All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The First 100 Hours

My latest legislative update:

  1. Congressional Operations
    • Lobbying Reform
    • Pay-as-you-go
  2. 9/11 Commission Recommendations
    • Already Done
    • Policy vs. Legislation
    • Committee Structure
  3. Minimum Wage
  4. Health Care - Medicare Part D
    • Negotiating Lower Drug Prices
    • Health Savings Accounts
  5. Embryonic Stem Cell Research
  6. College Education, Student Loans
  7. Energy Independence
  8. Retirement
    • Social Security
    • Medicare

Thursday, December 21, 2006

109th Congress Concluded

December 18 Legislative Update

109th Congress - Final Accomplishments

  • Appropriations, Sans Earmarks
  • Tax Relief, Health Care and Trade
  • Stand-alone Legislation Cleared for President
  • Valiant Efforts

R Congress Ends

  • Senate Nominations
  • Bills Introduced
  • Final Actions

110th Congress

  • Mid-Term Election Results
  • Iraq
  • Senate

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

John Batiste: Iraq is the first phase of a long-term struggle

Retired Major General John Batiste on MSNBC's Hardball, November 22, 2006This is a Transcript of Chris Matthews' interview with Retired Major General John Batiste

Download Audio, Watch Video
November 22, 2006
Hardball on MSNBC

Hardball with Chris Matthews - Wikipedia
Chris Matthews: Retired Major General John Abizaid--actually John Batiste, commanded the first infantry division in Iraq two years ago, and repeatedly called for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to go--he'll brief House Democrats on his own strategy for Iraq, at a forum we mentioned, in two weeks.

General Batiste, thank you, sir, for joining us.

Where do you think the Democrats are on the issue of Iraq? Have you been able to read their leadership yet?

John Batiste: You know, Chris, no. I mean they're all over the map right now, and it would be nice if they would coalesce into a single position.

CM: Let's talk about--rather I'm going to ask you to talk about--this proposal for a withdrawal, a beginning of a withdrawal within four to six months--what would that be in terms of policy? Would that make any difference to anything, or is that just a political move?

JB: I think it's a political move. You know, Chris, I think we're fighting a protracted war against the Jihadists. And these people mean business. They have as a stated objective the destruction of our way of life. We got off to a terrible start in Iraq--a strategy that was just fundamentally flawed, that opened up Pandora's Box, that unleashed Hell.

Now we gotta get this thing under control quickly.

CM: Well, are we fighting Jihadists in Iraq?

JB: Exactly.

CM: Are we?

JB: This is important, Chris. These--this group, this movement is after us big-time.

CM: Who?

JB: And we need--we need to stop this.

CM: No t-- Are we f-- We have the Shi'a milita. We have the Sunni insurgents, and we have the al-Qaeda terrorists in that country.

Which group is associated or is part of this Jihad?

JB: Well clearly the al-Qaeda--that foreign influence that's in Iraq, that has as their stated objective the destruction of our way of life.

And my point is we need to take this very, very seriously. To simply leave Iraq, to set timelines without conditions--set us up to fail big-time in the future.

CM: Well, the troops we have over there--140,000 of them--what percent of our troops, what chunk of them are fighting Jihadists? And what percent are fighting militia on the side of the government we're putting in there, and what percent are we fighting of Sunnis who are simply upset because they are losing out on the loss of power since Saddam fell?

JB: To the troops on the ground, it really doesn't matter--they're all the same. Whether you're talking al-Qaeda, or a Shi'a militia group, or a criminal gang--it's all the same, they look alike, they carry the same weapons.

CM: But what are w-- Well you s-- I'm confused here. Are we fighting the Jihad, or are we fighting an Iraqi civil war right now?

JB: I'll tell you what. What's going on in Iraq is the first phase of a long-term struggle that this nation needs to come to grips with pretty quickly.

CM: Well help us. What what are we f-- What should we do in Iraq? Who should we be shooting at and fighting at, and who should be defending? What side should we be on in Iraq? Tell us how to-- What's going on over there, and what should we be doing?

JB: Chris, the first thing we have to do, like I said, is recognize that we're fighting a long-term struggle. Iraq is but phase one in this whole effort. This could go on for decades.

We need to mobilize this country--in multiple areas. We've been fighting this war on the cheap. We've inconvenienced the American people as little as possible. And that's not how we're going to eventually win this struggle.

We need to properly resource the Army and the Marine Corps. These great organizations--we've never fielded better military forces in our history--are too small for our national strategy.

We need to get serious about funding this war. We need to think about some kind of a war tax, so we're not funding this war at the expense of our domestic budget. It goes on and on--

CM: I would think you'd be more successful with that argument, General, if you would tell me who we're fighting in Iraq right now. And why should we be fighting them, and who are we fighting for in Iraq?

JB: Chris, here's the end state that we're after in Iraq, I think. We're looking for the rule of law to take root in Iraq that's enforced by a competent Iraqi security force, army, police, border patrol--in support of a Iraqi government, probably not democratic, but representative, taking into account the tribal, ethnic and religious complexity of that country.

The problem is we're fighting an insurgency that has many faces--al-Qaeda, Shi'a militia, other militia, criminal elements, gangs, thugs. It doesn't matter what it is, the fact is we gotta get it under control.

