Friday, December 28, 2012

Your Taxes are going up in 2013 regardless of the Fiscal Cliff

At some point, the House of Cards will fall apart. 

America has been operating without a budget since 2011. During that year, the Congress, Senate, and President tried to negotiate a budget, but continually failed because President Obama and the Treasury Department wanted to raise the debt ceiling (Fear Not: the Federal Government has shutdown before and Social Security checks kept flowing). By August 2011, an agreement was reached. The debt ceiling was allowed to be raised to $16.3 trillion, and a "Super Committee" was formed to to address fiscal reform. In the event that the committee failed to agree on a solution, mandatory budget cuts in 2013 would take effect as a safeguard to our economy.

The Super Committee talks collapsed after a short while, and the economy has been running on auto pilot since then.

Now we are approaching the beginning of 2013 and the 2011 budget cuts, now called the Fiscal Cliff, are scheduled to go into effect. Although Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and other economists were concerned that these cuts would trigger a new recession, our elected lawmakers have again failed to resolve this critical issue. President Obama's solution is to raise taxes on those individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and has requested the authority to increase the debt ceiling at his discretion, with an unlimited topside amount. Republicans in the House of Representatives do not want to raise taxes on anyone. And, conservatives want to limit entitlement spending.

In an attempt to bully the Republican Congressmen, the Democratic leadership has led a campaign against the Republicans, convincing the American public that it is the Republican Party who is responsible for failing to resolve the budget issue.

To complicate matters, the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, warned that the U.S. budget ceiling would be reached on December 30th, 2012, just two days before the mandatory budget cuts are implemented. 

Needless to say, the Democrats are beginning to panic at the thought of being constrained by the required budget. This is why President Obama cut his Hawaiian Vacation short and returned to Washington DC yesterday. 

Mr. Obama had campaigned on raising the taxes on the rich. He carefully avoided informing the public that new ObamaCare taxes on all income earning Americans, regardless of income level, would also become effective in the beginning of 2013.

This means that everyone who generates income will be paying more in taxes beginning 2013. The only question is how much more will be paid. If the legislature fails to avert the "fiscal cliff", the Obama give-away program begin to come to an end while all those who are still working will help to reduce the national debt.

If a new budget agreement is reached, current taxpayers will begin to pay these new taxes in 2013 due to ObamaCare:
  • Medical-device excise tax 2.3%, paid by elderly, sick, injured, needy
  • Limited Flexible Spending Accounts (30 million working Americans) tax deductions for health care costs will be capped at $2,500 rather than unlimited
  • Tax deduction for medical expenses exceeding 10% of annual income (up from 7.5 %)
  • Increase in Medicare tax from 1.45% to 2.35%
  • Tax increase of 3.8% on investment income for those earning $250,000 or more. Capital gains increase from 15% to 20%. Dividends tax rises from 15 to 39.6%. Plus, with ObamaCare, capital gains tax rate raised to 23.8% and dividends raised to 43.4%.
  • Employer Payroll tax increase

However, if we do go over the fiscal cliff, all working taxpayers will be subjected to these additional taxes as well (see What falling ...)
  • Income of $20,000 to $30,000: $1,064 average tax increase
  • Income of $40,000 to $50,000: $1,729 average tax increase
  • Income of $50,000 to $75,000: $2,399 average tax increase
  • Income of $75,000 to $100,000: $3,688 average tax increase
  • Income of $100,000 to $200,000: $6,662 average tax increase
  • Income of $200,000 to $500,000: $14,643 average tax increase
  • Income of $500,000 to $1 million: $38,969 average tax increase
  • Income of more than $1 million: $254,637 average tax increase

So, in summary, our legislative and executive body struck a budget agreement in 2011 which will now become effective in 2013. Taxes are going up on everyone whether we go over the fiscal cliff or not. This goes beyond a Republican verses Democrat debate. The budget ceiling is reached and now the future is here for our President and congressional leaders to begin spending in a rational and responsible manner. The House of Cards is about to fall apart, but the only question is when it will collapse: Now or Later? 

Sources: ObamaCare Taxes

Sources: Fiscal Cliff


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas. Christ is Born!

