't do enough to help us understand each others views and concerns.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Miles Davis



I got a little kitten on Aug 1, aptly named him Miles after watching him get completely entranced the second I put on a Miles Davis record (yes i do still play records). This little guy is awesome. I've never known a more affectionate kitten, one that will jump on my lap, climb my chest purring for the world to hear and wrap his paws around my cheeks and nuzzle his face in mine, lick my nose, eyes, chin with his razor sharp tongue..

I had no doubts in my mind the second I saw him along with 20-30 some odd adorable 3 month old kittens... I asked to see him, the second I picked the little guy up, he licked my face, climbed on my shoulders and laid down on my neck and licked my ear till it was raw!! I had no problems saying "I think I'm gonna take this lil guy home with me"!!!

Always a trick getting a kitten and an 8 year old cat (we call her "miss thang", or "Marlin Brando", the high and mighty tuxedo) to get along, but this morning they were chasing each other around the apartment playfully, so I think they're makin progress :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Operation South Ossetia Liberation

It seems the cold war is getting warmer, but this time around we can see the news as its reported around the world, immediately... Not without a grain of salt of course, as with our own... but the truth usually becomes crystal clear after looking through from all viewpoints.

After first reading of the current conflict between Russia and Georgia a little over a week ago, I noticed how nimbly the motives for the Russian "invasion" were discussed. Meanwhile, our president, defense secretary and RNC nominee did nothing but drum up anti-Russian sentiment. I have to admit, I was thrown off by what Russia was doing as well but figured since I didn't know much about Georgia, nor had any idea of the political background of South Ossetia, that there must be more behind Russia's offensive, not to say that some of the things Russia is and has been doing are to be praised, but I know when I'm not getting the full picture.

1. Why are our headlines not mentioning a word about Georgia's prior offensives in South Ossetia, a region that has been fighting for its independence from Georgia for a decades?? Seeing as "protecting South Ossetia" is the reason Russia is giving for it's military intervention in the region I would think it would have some relevance. This is like people ignoring Osama Bin Laden's reasons for waging war on the US and passing it off as "he hate's our freedom".

2. Why are we hearing (if we're listening) about the 40,000 some refugees fleeing from South Ossetia into Russia? Why wouldn't they instead flee to Georgia, and why isn't this a headline anywhere in US media??

3. How is Russia's intervention much different from US intervention in Iraq both in 91 and 03? I hear people try to separate the two by stating that Iraq was a dictator and Georgia has a democratically elected president. Musharraf is not a democratically elected president, (he came to power as the result of a coup) the staggeringly vast majority of Pakistan disapproves of Musharraf yet we still refer to him here in the west as "President Musharraf". The title used to define a leader are all subjective to convenient political climate of the society. Propaganda exists on all sides. It will never go away, but we can empower ourselves and do better by recognizing this.

4. What has been going on with South Ossetia and Georgia?

hmmmm. How much space do I have left?

South Ossetia is nestled between the mainland of Russia and Georgia. UN, NATO, OSCE, CEU all "recognize" South Ossetia as a part of Georgia, in 2006, South Ossetia held an independence referendum in which 99% of the 95%-turnout voted to be recognized as an independent state. The referendum was monitored by 34 nations including Germany, Austria, Poland, Sweden. The resulting vote, although a shining beacon of pure democracy in action was denied and condemned by UN, NATO, CEU, OSCE, and the Russian Federation.

South Ossetia originally declared independence in 1991-92 after a three year war with Georgia. Military conflict between the two regions go back to 1918 and have continued on throughout the years with major incidents in 2004, 2006 and presently 2008.

5. What else has been going on with South Ossetia and Georgia?
On November 11, 2006, the South Ossetian State Security Committee exposed an alleged Georgian attempt to assassinate the South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity and organize a coup d'├ętat in the region. Alan Parastayev, the former South Ossetian Interior Minister and Supreme Court chairman, has reportedly turned himself in to the State Security Committee and confessed to being a party to the plot.
On November 12, 2006, Georgia cut off the telephone communications with South Ossetia.
On August 7 2008, hostilities began between Georgian forces and South Ossetia's separatist forces. Over 1500 civilians and 15 Russian peacekeepers have been killed since hostilities began.

