Monday, October 30, 2006

Hello on Monday. No blogging over the weekend, as Dove Avenue is disconnected from the internet. We had to move out of the den last week, as the renovation moves on (even a snail's pace has forward movement, given a hundred years more or less). In pulling the computer out of the den, I dropped the modem. So when trying the hook up from elsewhere in the house, we could not get the modem to work.

However, last week did see the kitchen progress to the point where the kitchen people could actually come in and make their final measurements. And then, with the measurements in hand, yesterday we spent most of the afternoon with the kitchen specialist at Home Depot with whom we first worked well over a year ago, finalizing those plans. It will be at least four weeks before the cabinets are ready to ship. In the meanwhile, we need to get back with the tile company and see just when we can get them over to do their work.

Last week the plumber finished his outside work, connecting the bathroom in the new bedroom to the sewer line. (Sewer line entry point on NE corner of lot. New bathroom on SW corner of lot. House in between. Of course.)

We understand that the rarely seen bird in Miami Springs, the building inspector, came by last week and approved the drywall installation. Now we wait again for the plasterers to come and do their work.

Friends of ours have a publishing company which publishes, among other things, the River Cities Gazette. Their building burned to the ground last week with everything in it. Two of their staff, fortunately, had a lot of data on their laptops and the laptops were not there at the time. But they have no place to office, no computers, and a lot of their management data went up in smoke. Carol thinks a lot about what a disaster would do to our office, and we fully back up everything each day, taking a tape home with us. We will probably do more. Many large firms have duplicate computer systems at a branch office out of Miami. One can spend a lot of money on disaster planning, but what has happened to our friends make us think that a reasonable amount of money on such contingencies is well spent. But what is "reasonable"?

I was able to spend some time with the Elecraft. I have by now populated two of the three major printed-circit ("PC") boards with their respective components and am at the point where one is to pre-assemble the PC boards for some test and alignment steps, preceded by the "smoke-test", as I reported earlier. So this weekend I did the pre-assembly, and I plugged in the unit - no smoke! Instead, I heard the relays do their preliminary boot, I saw the proper read-out appear on the front panel, and my subsequent button pushing and knob twisting, as required, yielded the appropriate results. (There are many buttons and knobs on the front panel - oh the joy of it!)

The next part of this particular stage is to assemble some test probes, and I completed one of them, an RF probe. This is a device that one connects to his DMM (digital multi-meter). (A DMM is a store-bought unit.) When one touches the probe to a particular point in the circuit, where RF (radio frequency energy) is supposed to be present, the probe detects the RF and converts it into DC voltage. The voltage runs along the leads to the DMM, and the DMM measures what has been detected.

One of the very interesting thing about this kit is that it supplies such probes. The creators of the kits think enough of their product and of the people who build them to provide a means for us amateurs to be so deliberately involved in the construction. Once I complete building these probes, I will use them to test various parts of the circuits I have built to date, to see whether the appropriate voltages and currents appear in the right places.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Per Scott's request, here are some pics from Aidan's big day. You get to see him blowing out the candles with his daddy, which was actually quite funny. Aidan only blew out one candle, and then the smoke from that candle wafted back into his face. This was something that Aidan did not like, and almost made him cry. Then Macon bravely stepped forth to help vanqish the fire from the second candle and the smoke from the first. When it was all said and done, Aidan was happy and glad to eat cake with ice cream. This cake was a red velvet concoction which I baked in a bundt pan. I don't know how many of you have ever tried to decorate a bundt cake, but I found that this can be particularly difficult. I need to invest in some normal cake pans...Anyways, after scraping off my first two attempts, we ended up with a red velvet bundt cake covered in cream cheese frosting with little blue dots all over. It looked like a gigantic donut with blue sprinkles!

Moving on--in the second photo you can see many of the cousins and a neighbor gathering around as Sue Sue helps to open a new present. And, last but not least, the final pic is of Aidan (and others) enjoying his new sand and water table. Can I get a "woo-hoo"?
"I love my Mummy"

In case you can't make out some of the details in the pics, here's a guide:
1) Will's shirt says, "I love my Mummy"
2) Will has two front teeth (lower).
3) Anna Scott's attire was picked solely by her and includes a black "Sweet Heart" shirt (the candy corn makes the heart), pink skirt and orange/black tights. Not pictured: purple/pink-ish cowboy boots.

Anna Scott turns 4 on Nov. 12; Will is 9-months old.