Two thousand twelve years ago, our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born in a manger in Bethlehem. Since that time, we have celebrated his birth. Originally religiously, we now remember this miraculous event in grandiose fashion. Christmas! A day of giving! A day symbolized by Santa Clause, Christmas trees, outdoor lighting, caroling, and feasting.

It is also a day for us to remember our lost ones. Jesus was born to die for our sins.

Even in black times, our spirits turn back to this marvelous event. A child is born. A child who will change the world. A child who will later die for us. A child who will receive our souls and give us eternal life in a spiritual world.

With hope of life, this young innocent child protects our spirit, and oversees our daily lives. He's there for us whenever we need him. He is there when we are born. He is there when we die.

So as we celebrate this holiday season, preparing our gifts for Christmas day, its time to remember the meaning of Christmas.

This has been a difficult year for many Americans. Natural disasters and human carnage have tested our faith. Many have lost their physical possessions. And, many have lost their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and children.

But time marches on, and God is still with us. While we cannot understand the reasoning, our faith must remain strong.

We look to new life as the world will soon celebrate the birth of our Christ and renews our faith that God is still there.

Yes, Christ is born. Glorify him!

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas to Hostway, the best web hosting company in America

Everyone takes IT for granted. They expect their computers to be running 100% of the time. Rarely, if ever, does anyone contact their support staff just to say "Thanks".

So, as this Holiday Season draws to a close, it is time to for to wish its web hosting company, Hostway, and its staff: "a Very Merry Christmas" and to say "Thank-you" for your continuous services and your committment to excellence.

Hostway Logo

The Lottery Power Picks Story
Seven years ago, I was developing my website and I planned to launch it during the summer of 2006. Since most of the programming was done on my personal PC, I needed to select a web hosting company to bring this to life.

Although I am an experienced programmer, I had never developed a website. I did not have a budget and did not want to spend a lot of money on this venture. After all, I was not sure if my new site would be a success or not.

The choices of web hosting companies was daunting. My search efforts seemed to always produce the same list of providers. I found that I would need to spend $5 to $50 per month for hosting. The cheaper sites had limits on the number of pages or files I could create and the amount of disk space I could use. Many hosts had a promotional price structure during the first year which would then increase. As I continued my search, I learned that most of the references that ranked web hosting services were only promoting affiliate advertisers. They did not care which of the companies I selected because they would earn a commission on all of them.

I felt somewhat lost. But then I found Hostway!

Hostway was not listed on most of the websites, but it seemed to offer everything that I needed. At the time, they offered a "Super Power Plan". For approximately $150 per year, I could have 150 GB of disk space, email, 25,000 files, unlimited data transfer, PHP, MySQL, Perl, ftp and ssh access, and much more. If my site required more services in the future, I could incrementally purchase what I needed.

So in August 2006, it was time for me to make a final committment. I called Hostway and the person who helped me calmed all my fears. I'll never forget that when I selected my site name, they told me I was lucky, was now mine!

Hostway set up the site and I uploaded all my files. Within a day, my site was on the web. They submitted my site's url to the various search engines and soon web surfers were able to find me.

During the past 6 1/2 years that the site has been live, the up-time has been nearly 100%. I have never run out of disk space and the site is always accessable.  Increadibly, they have never raised their fees and I still pay the same $150 per year. In return, I have 24/7 support and the ability to grow my site at will. 

Hostway Staff
I have only needed to contact Hostway a few times.  What impresses me most is that whenever I have a question or problem, I speak to the same people. Their staff has relatively little turnover and is therefore highly skilled and experienced. They are familiar with the company and their services which makes it easy to resolve most problems within a very short time.

Personal Example 
Last winter, two things happened almost at once. First, Mr. John Martis was named President of Hostway. One of the first things he did was to send all of the customers an email introducing himself and asking us for company feedback. He said that he was always available to answer our questions or provide us with help.

Second, I found that my site lost certain functionality within days after his email. Once I restored my website's functionality, I wrote to Mr. Martis and described the problem I experienced. The very next day, I received a telephone call from a second level support person who explained the cause of my problem and its resolution. I was also given his direct support number for future reference. Since that time, I have never had a problem again.