I think most of all I have a strange sense of disconnection anytime I read an article on any major news source as I know there is a history in this region and the media is not presenting it in any light whatsoever. It upsets me that the leaders of my country and much of our media are so quick to label someone as the "aggressors" and delivering the news as if Russia woke up one day and just decided to invade it's neighbor.

I have yet to be able to understand exactly what would motivate the US to align themselves opposite from Russia on this issue, so I'm really curious as to why besides an inane cowboy desire to confront your most dangerous potential enemy, the US has decided it's a good idea to start barking at Russia for invading Georgia. I'm quite sure the Russian media portrayed it as "Operation South Ossetia Liberation".

Why can I not stop thinking of the South Ossetian mother who I heard on the radio the night of August 8th cry that people there are terrified beyond belief. They can not sleep at night as there are Russians, Armenians, Ossetians, Georgians, and Americans living there and "everyone has been set against each other". I can not fathom what these people are living through while we as Americans are buying every word our media and leaders are feeding us. Don't think every nation is without it's own side of the story. Besides Putin's clear disapproval of the US invasion of Iraq I'm not sure what unspiteful motive the US has for pinning Russia to the wall for this.

I suppose I'll leave it at that for now. Seriously though. We have this going on in the world and our presidential candidates are being asked about gay marriage and whether or not they believe in the boogyman?!?!

good night.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Presidential Forum: caterpillar wings and war stories too!

Just finished watching Obama and McCain share their thoughts in the forum lead by Rev Rick Warren.

I really wish I could find a transcript of the forum, as it was quite interesting. They claim McCain was in a "cone of silence", while Obama went on first. Barack seemed to me to treat every question seriously, looking at tough questions with tough intellectual answers. He was asked some questions that were harder than others "does evil exsist?" to the paradoxaly phrased question "at what point does a baby have human rights?"... to which I would have answered "when does a caterpillar grow wings??"

Obama said a few things I'm sure he'll get grilled for, only due to the honesty and humbleness in his treatment of the forum, and willingness to answer complex questions with complex answers. My fear is the same I had from 2004. We're expecting the majority of our country to be able to look at complex situations and see that there are not always black or white answers to every question. Unfortunately in America we want a quick fix, a quick short answer is easier to sell than a long detailed analysis that complex issues actually demand. Anybody who works in some sort of customer service is familiar with this. Well.. I hope a lot of people have worked in customer service since 2004, which is unlikely seeing that our unemployment rate is at a four year high of 5.7%.

Then came the maverick, John McCain. Oh by the way, I don't think I've told you yet, you see, John McCain and I are friends. he calls me his friend all the time!! It's so reassuring of his trustworthiness!! Let me tell you a story. Back in Nam, him and I played tic tac toe in the sand with a stick. It all started when our captors drew a cross in the sand. I think he was trying to tell us that was going to be our grave, but we used it as an opportunity to convert him to Christianity and then the birds started singing and I cried. Let's go defeat evil, don't worry we wont have to start any more wars. Wars are free anyway. We can make everybody rich, but not spend a dime doing it, and I'm giving everybody $7,000 checks for free, my friend.

Are we going to get back to my being a POW? My friend, Can I tell you another story??

Uhm. Yeah, John McCain is out of his mind.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Russia/S. Ossetia to Georgia as US/Kuwait was to Iraq in 91??

This whole ordeal is quite frightening.. What's most frightening is the war of propaganda.. As I see it, Putin/Medvedev have been totally demonized, yet what Russia did this week was not much different from what Bush SR did in Iraq back in 1991 after Sadam invaded Kuwait. Kuwait surely would have fought back if they had a military anywhere close to what the Russians have today!!

I suppose a more precise analogy would be "Is Russia to South Ossetia what US was to Kuwait"

The US is calling Russia the aggressors, yet indeed Georgia INVADED South Ossetia, which prompted Russia to remind the world that they do not play nicely when taunted, and came to the rescue of the South Ossetians.

This however is not discussed. it is a non-topic in American main-stream news broadcast. Our media has become freaking ADDICTED to the manipulation of facts and sculpting propaganda. What will we have as a result?? Cold War II looks like it is only beginning.