Cross posted here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Where is Kenya? I was talking to my friend, Joe, WA4ONV, via the repeater network the other morning on my walk. He was asking me about the Ethiopian-Somalia problem, which he had read about. (Somehow, even though he leaves for work about 5:50AM, he has already read the paper, checked the weather forcast, and so on. He is sort of like the ham radio version of the Today Show.) He asked me where Ethiopia is in relation to Kenya. (He knows about Mary being in Kenya and sometimes reads the K&K blog.) I am embarrassed to say that I could not remember. I told him that I thought that it bordered Kenya, but I was not sure. I also wasn't sure where Kenya is respect to the Sudan, although I knew Somalia was on the NE border of Kenya.

Anyway, here is a link to a map of Africa. I'm going to put that link over on the right side of the blog, so it's readily available.
Emergency Contact Information. If you live in Florida, you can go online to a State of Florida website and enter two emergency contacts on your Florida Drivers License record which can only be retrieved by a police officer. I am told that this came about as a result of one woman's teenage daughter being killed in a car accident, and the authorities having to take over 5 hours to locate the mother.

The website states in part:

"This service will allow you to provide emergency contact information to law enforcement in the event of an emergency. This information may save crucial time if ever it becomes necessary to contact family members, or other loved ones. This service is only available to individuals holding a current Florida Driver License or Florida Identification Card."

There may be a similar service in your state.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hello on Wednesday. It's already mid-week! I haven't really begun yet! Just where are we now?

Carol and I went to the "travel doctor" and got our shots for the Kenya trip. The doctor's advice, which he offered along with the injections, can be boiled down to this: "Don't eat anything. Don't touch anything." Oh, fun.

The building contractor announced that he was ready to take up the old floor in our den. That forces out of another room. We now have no tv or internet access (although I may be able to piece something together if I can find the time.) So, along with the den, the kitchen is gone, the front and side yard is dug up, the back yard is full of junk from the construction, the living room is uninhabitable, the dining room has only a small space at the cluttered dining table for us to eat our meals. One of the bedrooms is filled with stuff. This is getting worse.

Caribou Coffee has a logo that I noticed the other day, "Life is short. Stay awake for it." My observation is that people can't or won't sleep, and their lives awake suffer for it. But it's a clever motto.

Our Wednesday men's group takes up the sixth chapter of Galatians, the last one. Many identify Paul as a sort of legalistic Christian (despite such letters as Galatians), but he has this to say, "The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself". So simple, so difficult.

Carol and I went to a party Saturday at the home of a very prominent lawyer, with whose friendship I am blessed. It's an annual event, and we have gone for many years. We meet fascinating new people every year, and I get to visit with lawyers that I have known at least professionally for a long time. I spoke with a lawyer who is in his mid-80's and built a huge reputation as a take-no-prisoners litigator, especially in divorce cases. He is a secular Jew, but interested in religion. He knows that I am a Christian. We were talking about Islam, and he said that Muslims call Christianity a "slave's religion", because of it's "turn-the-other-cheek" attitude. I said that my Scots-Irish anscestors would beg to differ, but that there is truth in that accusation. As Christians, we are to live to serve others. Some cultures denigrate the idea of serving and elevate the idea of commanding service. I don't know enough about Islam to say that this idea of service is a signal difference, but it could be.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

He's cute and funny!
Tonight, after his bath, we had Aidan laying down on the changing table as we put on his diaper and got him ready for bed. He started talking about belly buttons and asked to see both Macon's and mine. When I showed him mine, Macon leaned over and said, "hello, Honor!" Aidan was not to be outdone and cried out "hello, Honor!" and then blew my tummy a kiss.

After this, he looked at Macon and said, "see Daddy's Honor?"

Chuckling, Macon replied, "Daddy's tummy has no honor."
That Boy is SO CUTE!

Aidan has now been to his first Pumpkin Patch where he got to pick out a very cute little pumpkin. His little neighbor friend Webb also came and they had great fun running up and down a nearby ramp.