Testimonial Summary
What impresses me most about Hostway is their people. They are very friendly and are always available. They always follow through with all communication and they make their customers feel important. As I told Mr. Martis, I am only one of thousands of customers, and I only pay a relatively small amount for their services. But Mr. Martis's response to my problem and the follow through with his staff illustrated their commitment to their product and dedication to all of their customers.

In summary, Hostway has been an integral partner of For the past 6.5 years, they have hosted my website and insured that it is available every single day, 24 hours per day. I could not imagine what I would do without them. Their equipment is up to date and their staff second to none. I consider myself lucky to have found them and hope they will continue to be there in all the years to come!

Thank-you Hostway!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Lottery Power Picks Logo

John Lottery

Friday, November 30, 2012

Why every blog should have a "Search Box" widget

A couple of months ago, I was deciding whether I should add a "You may also like - Related Posts" widget to my blogs. I remembered that several other blogs that I visited had added LinkWithin a year or more ago and had written blog posts about their experiences. So, I visited them and used their "Search" widget to look for posts about this topic.

However, I was quite surprised that a few did not have a search capability. I did not want to waste my time reading through their posts or traversing their blog archives, so I just gave up on those and went on to the next blogs.

The reason this surprised me was that the blogs that did not have this functionality were all Blogger blogs. Blogger make it really easy for us authors to add various widgets to our sidebars. One of the widgets offered is the "Search Box", which "Lets visitors search hour blog, blogroll, and everything else you've linked to".

While this functionality may not seem important to individual blog authors, it can be an extremely important tool for your visitors.

Think about it. If a reader returns to your blog with the intention of finding a previously published article, he can find it quickly with this tool.

If the Search functionality is not there, the reader will leave, almost immediately.

What this means to the author of a blog is that a valuable reader was lost. Rather than spending time on your blog, that person just went somewhere else for information. Further, that visitor may be less inclined to return to your blog in the future.

In order to grow your readership and followers, it is important for you to think about your visitors. You must organize your blog and offer those tools that a reader may use.

Remember, blogging is not only about writing your opinions and experiences, but it is also about building a set of followers who are eager to return to your site and use your information as reference.

If your blog is hosted on Blogger, you can add this widget easily. Just go to your blog, and click on the "Layout" choice. Then, press the "Add a Gadget" link. You will be presented with a list widgets to add. Just look for the one titled "Search Box" and press the plus button. That's it!

Friday, November 16, 2012

How We Celebrate Our Thanksgiving Dinner

Instead of just wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving this year, we thought that we would do something different and tell you about how we celebrate the holiday in our household.

Most of our family lives in Pennsylvania which means that someone has to travel. But having a family with children, we believe that it is important to enjoy at least one holiday at home. For us, it is Thanksgiving. There is nothing better than to start the holiday season by entertaining our family and treating them to a home cooked traditional turkey meal.

The day begins around 6 AM when we awake and prepare a fresh pot of coffee. After drinking our first cup, we begin the preparation. First on our agenda is to prepare the turkey. This is quite simple. We take the turkey out of the refrigerator, remove the packing inside of it, and wash it thoroughly in lukewarm water. Then, we pat it down and dry it with paper towels. While the oven is preheating, we melt some butter and place the turkey inside a large roasting pan with the breast side up. We baste it with butter and add a few pats under the wings and thighs. It is salted and peppered, then loosely covered with aluminum foil. By 7 AM it is in the oven.

Next, we peel a bag of white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rutabagas which are boiled separately on the stove.

Onions and celery are diced and mixed into a stuffing mix along with butter and eggs. The stuffing is formed into individual serving sized round balls and placed in its own baking dish. This too is covered with foil.

We will then fry some bacon until it is very crisp. We remove the grease and let it cool on paper towels. Later, it is mixed in with Brussels sprouts and cooked on the stove.

Now, we perform our first round of clean up. All the pots, pans, dishes, and knives are washed, dried, and put away.

When all the potatoes and rutabagas are done, they are mashed and placed into 3 heat resistant serving bowls. These set aside in the refrigerator until an hour before serving.