Update:
I Love Jack Cafferty's piece on invading sovereign nations... Even in his "tough talk" statements about invading countries, McCain misses the fact that Georgia invaded South Ossetia last Thurs. It is parallel to McCain condemning the United States for invading Iraq in 91 and ignoring the fact that Hussein invaded Kuwait first. This just goes further to proove how innept McCain really is and what an oh so firm grasp he has on reality. (yes that's sarcasm) Regardless.. I'm thankful to see someone in the media at least acknowledging the obvious delusions of McCain.

Inspirational Detraction

Baby with massive tumor saved by liquor tycoon.

It's a nice heartwarming story but totally ignores a real issue...

Ask yourself.. is Wilms' tumor really "a common kidney cancer"?? How many people are diagnosed with Wilms' in the US annually? As far as I've dug, no more than 500 are typically diagnosed in the US.

It (and a slew of other cancers and birth deformities) are soaring in Iraq, while the demand for medications to help treat the illnessess have skyrocketed. The supply of medications now is limited to the blackmarket as hospitals have not been able to keep up (why these Iraqi children in CNN's story are being treated in Jordan) .. The black market drugs are filled with mostly expired and potentially complexly dangerous drugs sold to desperate mothers or fathers.

Is it referred to as a "common cancer" to detract from a real story... like the fact that the US military has buried and suppressed scientific studies from radiation experts warning of the long-term health risks of using depleted uranium in tank armor and DU tipped (AKA armor piercing) rounds???

ya think????

1 2 3 4 5

Follow this link click "more photos"... check out photo 5.. is that "common"????

If these birth deformities are simply the result of "not catching it early on" due to poor health system, bad economy why don't we hear about just as many newborn babys with jaw breaking eye bulging tumors in other poor nations of the world that the us military ISN't littering with radioactive waste?

Depleted Uranium isn't called depleted because it's safe. It's called depleted because it is uranium that is depleted of the energy needed to cause a nuclear reaction. It's waste but it's still radioactive, and that is why the department of energy went to the department of defense to get rid of the stuff somehow in the first place!

Friday, August 8, 2008

C'mon Cnn, Really?

As we're hearing today that Russia is apparently rolling tanks over and dropping bombs on it's neighbor Georgia, CNN posts the story from "TBLISI, Georgia"...

Wait.. stop. I'm sorry...

Isn't it Tbilisi, Georgia, not TBLISI?? Maybe (hopefully) a vernacular I'm not aware of.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

my new cd is about to FINALLY be released

Finally, on Tuesday, August 12, the album I completed in February, Monstrum Sepsis: Artifacts will be released through wt2 records. It's been a lot of work.. I created the framesworks of the songs with fast/skaletracker sessions, used the waldorf microwave XT extensively, accented with live recordings of the nord lead 2x and Kurzweil for strings and piano. The album isn't as dark as it is edgy, and there are several songs which lift you from the mechanical turmoil to drop you off into a familiar yet new territory. I don't want to spoil the content, but with titles such as "immoral combat", "war of ideas" and "under the carpet", I'm sure you can likely guess the message and sentiment behind this collection of music.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Graphite Sequencer and Drum Buddy

This is a very cool little invention and art piece that uses the conductive quality of graphite, (in this case drawn freehand onto paper circles) to modulate a tone generator via two wires in place of a record needle on a turntable. One wire sends and, the other wire receives current. The wider the stroke of graphite the wires make contact, the more current is distributed and received, thus the deeper the frequency, which translates to us as a lower tone. Besides this project, this artist's showcase is stunning.

I was breath taken and inspired by everything I saw and experienced here.



This little monster borrows from what makes a music box work, but uses light and light receptors to generate tones, a different tone for different receptors, equivalent of different "teeth" of the "metal comb" inside the music box you had as a kid. I think I would have to modify it to completely uhm, swap out the tone generator they were making them with... but it's a very cool concept.