The third picture is outside of the local Krispy Kreme Donuts shop. We had just been to Aidan's 2 year well-check. He is still weighing in around the 10th percentile, is almost in the 50th percentile for height as well as for the size of his noggin. You'll notice in this picture that he is very happy. It wasn't until later that day that he got his flu shot. After which, he was not as happy. He has had a hard time recovering from the emotional trauma of that shot. He didn't want to get out of his crib after his nap today until I told him that we would not be getting a shot or going to the doctor today. Then he was finally willing to let me pick him up. It seems like he always takes a few days to recover from the scare of getting shots. Poor kid. They even called me to pick him up from preschool early today since he seemed sad, not himself and wasn't eating any of his lunch. I am hoping that he is not ill, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Christian Themes Found in Neighborhood Plans (That Feature a Mix of Uses)
Developer Joe Swanson of Swanson Developments is building Christian-themed mixed-use developments in Middle Tennessee. These communities and their streets have Biblical names and entrances that resemble churches. Kingdom Ridge in Murfreesboro, for instance, has white pillars at the Covenant Street entrance, leading to homes priced from $130,000 to $250,000. Swanson adds that his developments will not have bars, massage parlors and other businesses "that would be damaging to people's character." ....

Seems like we tried a similar concept in Charlotte. It was called PTL, and we all know how it turned out.

OK, it's not totally fair to equate the two concepts; but, this idea strikes me (grates on me?) in the same way that most of pop-Christian culture does. It seems fake. "Hey, I live on Ark Lane. I'm spiritual and know it. Don't you want to be a Christian too?"

Yeah. Right.
Reasoning Together. An interesting article about the beginning of a Christian-Muslim dialog.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Faking It. We have engraved stationary at the office. High grade stuff. Expensive. But increasingly I am finding myself asking my assistant not to mail that letter in the matching, engraved envelope with the 39 cent stamp but to scan it and send me the pdf so that I can attach it to an email.

Here's how it goes, often:

1. I dictate the letter;
2. The assistant transcribes it, hits print to produce a draft copy, walks to the printer and picks up the draft
3. She walks the draft into my office and deposits the draft in my in-box, and I get up and go get it;
4. I mark it up and put it back in my out box
5. She picks it up, goes back to her station, redoes the letter and prints it on a different printer that has bond paper loaded in it.
6. She goes to the printer, picks up the bond product, takes it to my office for the in box
7. I pick it up, sign it, put it in the out box;
8. She picks it up from the out box and makes a file cc, a cc for the reading file, a cc for my tickler and a cc for each person who is to get a cc.
9a. She prints out one or more envelopes, and then stuffs the envelopes, seals them, sends them to the mail clerk
10b. The mail clerk runs them through the meter and then puts them into the mail box.
9b. Or instead of stuffing the envelope, my assistant scans it - requiring her to go the printer with the scan feature. Then she goes back to her station and either she emails the pdf to the client or emails it to me so that I can email it to the client, which eliminates the mail clerk, at least.

No wonder I'm so slow and expensive.

I am trying to jump almost all of these steps. By the time I go back and forth with the dictation and drafts, I can type out the letter. I just need to be able to retrieve the address of the addressee into my WordPerfect file and have that file already formatted in the right way. We were pretty much there when, two weeks ago, we had a network upgrade and lost a bunch of macros. But we'll get back there. I have been able to get to step 8 all by myself, which is the step where I give the secretary the draft ready for final.

I could get to step 9, where the letter is printed on bond, but despite everything, I have never been able to get the bond printer to take my letters. I end up getting so frustrated that, when I try, several people come running and take over printing out the letter on bond, just to cool me down, rather than calling a meeting and determining why in the world we can't get the bond printer to work for me.

So I would like to jump the bond printer issue and simply put my letter directly into the pdf file on something that looks like it had been originally printed on my expensive bond and then hand-scanned.

Here, then, are the steps:

1. I type the letter, using macros to format my page and automatically insert the inside address of the addressee, whose contact information is already in the data base.

2. I go on to some other work.

3. I come back to the letter, the draft having cooled a bit, and then redraft it on the screen.

4. I then email the letter to those who are to get it, without leaving my desk. Those who receive it think that it is my old engraved stationary that was hand-scanned. The pdf has a signature.

5. I save as many ccs of the letter as I need into the client's electronic file, into my electronic tickler system, wherever.

But I don't know how to do the fake hand-scan of the letter on my expensive stationary directly from my work station.

Can someone help me here?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

More on the UM-FIU Matter. This column by Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald pretty much sums it up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Deserving of its own post: Thug U
Alex writes: I'm looking for my favorite Miami Hurricanes fans to post something about the big brawl over the weekend. What, you think we care more about IJM stuff than we do about college football??