And here's what I suggest:

One is we've got to get the Iraqi security forces stood up, fighting the enemy on an even playing field. This needs to be America's main effort very quickly. It has not been for the last three years.

General Marty Dempsey is the best we got. If anybody can figure it out, he can--but he needs the resources.

We need our very best officers and non-commissioned officers embedded in to the Iraqi battallions, embedded in to the Iraqi police departments with all the resources that they need which, oh by the way, may require mobilizing a piece of our economy to support that.

The next thing is we've got to stop the flow of the insurgency from Iran and Syria. Those borders are porous now, they were porous when I was there. We need to bring to a full stop the flow of that insurgency, and that may involve involving countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan--with large numbers of troops to get control of this. It's in their interest to do so.

We count on our government to build coalitions of the willing for something this important.

We need to stop the militias. That includes Sadr and his militia that is probably tied to the government in Iraq. But these militias need to be incentivized to stop being part of the problem--rather being part of the solution. And if they can't be incentivized, we need to crush them. It's that simple.

Until the Iraqi security forces can do it by themselves--to establish and enforce the rule of law--it's my belief that we need to reinforce the coalition with more troops. That's not necessarily American troops, but it's allies and friends that need to take this thing very seriously.

I go back to my first statement: We're fighting a war against the Jihadists. This effort in Iraq is yet-- is but the first step in a very long protracted struggle. But until the Iraqis security forces can stand up and do it themselves, they need help to secure that country.

It may be tens of thousands more required--I don't know. But I do know that we can't just leave Iraq. It's got to be conditions-based.

To leave Iraq will send that region, I believe, into unbelieveable turmoil--pitting Sunni on Shi'a, nation on nation, Kurds, ultimately, on any numbers of nations in the region.

And at the end of the day, our country is affected enormously. We'll be back there later, if we don't get it right, now. And the cost in blood and dollars will eclipse what we need to spend now to fix what we broke.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

109th Congress, Final Week

A fresh blast of winter arrived in Washington this week. This week Washington lights its Christmas trees, and the 109th Congress will finally, hopefully, finish its business for the year. It's another action-packed week.

This week concludes the 109th Congress. Normally December would be quieter, but with a new Congress and a new majority coming in January, it's once again a flurry of activity.

Tomorrow the House votes on the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (H.R. 6099), the Iraq Study Group releases its report, and the Republican Study Committee elects a new chairman.
  • Senate
    • Nominations
    • Legislation
  • House of Representatives
    • Legislation
    • Reflections
  • 110th Congress Introduction
    • Leadership Election Results
    • Realignment
    • Oaths of Office, Islam
  • Branch Relations

Friday, November 10, 2006

Team Hoyt Triathletes

YouTube - (Can ) Father-son bond of Dick and Rick Hoyt

110th Congress Preparations

Changes are afoot in this town, and our prayers now can help shape the future that is rapidly upon us. The 110th Congress convenes in 54 days, and the parties elect their leaders in one week.

110th Congress Preparations
  • Changes from the Elections
  • Elections Among the Elected
  • "The Austin Uniter"
Only 725 days until election day 2008!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Like Dwight

YouTube - We Like Dwight

North Dakota! Send Dwight Grotberg to Washingon!!

Rational Voting

In his newsletter today, Jeff Myers excerpts a USA Today article from a couple years quoting students and their reasons for not voting:

Preston, University of North Carolina: "It's not rational for me to spend my time voting. It's not going to make a difference."

Mike, University of Michigan: "I'm busy. I'm a college student; I don't have the time. One day I'll do my own research and be knowledgeable enough."

Cheryl, New York University: "I guess I didn't want to go to my elementary school to vote. I don't know, it sounded kind of intimidating--going into a booth and pressing buttons. I don't even know when I can vote. Is it the first week of September?"

Albert, New York University: "I don't care enough to care about why I don't care."

Michael, Former voter registration coordinator: "It's not that I don't care. It's just that I've got more things to worry about, like myself."

I, for one, will not be among the non-voters next week!

10,740 days

Stupid Iraq

"You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well, and if you don’t you get stuck in Iraq."
--John Kerry, October 30, 2006

Black Republicans "Do the Walk"

YouTube - Black Republicans "Do the Walk"

America's PAC - Vote Our Values

Diet Coke & Mentos on Autopilot

Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments II - The Domino Effect - Google Video

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Marketing and Professionals

"Marketing is way too important to be left to professionals."

--Seth Godin, October 17, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Criminal Misapplication

Crime in the United States dropped during the 1990s.

Instead of giving glory to God for his mercy, some decided to give credit to abortion which started approximately 18 years before the drop in crime.

Now, that drop is crime is suddenly vanishing. ABC News is reporting:

Startling New Stats Show Cross-Country Crime Spike
'Can't Arrest Our Way Out of This,' Cincinnati Police Chief Says

What happened to the great abortion solution? It's not as if abortion suddenly stopped 18 years ago to cause this spike.

The LORD hates ... hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6).

