Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!!

A Bit of a Political Rant...

Okay, you have been can tune out or strap yourself in for the ride. This is going to be sort of stream of consciousness and I'll see where it goes.

First, I like Obama overall. Not a surprise to anyone, but figured I should get that out of the way. He is smart and likeable and I agree with him on a lot of issues (more than I would have with McCain) and I hope his administration does well. He has a lot of challenges ahead to say the least.

Okay, now to my biggest problem with him: huge deficits adding to the national debt. Yes, he inherited a bit of a budget problem. I was hoping he would address that after the stimulus package got passed. He did...a little...promising to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. The problem is that baseline he is using is this year's $1.2 trillion deficit, a yikes number! I was hoping for a minimum of cutting it by 2/3 which would barely get us back to the previous record. Democrats seem to be pummeling Repubicans for their huge debts and saying we can do it too. While Republicans might deserve a lump or two for the last eight year, that is NOT a license for Democrats to take it to the next level! I never believed the rhetoric during the Bush administration that deficits don't matter and I don't believe it now either.

This is one issue I have been consistent on for a long time. I joined the Concord Coalition during the first Bush administration and was villified by Republicans, then cheered since Clinton was in office, then a villan again as Bush was in office, so I guess I am going to be a hero again for taking this stand.

So why don't I join the Republicans more strongly on this one? Remember, I like Obama. The politicial rhetoric coming from many on the right is aimed more at destroying Obama than stopping the policies they disagree with, especially if you look in the blogosphere or listen to talk radio (if you have trouble finding what I am talking about, just let me know and I will be happy to point you to some sites). It's hard to hitch my wagon to that crazy train.

One of the lines constantly used is that we can't spend our way to prosperity. I don't buy that we can tax cut our way to prosperity either which is the only political alternative. Cutting taxes do not always result in increased government revenue. This is not what Laffer said. He proposed that there was a tax rate that would result in maximum governement revenu...if you cut below this (or raise above it) you will get less. I can see the point in this. It is an optimization problem which should be familiar to anyone who has taken Calculus (although a very difficult optimization problem!) I say, show me this combination of taxes, convince me you are right, and I will join you in calling for Congress to enact that tomorrow. Problem is, no one has ever shown me that.

The problem with thetwo party system is that it can lead to a false dichotomy...boiling a lot of options down to two choices and pretending they are the only options. The problem is that you may have limited yourself to two bad choices by doing this which is what I am seeing with our current political situation.

We really need an honest debate about the size and scope of government in this country and what we are willing to pay for. I fear that our political system is not even set up for an honest debate (remember, everything is being boiled down to two options...not a good starting point). Financially, we have long counted the social security surpluses to make the deficit look smaller and the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (as well as Katrina) were all emergency appropriations, hiding their true cost from the annual deficit figures.

I really don't have a great idea how to break this stalemate. I have a lot more I could write, but will leave it here for now and do another rant later.

Saturday Morning Cartoon

When I was a kid, I remember waking up to cartoons on Saturday mornings. You know, the classic ones like Tom and Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, and Bugs Bunny. What happened to them? Are they locked in the vault somewhere? I miss some of these cartoons. What cartoons did you watch?

Lawyer arriving at court accused of drunken driving

"A lawyer representing a client with a speeding ticket dispute in Elm Grove Municipal Court ended up in handcuffs after police said he drove drunk to court."

I wonder if he gives discounts depending upon his state of inebriation?

"If you want me to represent you at trial sober, it will cost you five thousand dollars. But if I can show up half in the bag, I'll do it for five hundred."

Sirens Kept Waking Me Up Last Night

And that's hard to do. I sleep like a hibernating bear.

Sirens at night on the south side are not rare, but there was a bunch howling and yowling last night. Kept rousing me. I figured there'd be news of a great fire or gang shootout or something in the local news this morning. However, there's nothing.

Just another Friday night in Racine.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rammstein - Wollt ihr das bett in flammen sehen?