Monday, July 28, 2008

eight (or more) things you can do to save gas

saving gas

I've read an onslaught of editorials in a wide range of newspapers, magazines and have seen several news segments on driving tips to help you save $$ at the gas pump. thought I'd put together my best of list, as I've read a lot of things out there that are either not entirely accurate (close the windows and "crank the AC") or incredibly effective suggestions that just aren't stressed heavily enough.

Since I totaled my first car (a geo prizm) in the beginning of 2004, mostly due to the fact that I was a previously lucky aggressive driver, I became addicted to finding ways to save gas. Saving gas and driving more safely go hand in hand. I always believed the basis of what makes a car "good" is the fuel efficiency. The car I replaced the prism with in 04 was a honda insight hybrid. After driving a car now for 100,000+ miles in a car which gives you up to the second feedback on your current gas mileage, you're bound to learn a thing or two about conserving gas by seeing how easy it is to waste gas with bad driving habits. The gauge doesn't lie. It has always made me wonder why EVERY car didn't have an up to the moment fuel efficiency gauge.

This might seem petty to some to publicly put out there, but I feel strongly about any topic in which I feel that we as humans are capable of addressing to help benefit every living thing on this planet. Why not do everything we can while we're here to ensure a bright future for generations? Saving gas is a small part of this, no doubt, and that's why I say it may seem petty, but the truth is, when we face reality, it isn't petty at all to wake up and take a serious look at how our daily habits and tendencies might impact not just how much gas we use, but other things in the big picture that can only make our lives more worth living to the fullest.

So I've decided to finally post this list of gas saving tips, more or less in order of impact on your MPG. I've realized that with a car that gets such incredible gas mileage and live feedback (from 0-150mpg gauge), you are able to more obviously learn what are bad habits and what are good habbits, in regards to saving gas. Since there is a wide range of fuel economy i can get with this car, the best practices become blatantly clear.

1. Tire air pressure. I've noticed many things have impact on my mpg, but nothing surprised me more than when after I saw the massive improvement on my mileage after first checking the air pressure of my tires, about two months after buying my honda.. First, BUY an accurate dial gauge, keep it in your car and use it to check your air regularly. After reading this suggestion on a message board regarding complaints that hybrids weren't reaching expected mpgs, I realized that all of my tires were about 5 psi short of the suggested 35/38 psi for my particular tires. I went from an average daily commute of 47mpg to 61mpg after filling them all up to 41 psi and following a few other tips regarding anticipating and avoiding unnecessary breaking.

There is no doubt about it, increasing air pressure will make a hugely positive impact on extending a tank of gas. You are increasing the surface area of the tire to it's maximum capacity, which exponentially effects the efficiency for all four tires. The idea holds true across the board for all vehicles that ride on air filled tires.. Keep your tires full!! They deflate faster than you realize, and it maks a huge impact on how much gas you end up using.

Try overfilling your tires a couple psi next time you're at the pump.. be careful and conservative not to over do it. this is why I suggest you purchase your own accurate dial gauge. Start with 1-2 psi over. some "max" limits are more realistic than others, so check online w/ google and see what other people are able to max your brand of tires out to. I've kept mine 12-13 psi higher than the dealer recommended and contrary to my initial fears, 50 psi in those little insight tires is not doing any harm at all. I can however easily achieve fuel efficiency that's at or higher than the EPA's mileage rating for my car while not having to drive sub-speed limit. In theory, increasing your air pressure will negatively effect the handling on tight turns, but you shouldn't be speeding through tight turns anyway, so it's a compromise I've been willing to live with and have never ever had any problem with handling even the tightest turns even at fast speeds. Check for uneven tire wear and rotate your tires when recommended.

2. Look ahead and anticipate so you can maintain your speed.. On highways/freeways you'll save the most gas if you're able to maintain the speed of traffic with as little break touching as possible. Don't follow closer than 2 seconds behind the car in front of you (use a sign or something stationary on the side of the road to count from) and when you can, keep an eye on the breaklights of the car two cars in front of you. You will then be able to anticipate when the car directly in front of you will hit their breaks. You may be able to match the speed of the car in front of you by letting off the gas early, without having to drop your foot on the break at all instead of just hitting the breaks when the car in front of you does. This will work absolute wonders with maintaining the momentum of your acceleration, thus saving you gallons and gallons of gas over time. You'll be driving smarter than the majority of the other cars on the road and I frequently notice this is contagious.. you'll start to notice other cars around you back off on the tailgating and driving a little smarter.