Monday, October 9, 2006

Adding hours to your day

From How to Have a 36 Hour Day:
  1. Sleep. Get up on time.
  2. Eat. Not eat less, but get your body to spend less time on eating, digesting and eliminating.
  3. Multi-Task. Exercise while you read email and Bloglines!
  4. Organize. Stop spinning your wheels in circles. (Ha! How's that for a double entendre from mixing metaphors?)
  5. Type fast.
  6. Read fast. I'm not sure I agree with reading fast as much as read the less important stuff faster, or just read less of the less important stuff.
  7. Read less, listen more. Audio books have their place. (Although, I think that makes it harder to take notes, capture ideas, blog paragraphs, etc.)
  8. Delegate more to machines. Be lazy. If you can teach a computer to do it, why should you be doing it? (This, however, both can have a high learning curve for some things, and require never-ending maintenance that can actually take hours away from your day. In all things moderation.)
  9. Delegate less to the TV. You only get so much from TV, and usually less than is deserved by the time that you give it. In other words, turn it off! (The same is probably true of where you spend time reading and watching online.)
  10. Delegate more to people. It's ok if you don't have the authority, and it's ok if they're not getting paid. It's called asking for help. Yes, this make take (gasp!) humility, but it can be done.
(He didn't have a summary, so I'm doing this here to help myself digest these much needed ideas myself--digesting in the non-nutritional sense.)

I know where I need to make some changes. How about you?

10,718 days

What's in your hand?

Rick Warren on Life.

Found by designverb

Friday, October 6, 2006

Stand Up Next to God

In the course of battle, a commander would give careful instructions to the officers responsible for commanding the troops.

After laying out the battle plan, he would ask them two questions:
"Do you understand the order of the battle?" and,
"Do you commit yourself as a responsible lieutenant commander?"

If the answer was affirmative on both counts, the lieutenant saluted and said, "Yes, sir!"

We are called to live responsibly in an unstable world. It became unstable the moment that man chose disobedience to God. As we grow in the Christian life, our responsibility grows. If we ever had a call to personal responsibility, we have it in this imperative:

The Imperative of Self-Control

Is North Dakota Pro-Life?

Of all the 50 states in the Union today, only one has the ignominious distinction of having two senators who wish to appear voting pro-life, but in the end vote against enacting pro-life laws.

The legislation in question here is the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403), also known as the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (H.R. 748).

If anyone other than a parent were transporting a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion in circumvention of state abortion restrictions, this federal legislation would require an abortionist to notify the parents of that minor child of the impending abortion.

This is not a consent requirement--just notification.

So, even if the parents objected to their minor daughter getting an abortion out-of-state, they have no legal means to stop it. This is legislation that 80% of the public supports.

The original bill in the Senate only made transporting a minor across state lines a crime, and did not have the notification requirement. The vote was 65-34. When the notification requirement was added in the House of Representatives (264-153), Sen. Durbin (D-IL) blocked the bill in the Senate.

About this, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) wrote to one of his constituents, "I supported the bill because it is vitally important that parents be involved in the decision to have an abortion." He continued, "Having supported the Child Custody Protection Act, I am disappointed to hear about this objection and hopeful that it will be lifted so that the bill can move forward (emphasis added)" (Letter PDF).

Sen. Frist (R-TN) forced a vote on the issue with a cloture petition, but that requires 60 votes for passage. You would think with the original bill garnering 65 votes this wouldn't be a problem. Not so. The cloture motion failed by 3 votes, going down 57-42. This was the Senate's final vote of the year before the election.

Eight Senators switched their votes from Yea to Nay with the parental notification requirement added. Both Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) voted for the bill, and then against allowing it to "move forward."

Doesn't the state of North Dakota deserve to have at least one Senator who truly supports legislation with 80% support of the population?

Dwight Grotberg is running against Kent Conrad in the upcoming elections. He said, "The Child Custody Protection Act was an important bill that would have protected our children from being exploited by others and helped safe-guard a parent's ability to guide a daughter facing important, life-impacting decisions regarding pregnancy and abortion. As a parent, I would have given this bill my unwavering support.

"I believe North Dakotans would have been much better served by a vote in favor of the Child Custody Protection Act as it would have helped improve the effectiveness of our own two-parent notification state abortion law and brought a higher level of accountability to the abortion industry nationwide."

The people of North Dakota will have a chance to put a real pro-life vote in the Senate in 32 days.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Pre-election session wrap-up

Do you know who Tola is?

He was a judge in Israel who barely garners a mention in the book of Judges. Here's the whole story: "Now after Abimelech died, Tola ('Worm') the son of Puah ('Splendid'), the son of Dodo ('His Beloved'), a man of Issachar ('There is Recompense'), arose to save Israel ('God prevails'); and he lived in Shamir ('Thorn') in the hill country of Ephraim ('double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful'). He judged Israel 23 years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir" (Judges 10:1-2).

The elections are in 34 days. Please pray that the people of America would elect humble leaders similarly low on drama and high on faithfulness.

My latest Legislative Update is available:
    Last week was a whirlwind of activity on Capitol Hill--probably one of the busiest and most productive in years. The Washington Post reports the House of Representatives alone passed 165 bills. The dust is still settling on all the legislation pushed through the system, and we hope to unpack some of that for you here.