Paul responds: It's embarrassing. I am talking about the score, of course.

Macon quips: Yeah, only winning by 35 points is unacceptable. Thug U? Bring it on.

I caught the local (Charlotte, NC) sports radio show, where they ripped Coker, the team and the ACC. Regarding the latter, they pondered, as do I, how the ACC can promote sportsmanship in their cute promos during games and only hand out one-game suspensions, which for Miami players means not playing against Duke, who is now glad basketball season is here. The brawl was classless, tasteless and pathetic. Coker's and the school's response (to date) are equally shameful. If I had any inclination to root for Miami, I now have none.

BTW, If a similar event happened at South Carolina, Spurrier would kick the offenders off the team.

Bring it on, indeed.
Changes in Blogspot. A few weeks ago I got a message I didn't understand from Blogger, and Sean asked me to describe it, because he apparently didn't receive it. I couldn't describe it and I didn't know where to find it. Well, it popped up again, and here it is:

Changes to your blog

What's changing: We will be retiring the Blog*Spot Plus feature from Blogger on 30 October 2006.

Features of Blog*Spot Plus include FTP access, non-blog uploads and subdirectory creation. We have added a warning icon (Warning) to your Dashboard to indicate which of your blogs is a Plus blog. Click the icon to see this message again.
What this means for you: This will not affect your blog much.

We'll continue hosting all content you've uploaded to this point and you'll be able to update your blog with text and images, just like always. But, you will no longer be able to upload non-blog content or have FTP access to the content you've already uploaded.
What you can do: You have two options for future hosting.

Stick with blogspot hosting. This does not require any action on your part. All your old content will be exactly the same and you'll be able to update your blog and post images using

Move to an external hosting service. If you want to continue to upload non-image files and have FTP access to your blog content, you will need to obtain external hosting on your own before the Blog*Spot Plus feature is discontinued. We will send you an additional reminder closer to this date, too.

If you have any questions, please see our Blogger help article.

I still don't know what this m
Happy? Theodore Dalrymple reviews Artificial Happiness: The Dark Side of the New Happy Class, by Ronald W. Dworkin, in the September New Criterion. Dalrymple's first paragraph is as follows:

The word "unhappy" has almost been banished from our vocabulary. It has been replaced by the word "depressed". For every patient who confesses to unhappiness, a thousand now claim to be depressed. What was once considered to be an inescapable part of the human condition has been elevated (or is it reduced?), by a semantic change, to an illness. And since good health care is now regarded as a right, the corollary of unhappiness being an illness is that people believe themselves entitled not merely to the pursuit of happiness, but to the thing itself.

A couple of thoughts about this excellent, well written, well taken point.

As my Boomer peers and I move into the Medicare years, to what extent will our unhappiness issues clog health care system? We are the ones who especially see "happiness" as the entitlement that Dalrymple mentions. In my own practice, I have seen what it takes to care for "clinically depressed" people: a psychiatrist, a neurologist, a psychiatric nurse, a social worker, "companions", aides, lawyers, paralegals, etc. I certainly appreciate the fact that in aged people a dementia will sometimes occur, something that is organically related. But even in those cases, I often wonder whether a spiritual or social component (the same thing, Durkheim?) underlies the condition, is somehow the precicate for the organic failure or contributes to it in some way.

I am studying Galatians right now, and I this famous passage at 5:22 through 26 comes to mind:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Or this one at 5:1:

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery

In that passage, I see the "yoke of slavery" not being limited to the particular problem among the churches in Galatia - that is, the view that one must observe the Law to be a Christian. I see the "yoke of slavery" as any belief system that lays down a set of rules that must be followed to make one "blessed", that is "happy", that is "saved". For example, the "big firm" world of the lawyer and its formula for success: (a) A name law school; (b) a name firm in a name city, preferably New York, but there are others; (c) billable hours; (d) "originations", that is clients and more clients; and so on. You can name your own "systems" that impose the criteria for success and which enslave us, promising "happiniess" but delivering destruction to ourselves and our loved ones.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Firearm for Home Defense. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, being a libertarian, is on the correct side of a number of issues (but not all), including the Second Amendment. He links to this post at Confederate Yankee that discusses the right firearm for home defense. MORE: Article on the Mossberg HS 410 shotgun.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sharon Cohn's presentation at the recent Prebyterian Global Fellowship meeting, she of the International Justice Mission, can be found here (scroll down the page).
Finding the perfect digital camera. Carol and I have spent most of the weekend researching digital cameras, looking forward to our trip to Kenya. It started Friday night on the way home from work, when we stopped at a Target that just opened at the new Shops of Midtown Miami. It continued at home with hours on the internet yesterday. I am exhausted. Does anyone remember Instamatics? Life was simpler then.