Unofficial translation: Do You Want to See the Bed in Flames?

Can you imagine seeing these bad boys in concert?

Please Support Our Troops

I just got this email from one of our soldiers in Iraq recovering from injuries (copied and pasted..all typos are the letter writers).

Dear Friend,

My name is Major,Amy Robinson. I am an American soldier with Swiss background,
serving in the military with the army 3rd infantry division.With a very
desperate need for assistance, I have summed up courage to contact you. I found
your contact particulars in an address journal. I am seeking your kind
assistance to move the sum of ( $ 3.2 million u.s.dollars )three million, two
hundred united states dollars to you, as far as I can be assured that my share
will be safe in your care until I complete my service here, this is no stolen
money, and there are no danger involved. I am presently in a hospital
recovering from injuries sustained in a suicide bomb attack.

Source of money:

Some money in various currencies was discovered in barrels at a farmhouse near
one of Saddam's old palaces in Tikrit-Iraq during a rescue operation, and
it was agreed by staff Sgt Kenneth buff and I that some part of this money be
shared among both of us before informing anybody about it since both of us saw
the money first. This was quite an illegal thing to do, but I tell you what? No
compensation can make up for the risk we have taken with our lives in this hell
hole. Of which my brother in-law was killed by a road side bomb last week.

Please view website for confirmation;

The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of money
became a problem for me, so with the help of a British contact working here and
his office enjoy some immunity, I was able to move the money to a security
company in bangkok thailand as a diplomatic baggage. They are now waiting for
us to provide the name of beneficiary who they will transfer the funds to. The
reason i want you to claim the funds on my behalf is that as a soldier, i
cannot present a concrete evidence on how i made such a big amount of money
down here. Besides the US Government is trying their best to keep their eyes on
soldiers here inorder to effect a high level of discipline among us.The moment
am sure that you are willing to assist me, i will give you the information of
the security company and the security code of the baggage.I want
you to tell me how much you will take from this money for the assistance you
will give to me.

One passionate appeal I will make to you is not to discuss this matter with
anybody, should you have reasons to reject this offer, please and please
destroy this message as any leakage of this information will be too bad for us
soldiers here in Iraq. I do not know how long we will remain here, and i have
been shot, wounded and survived two suicide bomb attacks by the special grace
of God, this and other reasons i will mention later has prompted me to reach
out for help, i honestly want this matter to be resolved immediately, please
contact me as soon aspossible, my only way of communication is email.

Yours in Service.
I am not helping this solider and, according to her, putting our soldiers at risk by posting this here. Since I obviously hate our troops, I ask a true patriot to please help out.

Seriously, though, what kind of a-hole tries to play on sympathies for the troops this way? Just another two bit internet scam.

A View of Our Earth

Blogger critical of cops says he's now a target

Do you think this guy went to far?

PHOENIX (AP) -- Blogger Jeffrey Pataky is dedicated to ranting about crime - so long as it involves the Phoenix police department

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rock and Roll Revival

Hello again, folks! Last week, I did a blog on lyrics. This week, I'm going to flip flop it and talk about the music within. As some of you may be aware of, I'm a guitar nut. The guitar usually the first thing I listen for in a song. I love listening to the chords, the riffs, and especially the solos. Other instruments like the keyboards, the bass, the drums, and whatever that is out there grab my attention as well. Sometimes the lyric are an afterthought, but not always:) The music is the heart of the song, while the lyrics speak the mind.

I often get down to instrumental albums like Jeff Beck's Blow by Blow and Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds of Fire. Instrumental jams turn me on. Here's a video of one my favorite instrumental songs, La Villa Strangiato by Rush. So my friends and fellow readers, what instrumental tune do you get into? Hey, it could be TV opening theme or soundtrack score if you want.

BTW-for the French readers, what does La Villa Strangiato mean? I honestly don't know.