    Congress has officially adjourned to go home and get itself re-elected in 34 days (33 Senate races, House races) and plans a lame duck session for the week following the election, and for two weeks in December.
A brief outline of the rest:
  • Defense Authorization - Military Chaplains
  • Port Security - Internet Gambling
  • Border Security - Embracing America
  • Child Custody Protection Act - Passage vs. Cloture
  • Recent Votes
  • Possible Lame Duck Session Votes
Legislative Update Archives

From George Allen, To Virginia

YouTube: George Allen speaks to Virginia


Monday, October 2, 2006

Freedom Over Stability

"We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom.

"Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom, and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage.

"Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither.

"So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism."

--George W. Bush, September 11, 2006

19 and 20 days after The Path to 9/11 aired on ABC, I watched the whole program. Putting aside the controversy and defensiveness of those in our government now and before, one message came through loud and clear: We are at war.

I watched this right after reading the news about Christian Coalition's new president, my Florida pastor, Joel Hunter.

In some ways, it felt like two different worlds: the culture war with America, and the culture war within America. Both are a struggle for life that voters would do well to remember in November. Yet, both seem worlds apart.

We should not forget either one.

10,711 days

Friday, September 15, 2006

Saturday, September 9, 2006

SRBs after the launch

"The two solid rocket booster recovery ships, Freedom Star and Liberty Star, are stationed in the Atlantic Ocean about 140 miles northeast of the Kennedy Space Center (off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla.) in their mission station position. They were deployed on September 5 and arrived the next day.

"The booster recovery operation takes about six hours. The boosters are plugged, and compressed air is pumped into the interior, a procedure known as dewatering. This changes their position in the ocean from vertical and bobbing like buoys, to a horizontal position resembling logs in the water. This allows them to be towed back to Port Canaveral.

"After the ships retrieve the boosters, they are returned to the port to be prepared for shipment by train to Utah where they are readied for a future shuttle launch."

Mission STS-115 on NASA's Launch Blog

Reformation in Africa

"The European reformation wasn't just a religious revival; it
was an application of biblical truth into every area of life.
Over the course of two centuries the reformers established
educational systems, developed systems of law, advanced human
rights, and planted the seeds of scientific and technological

"In some ways the continent of Africa is today where the
Europe was then: a poor, uneducated populace ruled by a small
wealthy elite, battling the twin enemies of secularism and
radical Islam."

--Jeff Myers

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Hardball: Malachy McCourt interview

Video: Chris Matthews interviews Malachy McCourt, the Green Party candidate for New York governor. His brother wrote Angela's Ashes.

Malachy is one of those guys for whom I probably would not vote, but to whom I love to listen. A politician with personality, he is.

Monday, September 4, 2006

CBS Evening News: Schieffer Signing Off

Video: Schieffer Hands Over The Anchor Desk
'CBS Evening News' Anchor Talks With Katie Couric About Life And Career

CBS threw more of an on-camera party for Bob Schieffer than NBC did for Tom Brokaw!

Nightly News: George W. Bush Interview

Video: Brian Williams interviews George W. Bush

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Monday, August 21, 2006

Effective Youth Ministry

Lance Latham had five founding principles for effective youth ministry:
  • Scripture Memory
  • The Gospel of the Grace of God
  • Leadership Development
  • Doctrinal Integrity
  • Good, Wholesome Fun

The Fifth Voice

"As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear him" Psalm 103:13, RSV

"Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from they presence?" Psalm 139:7, RSV

Why We Sing, Part 2
by Reggie M. Kidd

Song shapes our love for him and makes us "there" to his "thereness." That's why he asks, "Do you love me?" ... because he delights in our pleasure in him.

Barbership quartet singers claim that when their voices blend just right, they hear a "fifth voice." That aural illusion created by harmonics is, I believe, a divine whisper of something that is absolutely true of our singing when we gather in worship.

For the Bible says that in the church Jesus is singing hymns to the Father (Hebrews 2:12) and that, in fact, he is our Worship Leader (Hebrews 8:2, literally "Liturgist").

We sing so we can sing with Jesus.

When Paul tells his churches to "let the word of Christ dwell ... richly" among them by means of "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" (Colossians 3:16 NIV), he's inviting them to do more than use music as a "warm-up" to the sermon.

The song is not ornamentation; it is participation in the very redemption of all creation. It plays its own role in God's showcasing his saving power before humans and angels (Ephesians 3:10).

From Key Life Magazine, Summer 2006 (21.2)

Embody Our Love

Why We Sing
by Reggie M. Kidd

What is it about singing that takes us beyond mere belief or behavior?

Think of singing as a language that allows us to embody our love for our Creator. Song is a means he has given us to communicate our deepest affections, to have our thoughts exquisitely shaped, and to have our spirits braced for the boldest of obediences. Through music, our God draws us deeper into a love affair with himself.

"Do you love me?" What a moment it is when Tevye sings these words to his wife, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. Their oldest daughter has turned her parents' world upside down by telling them she plans to marry a man of her choosing rather than theirs.

Stunned at such world-shaking bravado, Tevye realizes he can no longer take anything for granted.

He looks at his wife of 25 years as though she were a stranger. He has to know: Have we simply been acting the part? With his musical question, "Do you love me?" he acknowledges a profound reality: acts of love are important to a relationship, but no less vital is the embodiment of that love in words.

No, it's not enough that for 25 years Golde has cooked her husband's meals, washed his clothes, milked his cows, shared his bed, given him children. To his poignant, "Then you love me?" Tevye needs to hear Golde's (superbly understated), "I suppose I do."