We have a digital camera and have had it for four years. It does OK. Mary has a digital camera. I'm not sure why we need a new one, but there is blood in the water, so to speak. We've got the scent of buying something. There will be no stopping us.

We have narrowed (?) the field down to this: Something in the Canon Powershot A6XX series, such as the A620, A630, or A640; the Canon PowerShot A710; the Fuji Finepix F30; and the Fuji Finepix E900. But these are all pricey. Why not the Kodak Easyshare C330 or something similar? Does anyone have a suggestion?
The Fire Department is Standing By. I am reaching the half-way point in the construction of the K2. At this point one is to assemble the unit partially and then make some alignment and electrical checks. It requires plugging in the unit - powering it up. If everything is as it should be, then one disassembles the unit and continues to work on the main printed circuit board. With regard to the power-up, the instructions give this direction:

If you see or smell smoke when you turn the K2 on for the first time, turn the power off and disconnect the power supply immediately.

There is a technical phrase for this step. It's called "the smoke test".

Saturday, October 14, 2006

As to the title of the prior post, I refer, of course, to the poem by Rudyard Kipling:

The Female of the Species

WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other's tale—
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Female of the Species.
Babysitter kills bear.
(Thanks, Gun Defense Blog.)
Gator Basketball Begins Anew. The Gators have a new basketball floor in their arena. According to the Miami Herald, the new basketball court on which the Gators will play this season (starting tonight with Midnight Madness) is the same floor on which they won the National Championship last March. The Gators bought that floor from the NCAA for $70,000 and installed it over the summer. Is that not cool?
We Rest Our Case

This satellite image of the Korean peninsula, taken after 9PM when North Korea goes dark to save power, is more than telling. The photo appears in an article in the Daily Mail, and quote's Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's comment about the photo:

It says it all. There's the south, the same people as the north, the same resources north and south, and the big difference is in the south it's a free political system and a free economic system.

"The people in the north are starving, their growth is stunted. It's a shame, a tragedy"

ADDENDUM: Thanks to Drudge for pointing to this article. I would also add to Secretary Rumsfeld's list of operative differences (free political system and free economic system) the fact that the number of Christians in South Korea is beyond a certain tipping point that facilitates, even enables, such freedoms.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Last Best Hope

My friend Mat Hames has a documentary coming out about WWII resistence in Belgium - details below. For those of you in Austin, it will be screening at the Alamo Drafthouse on Sunday night. For those of you elsewhere, it will be on PBS on October 30th.

Last Best Hope will be showing at the Alamo Drafthouse downtown in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, October 15th. Tickets are going fast, and you can purchase tickets for $10 online at the Alamo Drafthouse website.
Last Best Hope is a riveting, intimate, yet little-known story about the Belgian Resistance in World War II. Accompany downed P-47 pilot Bill Grosvenor as he retraces his steps and reunites with the people of Belgium who chose to wage a secret war against Hitler through their efforts to harbor and repatriate Grosvenor and other Allied airmen who were stranded within their borders. After more than sixty years of silence, surviving Resistance fighters have come forward to share their stories for the benefit of current and future generations. The film explores the myriad motivations — ethical, spiritual, and ideological — that propel one stranger to help another, despite the risk to his or her own life and everything dear.

The film will also air nationally on PBS on October 30th. (Check local PBS listings)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Not into politics?
I know that there are K&K readers who make such aversions, but keep reading anyway. You might not be into politics, but I know you're into getting a paycheck and having a job. This means you're into taxes and the unemployment rate. (If you're not, you ought to be.)

Two editorials from the WSJ (not online free, so I'm transcribing them here from the dead-tree version) speak directly to these two issues. Listen up, especially if all you know about the economy is from Old Media.

Friday, October 6, 2006
"Tax Tidal Wave"
. . . the government will soon report that the federal budget deficit for the just-completed 2006 fiscal year fell to about $260 billion. . . . The main cause of the deficit decline . . . is a tidal wave of tax revenue. Tax collections have increased by $521 billion in the last two fiscal years, the largest two-year revenue increase -- even after adjusting for inflation -- in American history.