Telephones and Wisconsin

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion, that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story in the LA Times read: 'California archaeologists, finding traces of a 200 year old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.'

One week later, The Courier Hub, a local newspaper in Wisconsin, reported the following: "After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near Stoughton, Wisconsin, Ole Olson, a self-taught archaeologist reported that he found absolutely nothing. Ole has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Wisconsin had already gone wireless."

Kim Plache - Is It Right?

She decided to run for mayor of Racine after she had already declared for the RUSD race. She publicly announced her intention to withdraw from the RUSD race, but it was too late to remove her name from the ballot.

So she lost the mayoral primary, but won one of the three Unified seats up for election. Now she says she will serve on the school board.

Should she?

San Francisco Sued

The city of San Francisco is being sued by the family of a Father and two sons who were allegedly murdered by an illegal alien. They claim the city's sanctuary policy contributed to the deaths. It turns out this lowlife had previously been arrested twice for gang related activities, but the local law enforcement do not report them to ICE.,2933,513378,00.html

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

400 Years of the Telescope

A new special premieres this weekend on PBS called 400 years of the Telescope (check your local listings for times...Friday at 9:00pm on channel 11 from Milwaukee). As you might suspect, this show is part of the International Year of Astronomy celebration.

400 Years of the Telescope is pretty ambitious. Cramming 400 years of history into an hour is no easy task to say the least, but they give it a pretty good shot, hitting some of the major highlights along the way with frequently stunning visuals and engaging interviews with astronomers. Neil deGrasse Tyson provides the narration.

I have seen this already as they debuted it at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach. I give it an overall thumbs up, but there were some curious choices on what they included and omitted. I think everyone felt that way as all astronomers have their favorite telescope which they are convinces should have been in there and wasn't. It's kind of like debating who was left out of the NCAA tournament. You know they got most of it right, but there are always a couple of bubble teams you can debate.

Set those DVRs this weekend for a high def astronomy treat.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Looking for a Cat?


Thing (in X-Rays)

The Chandra X-ray telescope has released a new image of a pulsar called B1509. I am affectionately calling it Thing, after the Adams Family.

Image Credit  NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane
Image Credit NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane

A pulsar forms when a massive star ends its life as a supernova. The core collapses, crushes the atoms themselves until nothing but neutrons remain. The core ends up rotating very rapidly (in this case 7 times a second). Pulsars have very strong magnetic fields. The rapid rotation and strong magnetic field create copious amounts of X-rays in the nebula leading to this spectacular image.

Of course we couldn't see this with out eyes that only detect visible light. To creat this image, astronomers assign each different energy of X-rays to a color. The low energy x-rays are red, middle energy green, and high energy x-rays are blue.

Chandra is one of NASA's Great Observatories (along with Hubble, Spitzer and the defunct Comptong Gamma Ray Observatory) but does not get the coverage of the more famous Hubble. It's a shame since it has been dong great since and will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its launch this summer. I hope to see thse images for many more years to come from this amazing telescope.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Call 9-1-1 for Extra Shrimp

Okay, I think I have about had it with these women calling 9-1-1 for such foolishness. I just heard on the News At Noon that some woman called in about not getting 'extra shrimp!'

When are we going to start charging these people with a nice hefty fine for such foolishness?

'By the time the police responded to the restaurant, the woman had already left!' They responded????? What the hail is that about?

Another Day, Another Shooting

Spring is in the air in Racine: plants emerging from a long winter's sleep, birds twittering on tree branches, and the crack of gunfire on city streets.

What a glorious time of year.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my darling daffodils! How are you? Have you noticed how windy it has been lately? At first I attributed it to early spring weather, but then I remembered that we had a mayoral primary in Racine. No wonder there has been a lot of hot air in the atmosphere lately.

I received an email this week from Mr. Avenging Angel, who writes:

There is a scene in the movie "The Outlaw Josey Wales" where Chief Dan George delivers a speech concerning he and his fellow Indian's trip to Washington D.C.