The song that passes between them bears a sacramental message: behind the cooking and the milking and the birthing, there is after all something exotic and mysterious.

That's the way it is with God and us. The singing makes our covenant relationship more than a mere contract. It is a mysteriously romantic intimacy as well.

From Key Life Magazine, Summer 2006 (21.2)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Card Trick Video

Only the best magic card trick in the world!


Seth Godin makes an interesting point: "the idea that everyone values their time the same seems sort of backwards."

Super Size Me

Super Size Me
5-minute preview
full 2 hours available for purchase

The Rhythm of the Bush

Beatboxen Bush

Starting over

Seth Godin recently blogged about how "Major advertisers have the expectation that they don't need to keep reintroducing themselves" but "Unlike books and movies and speeches and sales pitches, it’s pretty obvious that blogs and websites don’t work that way."

Some people get it. "Some people have been with you for years. They understand your conventions, your shorthands and your biases. They know you’ve written a few books, appeared as a child actor in Star Trek or have a deep and abiding hatred for cats. You can drop a few hints and they get it."

Others don't get it. "Among your newbies are several people who won’t hesitate to send you an email, post a comment or leave in a huff. They don’t get it and they want you to know they don’t get it."

"Your inclination, if you’re at all like me, is to have that person’s voice in the back of your head every time you post an entry or design a page."

"Resist! Starbucks doesn’t start over every time someone walks in, and neither does your church."

It's his last comment I quoted there that I wanted to address. The church planters, and megachurch leaders are exactly the folks who did start over every time someone new walked in. How many churches today give page numbers for the verse in the church Bible. Knowing the Books of the Bible is a lost art these days.

Our churches have become professional milk dispensers. When is the church going to learn how to cater a gourmet meal?

10,668 days

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Search Engine Strategies

Danny Sullivan interviews Google's Eric Schmidt

10,667 days

Google Talk Usurps AOL

Google found a way to get me to download Google Talk once again. I've been using Miranda for a while (and still will--for all five of my IMing accounts), but now I need to have Google Talk to go with it.

Basically, the ability to send a voicemail to any address (Gmail email or otherwise) was too good. That's as good, if not better than being able to download voicemail from Vonage! And then the music playing status feature along with their new Music Trends is just too handy.

Of course, it would be nice if displayed their titles in a way that made more common for dividing title and artist.

Adding online notification is handy, too. Miranda doesn't have that. Google Talk may have had that for a while though.

What I find so intriguing about this development is not just that Google has far surpassed AOL in its products, but that it beat AOL in integrating two of AOL's own products: instant messaging and music playing! No, neither IMing nor MP3 playing started with AOL, but they currently own top players in both markets (AIM and Winamp), and yet never thought to tie the two together. And Google doesn't even have an MP3 player!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Weakening Political Currency

From today's First Read: "Over the next two days, listen for what Bush might say to address the list of traditional economic 'truths' which, to many Americans, no longer seem quite so true:
  • that if you work hard, you'll get ahead;
  • that health insurance will keep you from going bankrupt over medical costs;
  • that owning a home is a means to financial security;
  • that real estate and stock investments always increase in value;
  • that Social Security will always be there;
  • that your company retirement fund is safe; and,
  • that your children will face a brighter future than you.
Until the Administration focuses on these concerns, it seems unlikely that Americans are going to see eye to eye with them on a strong US economy."

Of course, we should also keep in mind:Tim
10,665 days

Art in London

Early influences of security:

Playing with Security

The Millennium Bridge:

The Millennium Bridge

Other cool photos:

Marks and Spencers in the UK vs. Whole Foods in the US:

Marks and Spencers

Tango's Trip

London Tube Map Light Table

Only £1500!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

48% of Democrats support Bush candidate

"Commonwealth Conservative ... analysis on last week's Democrat Senate primary in Connecticut: 'the Bush Candidate Got 48% in a Dem Primary.'"

"Democrats are spinning the election result as a referendum on President Bush" and "the person they've equated with him drew 48% of primary-voting Democrats. In the Northeast."

Democrats vs. Moderates

And that was before terrorism barged back into the headlines.

666 miles from Washington

"Nashville, TN--666 miles outside the Beltway."

Can I Get A Map With That?

Human-sized chess board

"A human sized chess board in the back patio of the Wild Duck Inn."

London Airplanes, Heathrow Airport

Like most folks who don't fly regularly, the news of the foiled attacks in London simply made for encouraging news of many lives saved.

However, for many who do fly, or were "on holiday" on the UK, their lives were still turned upside down for a day or two. Here's one man's inside look at what happened.

10,664 days

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ironies in sharing words

"Why are we so quick to gossip and share juicy details that can seriously harm a person, yet we never want to hear how a movie ends?"

priorities: the first loser

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

How much do you cost to count?

If you are an American, in four years, the government plans to spend $36 to count you.

Does it really cost that much to develop a database, print a form, drop it in the mail, get it back and enter it online? Or, to have a Web site up for people to enter their information online?

Either that, or are we just footing the bill for the Census Bureau to go door to door, run TV ads and file "emergency" spending paperwork?