One place it has come from are corporations, whose tax collections have climbed by 76% over the past two years thanks to greater profitability. Personal income tax payments are up by 30.3% since 2004 too, despite the fact that the highest tax rate is down to 35% from 39.6%. The IRS tax-return data just released last month indicates that a near-record 37% of those income tax payments are received from the top 1% of earners -- "the rich," who are derided regularly in Washington [and the Media -- macon] for not paying their "fair share."

As for the budget deficit, at $260 billion it is now about 2% of our $13 trillion economy, well below the 2.7% average of the last 40 years. . . .
Monday, October 9, 2006
"The Worker Rally"
The Labor Department released its September jobs report on Friday. . . .[it reports] an upward revision of 810,000 previously undetected jobs that Labor now says were created in the U.S. economy in the 12 months through march 2006. . . . That's a lot more than a rounding error, more than the number of workers in the entire state of New Hampshire. What's going on here?

Our hypothesis has been that, due to the changing nature of the U.S. economy, the Labor Department's business establishment survey has been undercounting job creation from small business and self-employed entrepreneurs.

The news here is that the U.S. has a very tight labor market -- which is now translating into significant wage gains. Over the past 12 months wages have climbed by 4%, which is the biggest gain since 2001 and which economist Brian Wesbury points out is higher than the 3.3% average annual wage growth of the last 25 years.

This boom in employment started in August of 2003, roughly coincident with the economy's growth acceleration in the wake of the Bush Administration's 2003 tax cuts on dividends, capital gains and in the top marginal income rate on the highest earners. [Which also increased tax revenues! See above. -- macon] Yet on the same day that the Labor Department discovered 810,000 new jobs, Nancy Pelosi promised that if she becomes Madam Speaker next year, within 100 hours of taking the gavel the House will vote to repeal those tax cuts and raise the minimum wage. Never underestimate the ways that Washington politicians can do economic harm.
Feel free to bookmark this entry, and come back to it when you hear someone telling you that lowering taxes harms the country & tax revenues. It looks like it's just the opposite. Lower taxes and companies can do more, become more productive, higher more people, and have more income to be taxed. Also, raising the minimum wage, which perhaps ought to be considered a kind of increase in business taxes, is not the way to get more workers more money. The answer to increasing paychecks is to have a tight labor market, where workers are valued higher in the marketplace.

UPDATE: to note that the WSJ is not at all happy with the way the Bush Admin has grown the federal budget & other federal bureraucracy. They comment on it in the article but for brevity's sake, I redacted it. Their comments amounted to noting that Tax Revenues are up, jobs are up, the federal deficit % of overall economy is down, even though Republicans in general had grown the federal government by a record breaking amount.

UPDATE Part Deux: to add the appropriate caveats - I know this isn't a knock-down drag-out argument proving beyond a doubt the causal relationship between lowering taxes and raised tax revenues. But, it seems quite clear to me that the correlation is a powerful one.
Heroes: Episode Three. Nope. Didn't see it. As a noted TV critic told me over the phone from Austin the other day, "Lame". Friday Night Lights: Episode Two. See the critique for Episode One. Square it.
E-Mail Overload? Please. World Magazine's October 7, 2006, issue quotes "Dennis Fluegel, a retired senior project manager" as follows:

If Bill Gates invented the telephone and Alexander Graham Bell invented e-mail, we would all be saying, "You should get one of these telephones, you can actually talk to someone, hear what they are saying, and you don't have to use a keyboard."

My view, however, is that most of the time I am doing all I can to avoid talking to anyone. (It's a guy thing.) (Hence, the invention of email.)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Billy Clinton on Media Bias
from a quote from the article: "There is an expectation among Democrats that establishment old media organizations are de facto allies." Hard to argue with it when that's the opionion of Frmr. Pres. Clinton.
And more on the NYT here.
For Sale.
Smiling Faces
I'm seeing 'em in Charleston, SC this weekend.

'cause that's how I roll.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wayne Burdick. Wayne is the creative mind behind Elecraft, the company that produces the K2 kit, which kit brings joy to my life in those rare moments during the week when I can pick up the soldering iron and go to work on it. If I had a half dozen more lives to live, one of them would be like Wayne's. He wrote a short article for Electronic Design magazine about what he does and why he does it. As I read it, I was reminded of the folks at Amplifier and Despair.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Friday Night Lights. First Episode. Every football cliche, every high school stereotype, elegantly assembled with compelling actors and good writing. All right!