He says: The President came out to meet us and said "Endeavor to Persevere". The next day, the newspapers wrote "Indians promise to endeavor to persevere". We went home and thought about that for a long time.

Endeavor to Persevere, Endeavor to Persevere. Then we made war on the white man.

I always laughed after that speech, until now. Aren't we now being told: "Endeavor to Persevere"?

Dear Mr. Avenging Angel, we are being told all sorts of things, and Endeavor to Persevere is probably one of the less insulting ones. In general, I believe that the people of the United States are being told to “Kiss Off” by their representatives. And that’s putting it in language suitable for print.

Endeavor to Persevere has the ring of authentic BS. Unfortunately, I predict that only more of it will follow. While we’re endeavoring to persevere, I’m sure that the politicians will be persevering in their endeavors to wring every last penny from every last taxpayer on the planet. Persevere on!

As many of you know, I was involved in the mayoral race for awhile. I harbor no ill will towards any of the other candidates over my experiences and I would like to take this opportunity to wish them the best. Good luck especially to John Dickert and Robert Turner. You’re going to need it, Mr. Mayor. And good luck to the city of Racine, because you will need it even more. For the party people in Racine, though, I see nothing but fun, fun, fun ahead, as long as the stimulus money holds out. After that, it’s every man, woman and child for himself. I don’t want to be around to pay the piper when we wake up from this binge, so I’m thinking of taking a page from our former mayor’s playbook and just staying drunk all of the time. It worked perfectly well for him until that last, little, uh, indiscretion . . .

Hic, you can contact me with your problems, solutions, rants, and raves anytime at:

Have a wonderful week, my dears. Don’t take any wooden stimulus nickels.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Remember Our Gang?

What ever happened to those people?
Well, here it is...........sad...........!



Carl Switzer was shot to death at age 31.


300-pound Norman Chaney died at age 22 following an operation.


William Thomas died at age 49 of a heart attack.

Darla Hood

The Our Gang leading lady contracted hepatitis and died at age 47.


Kendall McCormas, known as Breezy Brisbane, committed suicide at age 64

Mickey Daniels

He died of liver disease at 55.


Mathew Bear led a life of crime and drugs. He died of a stroke at age 56.

Scotty Beckett

He died at age 38 following a brutal beating

Robert Hutchins was killed in an airplane accident at age 19

Pete the Pup
He was poisoned by an unknown assailant.


Currently lives in California


Robert Blake was found not guilty of murdering his wife

We now have an Irregular Politician!

Projected Winner Name Votes - % total (rounded)
x John Johnson (i) 276 (27%)
Jerrold Klinkosh (i) 212 (21%)
x Chris Larsen 258 (25%)
x Chris Wright (i) 273 (27%)

How Smart is your right foot?

Toad sent this to me...I thought you guys needed a distraction today!

This is hysterical. You have to try this. It is absolutely true. I guess there are some things that the brain cannot handle.


You have to try this please, it takes 2 seconds. I could not believe this!!! It is from an orthopaedic surgeon............This will boggle your mind and it will keep you trying over and over again to see if you can outsmart your foot, but, you can't. It's pre-programmed in your brain!

1). Without anyone watching you (they will think you are GOOFY....) and while sitting at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2). Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand.
Your foot will change direction.

I told you so!!! And there's nothing you can do about it! You and I both know how stupid it is, but before the day is done you are going to try it again, if you've not already done so.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman

Tuesday Morning Grin......


Between 18 and 22,
A woman is like Africa, half discovered, half wild, fertile and naturally beautiful!

Between 23 and 30,
A woman is like Europe, well developed and open to trade, especially for someone with cash.

Between 31 and 35,
A woman is like Spain, very hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.

Between 36 and 40,
A woman is like Greece, gently aging but still a warm and desirable place to visit.

Between 41 and 50,
A woman is like Great Britain, with a glorious and all conquering past.