One way or the other, Tom Coburn, junior senator from Oklahoma plans to find out:

Coburn Opposes Additional Money for the Census Bureau

FYI, the $36 head count figure came from the $11.3 billion cost estimate that Coburn cites for the 2010 census, and current projections of an increase in population to 310 million in another 1,242 days.

10,656 days

Friday, August 4, 2006

511: Traffic and Weather

Central Florida 511 system nation's most used

"National trends show that 511 systems in high population states such as Florida and California are used by daily commuters for traffic information on roads such as Interstate 4, while in the Midwest and West, the 511 systems are used for severe weather alerts."

Coke, Soda, Pop, Sprite?

OK, let me just say, someone had way too much time on their hands for this one.

Coke, Anyone?

I'm all about the water or the Sprite. :)

10,652 days

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Commuter rail coming to Central Florida

"Trains could begin service between DeBary and Orlando by 2009, ahead of the start of the $2.3 billion reconstruction of Interstate 4 between Kirkman Road and State Road 434. The final route into Osceola County has a scheduled completion date by 2013."

Governor announces deal to bring rail service to Central Florida

Friday, July 28, 2006

West Nile close to home

Alexandria Health Department reports city’s first positive test for West Nile Virus in 2006

Public reminded to eliminate standing water and protect themselves against mosquito bites

Only Nazi aircraft carrier found in Baltic sea

"WARSAW, Poland - Poland's navy said a sunken shipwreck in the Baltic Sea is almost certainly Nazi Germany's only aircraft carrier—the Graf Zeppelin, which disappeared nearly 60 years ago."

Nazi aircraft carrier found in Baltic sea

Georgetown Leaders Desires: more view, more waterfront, more traffic

"Business leaders in Georgetown have given their support to a proposal to tear down the Whitehurst Freeway, built decades ago so commuters and others could avoid Georgetown from the Key Bridge to K Street.

"The board of the Georgetown Business Improvement District voted in favor of removing the freeway, which was constructed in 1949."

Georgetown business leaders favor removal of freeway

Dp you know five neighbors?

Frederick, Maryland, wants to make sure its residents know at least five other city residents.

Know Five In Frederick

The Symphony Meets The Video Game

"Composers are finding a new market for their music."

"It might be the last place you'd think, but video games are the new haven for concert music."

"Video games are becoming a new medium for exposing kids to a musical genre they might not otherwise experience."

Composers Are Writing Music For A New Audience: Video Gamers

Reminds me of when Warner Brothers used classical music in cartoons. To the next generation, classical music then became known as "cartoon music." So, maybe concert music will become known as "video game music"!

Army Training

"'Quite frankly, in 33 years in the United States Army, I never trained to stop a sectarian fight,' Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli told the L.A. Times. 'This is something new.'"

ABC News World Newser: Winning the peace

Very Profitable

"In 30 seconds, the Exxon Mobil Corp. makes about what an average American family earns in an entire year."

"From April to June, Exxon earned $114 million a day — $80,000 a minute."

ABC News: Big Oil's Monster Profits Bring Political Outcry

Tom Davis, Porker of the Month

As named by Citizens Against Government Waste.

Fly without a security check

Maybe someday...

ABC News Science And Society: Taxi!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Liberal on Liberal "Moderate" Election Battle

Election analysis of liberal bloggers attacking Lieberman, but not the less liberal Casey, Webb, or Nelson candidates.

A taste of what's to come for Hillary Clinton?

Why are bloggers targeting Lieberman?

Medicare's 'Doughnut Hole'

"Medicare Part D is providing prescription drug coverage to millions of older Americans. But ever since the program went into effect in January, there's been an epidemic of confusion and headaches."

"For all patients, Medicare covers 75 percent of the first $2,250 worth of drugs. But after that, coverage drops to zero—and doesn't resume until the patient hits $5,100 in expenses. Then Medicare kicks in again, paying 95 percent of costs. But it's this gap—of almost $3,000—that many sick and disabled seniors call unaffordable."

"The 'doughnut hole' is also emerging as a powerful election issue because of when seniors will feel the pain: Somewhere between 3 million and 7 million seniors will fall into this coverage gap between now and November."

Medicare's 'Doughnut Hole'

Friday, July 14, 2006

French beat Americans in vacation days

"When compared with workers in other parts of the world, Americans receive the fewest vacation days per year with 14 days, according to the sixth annual Vacation Deprivation survey.

"Starting in 2005, Expedia expanded the survey globally to compare and contrast vacationing habits internationally. The 2006 Vacation Deprivation survey showed that Australia got an average of 17 days off, 19 in Canada, 24 in Great Britain, 27 in Germany and 39 in France.

"France also won the distinction of being the vacation champion, with 45 percent of its workers taking at least one, three- to four-week vacation."

Survey: Americans receive fewest vacation days

Are you wasting $4 billion?

"U.S. workers waste nearly $4 billion by refusing to telecommute, a recent survey found.

"The National Technology Readiness Survey, sponsored by the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and Rockville research firm Rockbridge Associates, found that although many workers are given the chance to telecommute, very few actually do. And it's costing them money and time."

Maryland study touts telecommuting

4-word 20 seconds lasts 3 years

"Columnist Robert Novak said Wednesday that a conversation with White House aide Karl Rove that became an important part of the Valerie Plame affair lasted about 20 seconds."