You do nothing but waste gas and stress yourself out by following the bumper to bumper routine breaking when the person in front of you breaks and speeding up the second they let off. Most of the time I find myself more capable of finding lane breaks... because you're more calm, you're able to make smarter decisions, I can't tell you how many times i see people speed themselves into lane traps while the lane I'm in suddenly opens and i'm able to get out of there without having to drive like an ass.

3. Don't use cruise control!!!! Give yourself some credit. You are able to do something cruise control can't, and that is anticipate. Being able to anticipate road changes, hills, curves, lane problems etc allow you to know when might be a good time to just take your foot off the pedal, coast and make a decision. Many times I read people suggest cruize control for saving gas.. it's a bad suggestion. You want to maintain a relatively constant speed, however you dont need overdrive kicking in if suddenly you are going up steep hill when you could have just anticipated it, and accelerated going into the hill and saved a buck of gas right there. Even when you assist the acceleration while in cruise, cruise undoubtedly has a mind of its own.

4. Keep your oil and filter changes and of course transmission flushes regular, as suggested. Your car's engine isn't going to be running very efficiently if it's full of thick burnt fluids and clogged filters. Make sure you're up to date w/ sparkplug changes, and have your exhaust system regularly inspected, especially with older cars--exhaust leaks lead to incredibly noticeable loss of power. Every time I change my oil, filter and transmission fluid I notice at least a 5 mpg improvement from before.

5. I see this all over and it's a great suggestion. Try leaving for your destination, be it work, the airport etc 5 or 10 minutes earlier. You will be able to chill out a bit while driving and not feel the tendency to speed.

6. Roll up the windows, this will cut down on drag, and having windows rolled down on the freeway or highway will slow you down.. not a very significant amount, but it does make enough of a difference. Turn OFF the AC and use the fan instead when you can. If you have the temperature on cold, yet the air coming in is hot as hell, we'll you probably should have your car serviced, or at least change your fluids.

7. Seriously.. just slow down. So many people tend to drive without realizing that every time they lay on the gas, they're burning money out of their wallet. I'm not saying there aren't times when you need to kick it in overdrive, but don't do it when there is a stop light a block in front of you. Coast when you can coast. Breathe. Chill out. Contrary to popular belief, you aren't impressing anyone when you show us how loud your engine can get. I loose count how many times I find myself passing cars that floored it past me blocks ago because I'm able to coast into a green light while they're still lifting their foot off from slamming into the breaks.

8. Revisiting the look ahead suggestion, imagine your line of trajectory from where you are to where the road ahead is going, especially in more open areas. Try to keep the line smooth... while staying in your lane, cheat towards the inside of turns (right side on right turns/curves, left side on left turns/curves) You'll get better traction, have a smoother, less jolting drive and save gas. Try to make your lane changes smooth... this cuts down on air friction and really helps to maintain your momentum.

The final... uhm... tip, which i would recommend with ultimate caution is drafting. Drafting is when you follow a vehicle larger than your own. This is like riding a bike behind a truck on a windy day. You get less wind resistance so you're able to maintain your speed w/o having to fight the wind. This tip could be placed quite high in the list of tips, and I'm not even going to tell you what my gas mileage can reach when drafting at 65mph... triple digits are not uncommon... Problem is drafting can be very risky and extremely dangerous. I used to draft religiously 2 seconds behind semis until one had a rear tire blowout directly in front of me on a loooong road trip from chicago to san francisco going 80mph (speed limit) on I-80. I was lucky to walk away from that and probably will never sit behind a semi again.

It is possible to draft while still maintaining enough breaking time if need be to avoid an accident, but my experience has steered me away from risking it unless I'm really trying to stretch a tank. I suppose I'd feel more comfortable drafting if i wasn't in a 2 seater hatchback, and if I didn't have that experience.

So at the risk of sounding preachy, I felt these tips are too valuable to keep to myself as really looking at how I drive has saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars over the past few years after changing my driving habits.. so why not put it out there.