More on this: Are head coaches so focused on the first string that they have no idea about their backups? Maybe this sort of thing happens in high school. You have no idea of a young person's potential, until he or she is cast into a crisis with which they simply must contend. As I think about this element of the show, I am led to consider the extent of human potential, and with regard to a given person, how we tend to under-rate it in most cases. So maybe this part of the story has some credibility and usefulness.

What about the Christianity in the story? I thought it was handled rather well for something out of MSM. When it came up, I started to cringe, but then relaxed when I saw how the dialog went. Maybe the writers are setting us up, however. (Call that Evangelical Paranoia.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Heroes, Second Show. I object to the gruesome corpses. I don't think I've seen anything like that on TV before. With TiVo and its ilk, there is no such thing as putting such "adult" material safely on after the kids go to bed. It made me think of the meticulously mounted travesty, Sin City, that also drew its inspiration from the graphic novel/comic book genre. (I did/could not sit all the way through that one.)

What is really disturbing about the corpses is that none of the characters seems to be particularly disturbed by them. "Oh", thinks one of the lead characters, slightly crinkling her pretty nose, "A corpse in the trunk of this classic, red convertible Cadillac, to which Cadillac I have been given mysteriously a set of keys. Oh well. I'll just close the trunk back up, put my little boy in the back seat, and then drive to wherever this bloody map I found on the corpse tells me to go." (Oh, I get it. This lady is a blond. This is a blond joke! How could I have missed that the first time?)

I guess that, with all the bending of the space-time continuum that is surely to follow, we will get explanations for all these corpses and red Cadillacs. Maybe the heroes will go back in time and keep the bad guys from killing all those people so there won't be, after all, these gruesome corpses. I guess that makes it all right: the corpses really didn't happen. But somehow the images live on in my brain. I can't go back and not watch this episode.

The space-time continuum bending makes you think. I have to give them that. Is that the way God does it? He let's our free will reign for a period time, then He runs the film back and tweaks this or that, so that when our free will restarts back at the point where the film was run back, we will make a new decision that advances the Kingdom? If we don't make that new decision correctly, He just keeps running things back, like Groundhog Day, until we get it right. That surely makes life meaningless and dishonest. I don't think I like that God. I feel, well, manipulated. So, instead of God, we have this elite bunch of "heroes" who manipulate us. That's not too satisfying, but it is entirely consistent with the medium.
A.L.A.R.M. Sue pointed me to the website for the African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries, an organization founded by a Rawandan minister whose family was killed in the troubles that country had in the 1990s. I have not thoroughly explored the site, but intend to do so. It is beautifully mounted, and has a great map of Africa. Sue met the founder several years ago at DTS.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New Post from Mary. She had a busy wikendi!
Sunday Morning.

Sean has a neat link to the history of the Middle-East in maps.

In the "Walter-is-surely-Carol's-son-department", we went to see Little Miss Sunshine at the Shoppes at Sunset last night, and I have never heard Carol laugh so much at a movie.

Browsed at Borders before the movie. Lots of new books attacking in one way or another the Bush administration and our foreign policy: one sign among many that the country is healthy.

Spoke to Mary yesterday, using the cheap phone card approach. She took some of the students and went on a service project picking up trash along roads beyond the school. Keeping in line with the customs there (in the country, not so much the school), she wore a skirt. Last weekend I picked up two books at the library to read, in preparation for our trip to Kenya: Robert B. Edgerton, Mau Mau an African Crucible and Elizabeth Isichei, A History of Christianity in Africa From Antiquity to the Present. I browsed a bit in these yesterday, and neither is very friendly to AIM or the missionary enterprise. The author of School in the Clouds refers to these and other titles in his footnotes, and I have used his references as a bibliography for further reading.

Finished the second of the three PC ("printed circuit") boards of the Elecraft K2 yesterday, so I am back into that project, after taking the summer off. The first board was the Control Board. The second one, the one I just finished, is the Front Panel board. The third one is the largest and most complicated, the RF Board, here and here. I should be able to start on the third board today, after checking the resistance values at various points on the second board to be sure I did everything right.

Did someone else see the announcement by Blogger that they will be seriously reducing the functionalit of their blog? I didn't understand it, but I'm concerned.

The weather has turned relatively cool and less humid. Welcome, Fall!!