"Regarding Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip, Novak said he told Rove, 'I understand that his wife works at the CIA and she initiated the mission.' The columnist said Rove replied, 'Oh, you know that, too.'

"'I took that as a confirmation that she worked with the CIA and initiated' her husband's mission to Africa, Novak said. 'I really distinctly remember him saying, "You know that, too."'"

"Novak's column on July 14, 2003, touched off a criminal investigation that has resulted in the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, who faces trial next year on charges of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI. He is accused of lying about how he found out about the CIA identity of Wilson's wife and what he told reporters about it."

Novak-Rove exchange lasted 20 seconds

Officially Old

Kids think 50 is old. Adults think 80 is old. When you start slowing down, or the media puts you on "the death watch," then you're officially old.

TheWorldNewser: "Monitoring Castro's mortality"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Insects in Space

Yesterday Bigelow Aerospace launched the "2,800-pound Genesis I [that] measured 14 feet long and 4 feet wide at launch and was to inflate to twice that width in orbit.

"It carried photos of Bigelow employees and insects that scientists hope to study to determine how well they survive the flight." ...

Beachfront Antarctic

"Trees could be growing on the continent within a century."

"There were trees, there were bushes, there were fields of grass. In fact, the evidence of pollen fossils is that much of Antarctica was vegetated and these were plants that were able to adapt to periods of darkness." ...

So, global warming and climate change are a bad thing ... why?

Will a lot of things be different? Probably. Will this be a bad thing? Probably not.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Periodic States has what has to be the most creative list of the 50 states that I have ever seen. store locator - 50 states in Periodic Table-style chart

Reminds me of another list.

10,629 days

A Valuable Lesson

Mark Batterson: "at the end of our lives, we’ll regret opportunities missed a lot more than mistakes made."

"One of our core values at National Community Church is everything is an experiment. And that experimental approach to ministry gives us the freedom to fail. We’re not afraid of making mistakes. In fact, we’re afraid of not making mistakes because that means we aren’t taking enough risks."

"I’m afraid that too many churches are playing not to lose instead of playing to win. We’re playing a prevent defense instead of storming the gates of Hell."

"Instead of pointing our finger at what’s wrong with culture, the church needs to offer better alternatives."

"We need to stop doing ministry out of memory and start doing ministry out of imagination. We need to stop repeating the past and start creating the future. We need to stop being so afraid of doing something wrong that we don’t do anything right." ...

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe (Ephesians 1:18-19).

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Conservative County

The Harris County GOP is the Republican party in the largest conservative county in the country, and the third largest county in the country.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Teen Drinking

For anyone that has teenagers out there:

CBS News: "teens who indulge in binge drinking may be paying a heavy price."

The Bird (Droppings) in Orbit

"The Discovery astronauts carried out painstaking, inch-by-inch inspections of the shuttle's carbon composite nose cap and wing leading edge panels today, using a laser sensor on the end of a long boom to look for signs of ascent impact damage.

"White markings thought to be bird droppings were spotted at one point, and a few other whitish streaks were visible, but no obvious signs of significant damage were seen in downlinked TV." ...

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Monday, July 3, 2006

Man of Firsts

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, grants his first interview and now first biography.

Ed Bradley Talks To Neil Armstrong

Seven months prior to the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, in Apollo 8 man orbited the moon for the first time on Christmas Eve 1968.

The crew read from the book of Genesis to the largest television audience ever.

Pray for the day when a space shuttle crew or subsequent Crew Exploration Vehicle incorporates God's Word into their mission.

"Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth" (Psalm 105:5).

Elian, five years later

CBS concludes he looks normal, trauma lurks below the surface, and he's friends with Castro.

Elian Gonzalez, Bob Simon Interview

From Rains to Mosquitos

"BALTIMORE (AP) - Heavy rains have made excellent conditions for mosquitoes to breed, and experts are predicting a boom year for the biting bugs.

"'I think we're going to have a pretty spectacular season,' said Mike Raupp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland, College Park.

"A plentiful mosquito population creates more potential for cases of West Nile virus and encephalitis in people and horses, along with heartworm in dogs.

"'With the deluge, there will be an awful lot of (breeding) habitat. And if the trend of thundershowers continues, and maintains these habitats, we'll see a bumper crop by the second or third week of July,' Raupp told The (Baltimore) Sun." ...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Top 10 Attractions in 2006


I just drove 5,380 miles this month, and yet none of these places were on my list. But I'm not all that finished with my travels this summer either.

By the way, anyone know of a good deal on a newer, in-better-shape car?

10,606 days

Monday, May 29, 2006

17 days, 3 time zones

This might make it appear as though gas prices don't affect my travel plans. I didn't let them affect my plans to be at my World War II veteran grandpa's 88th birthday party in Wisconsin on June 10th. Three days after his June 12th birthday, my grandma will be 32,000 days young! That's the vacation part. The rest of the trip is part vacation, part business.

May 31: Traveling: Alexandria, VA to Chicago, IL

June 1: Staying: in Chicago, IL

June 2: Traveling: Chicago, IL to Minneapolis, MN to Fergus Falls, MN
June 3: Traveling: Fergus Falls, MN to Great Falls, MT [wireless service unlikely]

June 4-7: Staying: in Great Falls, MT [wireless service unlikely]

June 8: Traveling: Great Falls, MT to Fergus Falls, MN [wireless service unlikely]
June 9: Traveling: Fergus Falls, MN to Minneapolis, MN to Elcho, WI [wireless service likely in a.m.]