Between 51 and 60,
A woman is like Israel, has been through war and doesn't make the same mistakes twice, takes care of business.

Between 61 and 70,
A woman is like Canada, self-preserving, but open to meeting new people.

After 70,
She becomes Tibet, wildly beautiful, with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages...only those with an adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual knowledge visit there.


Between 1 and 70,
A man is like Iran, Ruled by Nuts.

As long as it is a political know, you're suppose to vote

This the end of my political talk...

"Women Smell Better than Men"

"Body odor reveals more than when we last showered — it also packs important biological information. And apparently women are better at catching the scent of body odor than men, a new study found.

"'It is quite difficult to block a woman's awareness of body odor. In contrast, it seems rather easy to do so in men,' said Charles Wysocki, a behavioral neuroscientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia."

This may also explain why men think farts are so funny and women don't: us guys don't realize how bad they really stink!

Throw Shoes, Not Bullets

Today's news contains another story about a shoe throwing incident overseas: India shoe-thrower released without charge. There's also a story in the local news about a Racine shooting, again. Reading the two accounts got me to thinking: wouldn't it be grand if our thugs, gangbangers, and various other Racine reprobates threw shoes at each other instead of shooting one another? Never again would we read a story about some innocent bystander felled in a hail of bullets - maybe knocked down by an errant Nike, but not shot dead. Police and evidence technicians would be dispatched to the scene of the most recent throwing to take pictures of the tossed shoes lying in the street and embedded in victims' homes. The southside Addidas Disciples would be constantly battling the northside Nike Lords in turf wars. The streets would flow with shoe leather and laces, but not blood.

To this end, I am considering starting a nonprofit foundation called Shoes for Shooters. It would work in concert with a charity that a friend of mine started in Milwaukee a couple of years ago: Belts for Brothers, which collects and distributes belts and suspenders for the gravity-impaired trousers of inner city youths. I'm pretty sure that I can get a block grant or stimulus money or something from the government for this because money has been falling from the sky ever since the bankers and CEOs imploded our former economic system.

So, what do you guys think? Ya can't say that ol' Orbs isn't thinking about ways to better our community.



We do our share of complaining, but now is the time to step up and get out there and VOTE.

There is no way I will endorse a candidate here. All I will say is that it is time to close the wounds of this city/county/state by electing people who care more about us than any political agenda.

Voting is our last best hope to change anything. Oh crap, did I just use "hope" and "change" in the same sentence? I gotta stop watching TV.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Winner of the You Point Hubble Voting...

You might recall that I blogged about the opportunity for the public to vote on which object to image with Hubble. The winner (which was my vote) was Arp 274, a trio of galaxies. The winning image was released for 10o Hours of Astronomy and it is a beauty (click to embiggen). For a real bandwidth clogging treat, download the full hi-res image.

These galaxies were thought to be interacting with each other, but the high res view from Hubble shows very little distortion typically associated with interacting galaxies. The blue knots on the outside galaxies indicate a lot of star formation going on. The yellow near the centers of the galaxies indicate older star populations. You can see two bright stars (with diffraction spikes) that are in our galaxy.

In picking the Arp 274, we choose wisely!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Any Predictions for Tuesday's Mayoral Primary?

If I go by the yard signs I see the most, Helding and Dickert look like the finalists. Or maybe they just have the biggest signs. I've seen quite a few Turner signs, too.

I really have no idea. There are too many possibilities. And I’m a terrible gambler.

The new Netbooks

Once again I turn to you in the know about a subject I know virtually nothing about.

With all the traveling I will be doing this year, several trips planned to Racine, one to California, one to AZ, etc., I am considering one of these netbooks rather than lugging my laptop with me. I have a rather heavy laptop.

Anyway, who can tell me what about this contraption. Is AT&T wireless service the only one available for it? I don't mind paying a little more if I can use a cheaper provider.

Explain away, kk, orbs and anyone else who knows something about these new little gizmos!