Monday, July 14, 2008

McCain: "How to kill Iranians"

It's not whether you were serious or not that has people concerned, John.. It's the fact that your mind is twisted enough to even think this way in the first place...

...and you're running for _president_?

I wonder how red Joe Lieberman's face turned when he heard you spill this one out?

Playin: Firewater-"Already Gone" from the highly recommended album "The Golden Hour"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Evangelist accuses Obama of 'distorting' Bible

In context of Obama's recent comment regarding keeping religion out of politics Obama stated "Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?" in which he then compared differences between the old and new testament of the Christian Bible.

Evangelist James Dobson immediately jumped on Obama by saying:"Obama should not be referencing antiquated dietary codes and passages from the Old Testament that are no longer relevant to the teachings of the New Testament."

Alright... kinda hard to ignore this...
I'm shocked honestly that not many recognize the fact that Judaism doesn't consider the Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament) as "antiquated dietary codes". Nor do the Roman Catholic or Eastern Christian New Testaments match... The list doesn't stop there, but I think you get my point... Who's to say your Holy Book is the right one?

The understanding of this dilemma was, I believe Obama's rather valid point in the first place in expressing the dangers of integrating the bible with government and legislature. A country in this day and age can not be ruled by one religious creed.


playin---PJ Harvey- "50Ft Queenie", Squaremeter - ""tahat"

GAO: U.S. can't track $5.5 billion in Pakistan aid

here's the story from cnn.

So you're telling me that after SEVEN YEARS, our administration is just now realizing this.


Current play:
RJD2: The Horror

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bush asks Congress to clear way for offshore oil drilling

the story is here.

"The White House estimates that there are 18 billion barrels of oil offshore that have not been exploited because of state bans, 10 billion to 12 billion in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Green River Basin."

Consider the fact that the Ban on offshore drilling went into effect as a result of a massive leak that formed in the earths crust due from drilling off the shore of Santa Barbara, CA in 1969, which leaked 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean.

Consider the estimates from the white house which are showing that the Green River Basin has 45 times as many barrels than the offshore sites.

Why not stick to drilling on land, not the earths crust under the ocean!? Take the money earned (as crude is now about $150 a barrel) and invest in alternative energy.

I realize that math is hard, President George W. Bush, but seriously.

Gas cost us $1.36 when you took office. And what industry does your family work and thrive in? Oh YEAH.. the oil industry.

Monday, June 9, 2008

wow.

here it is.

a blank iframe waiting to be filled as I've finally decided to give in and create a blog. Well. Here goes!

I _hate_ the word. "blog"... I recall back in late 2000 when my project director at a multimedia firm I was employed at during the time, Todd (later turned very close friend, one I just ironically spoke with today) asked me "Hey Rob, what the hell, is a b-log??" I was a cube away and as you might guess, I had absolutely no freakin clue what it was he was talking about. It wasn't until he spelled the word out that It dawned on me that this "blogging" had caught on and the meme had officially penetrated our consciousness forever. I vaguely recall this as the first time I had ever heard the word come up in conversation outside of my then girlfriend who was a very adamant blogger... it's a disgusting word, a slur away from "buger". My 75 year old parents still to this day ask me to explain to them: "Robert, what the heck is a blog??"

To me it never made sense. I journaled, I've always kept sketchbooks. I wasn't too moved by the idea of permanently publishing anything to be converted to 1s and 0s and forever be encased into the "ambers of the internet" for anybody to be able to look back upon.

I think at some point I must have become more comfortable with the concept. I speak my mind. I do speak softly, but I carry a big stick. I don't hold back, and I'm only 31... the stick is getting whittled down-as I'm still rather young I have lots to learn. The more I speak my mind, the more I learn and so i find myself enticed with the idea of engaging with a ... blog.

So here it is. Trust me I have lots on my mind. I don't even know where to begin at this point, but im putting this stake in the ground and finally starting a blog.

Right. so now i've gotta go invite some friends here.. .that's how it works, eh?


look up!
-wentzr

(currently playin : "Daddy's Blazin' BBQ" by Pepe Deluxe)