June 10-13: Staying: in Elcho, WI [wireless service unlikely]

June 14: Traveling: Elcho, WI to Chicago, IL [wireless service likely in p.m.]

June 15: Staying: in Chicago, IL

June 16: Traveling: Chicago, IL to Alexandria, VA

So, if you see some strange picture, text and audio posts here for the next few weeks, that's why!

10,585 days

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Praying for the President

"President George W. Bush, beset by public doubts about his leadership, has opted for a more humble tone in discussing the Iraq war, including admitting mistakes, as a way to rebuild his credibility, analysts said on Friday.

"Bush's shift in attitude during a Thursday news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair was an indication he understands the depth of public discontent with the war and the criticism that he is too stubborn to adjust his policies, they said." ...

Life Maintenance Suggestions

From Mark Driscoll:
  • Fill your plate
  • Exercise
  • Do not allow technology to be your Lord
  • Sabbath
  • Pick a release valve
  • Work on your life, not just in it
  • Leave margin
  • Spend most of your time training leaders
  • Work from conviction, not guilt

Driving: the new 'down time'

"Results from the second annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test suggest that licensed Americans lack basic driving knowledge and exhibit alarming behaviors on the road."

"The study revealed that one in 11 drivers—nearly 18 million people—would fail a state drivers test. The study shows drivers deliberately disregard pedestrians and treat driving as the new 'down time,' where they catch up on the day's activities, diverting their attention from the road." ...

Hillary Follows the Money

"The manufacturer of Plan B is Barr Laboratories of Pomona, N.Y., and they are the ones who petitioned the FDA to allow over-the-counter sales in the first place. Evidently the pharmaceutical giant can sell more of this emergency abortifacient if it is placed in the grocery store aisle along with aspirin and cough syrup." ...

Home Traveling

"Higher prices don't seem to be hurting sales of one big gas-guzzler: the RV. In fact, RV owners say that when you think about it, they are really economical."

"People in their 30s, many with families, make up the fastest-growing market in the $14 billion a year RV industry." ...

Medical Tyranny in Virginia

"Fifteen-year-old Abraham Starchild Cherrix never intended to challenge the medical establishment when he refused chemotherapy earlier this year.

"He simply believed the treatment was poisoning him, rather than saving him from Hodgkin's disease. What he wanted was a more natural approach, which he sought through an alternative treatment clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.

"That decision has led to a courtroom battle, accusations of parental neglect and the possibility of being removed from his Chincoteague home." ...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tropics Expanding

"The tropical regions of the world have been expanding since 1979, according to a study by US climatologists who are unsure whether the phenomenon is caused by global warming or natural climate change.

"After analyzing satellite temperature data collected from 1979 through 2005, researchers estimated that the tropics expanded by two degrees of latitude, or 225 kilometers (140 miles), during that period.

"The phenomenon could explain the increase in droughts and decrease in precipitation observed in recent years in the subtropical regions of southwestern United States and Europe's Mediterranean basin, the scientists said in a paper published in Science magazine's May 26 issue."

"The tropical zone, geographically speaking, lies between the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5 degrees north latitude and the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5 degrees south latitude. Meteorologists, however, generally consider that the tropics extend 30 degrees latitude north and south of the Equator.

"Should the tropics 'move another two or three degrees poleward in this century,' said University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor and study co-author John Wallace, 'very dry areas such as the Sahara Desert could nudge farther toward the pole, perhaps by a few hundred miles.'"

"Earth has two polar jet streams at polar latitudes, one in each hemisphere, and two subtropical jet streams closer to the Equator, also one in each hemisphere. The data show that the jet streams in both hemispheres have moved toward the poles.

"'The jet streams mark the edge of the tropics, so if they are moving poleward that means the tropics are getting wider,' Wallace said." ...

Kurt Wise has discussed the likely positive changes of global warming to our existence on earth.

The Sahara Desert sits between 16 and 30 degrees North.
Israel sits between 31.2 and 32.6 degrees North.

Thus says the Lord: "'I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,' says the LORD."

Eminent Domain Used Against Wal-Mart

"A developing city east of San Francisco is the first place in the country to use the Supreme Court's eminent domain ruling to keep Wal-Mart out of its area."

"The Hercules, Calif., land in question consists of a 17-acre stretch next to new homes, offering a view of the San Pablo Bay. The city did not want Wal-Mart to be the centerpiece of its planned waterfront.

"Instead, city planners have looked for a more historic-looking development, with buildings that include apartments on the second floor and shops and restaurants on the ground floor."

"Towns from Virginia to California have fought Wal-Mart in the past, claiming the chain would kill local businesses. But many more have welcomed the chain for its jobs and tax revenue, even using eminent domain to bring the chain in."

"'It's not right to take private property for political purposes,' said Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Loscotoff."

"Wal-Mart has never gone away quietly, so this could be the start of a battle for the California town." ...

World's Largest Oil Reserves

"The future may lie under the Orinoco River in southern Venezuela.

"If these fields can be exploited efficiently, they'd give Venezuela the world's largest reserves and the United States a powerful rival to the south for many years to come." ...

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