A fresh garden salad it tossed and placed in a bowl. Just before serving we add the dressing (usually oil and vinegar).

By now, it is 10 AM or so, and most of the meal is ready. We once again clean up the dishes and then tend to ourselves. Each of us takes a shower and get dressed for our company. While we are waiting, we will set the dining room table.

At 11 AM our family will arrive from their 2 hour journey. My Mother and Father in Law, my wife's sister and brother will be there. Altogether, we will host 7 more adults, bringing the dinner total to 10 hungry people. Along with them will be desert, a home baked pumpkin pie and an apple pie.

The turkey will be cooked by 1:30 PM, so we will have time to relax and visit.  Since the house will be consumed with the aroma of a fresh baking turkey, everyone will be in a festive mood.We will drink a round of Bloody Mary's, and then some wine and beer. 

When the turkey is done cooking, the ladies will heat the potatoes, stuffing, and vegetables; and I will carve the turkey.

Champagne will be served as we sit at the table. We start the meal by saying a prayer and by remembering all those who have passed away. A toast will be given and we will begin to eat our salad. By 2:30, all the dishes will be heated and placed on the table. The main feast will begin.

Since everyone will be staying overnight, we will be in no hurry. We will take our time and some will eat seconds. We will be at the table for at least two hours.  When we are finished, the men will go downstairs and watch football (or take a nap). The women will clean up.

Sometime after 6 PM, we will meet at the table again to eat our desert. We'll have some coffee and tea, and perhaps a little Sambuca.

After that, we'll just sit around until we fall asleep for the night! We'll all be too full to eat anymore. 

So, from our house to yours, 
we hope that your Thanksgiving Day 
is as enjoyable as ours
We Wish You All
A Very Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Changing (or Fixing) Publish Date of Blogger Posts to put posts in right order in both Blogger and Feedburner

Are your blog posts out of order because you edited an old post? If so, this article explains how to reset the publish time so that your posts will be displayed in the correct chronological order.

I often edit previous Blogger posts in order to add more information or fix spelling and grammatical errors.  Usually, this is not a problem. I simply select the blog post that I wish to alter, make the changes and then press the orange "Update" button at the top of the page. The post is immediately updated in both Blogger and Feedburner.

However, when I edited a 4 day old post yesterday, it was published with the current time and became the first (most recent) entry in my blog. This was quite a surprise for me because the post title contained the date 11/03/12 and it appeared in the blog before 11/07/12. For me, having posts displayed in a chronological order is important.

Usually when a post is edited, the original post date is maintained but the edit date is updated. Since this information is contained in the Feedburner XML Source, I looked to see what dates were included. For the post in question, I noticed that the published, updated and edited times were all changed to yesterday's date, thus making it the most recently published.

I did not know if this was a Blogger or Feedburner bug because my action began in Blogger and was visible in Feedburner.

After doing a few Google searches, I found that others experienced this same problem as far back as 2009.  This surprised me because I had never experienced it.

Luckily, I discovered a thread in the Google Product Forums for Blogger which described how to fix this problem.

The Solution
The remedy for changing a post's publish date is relatively easy. Simply:
  • edit the post which is out of order,
  • click the "Published on" link in the Post settings toolbar on the right of the Blogger screen (#1)
  • make sure the "Set date and time" toggle is checked
  • click on the calendar day that you wish to be set
  • enter the time that you want the post published
  • press the "Done" button (#2)
  • press the "Update" button next to the post's title. (#3)
Once this is completed, the post will be republished with the date you want and the post will be automatically positioned in the correct chronological order in both Blogger and Feedburner!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Why I chose nRelate instead of Outbrain or LinkWithin

Providing internal links to you blog's other postings helps to engage readership by directing visitors to related content within your blog. This articles explains why I chose nRelate to increase page views and visitor duration time on my blogs.

Early last month (October), I was reading Dave Lucas's blog article EntreCard Effect and noticed that he had mentioned that his traffic tripled since EntreCard closed. Dave attributed this growth to LinkWithin and Outbrain. As I was not familiar with either of these, I performed a Google search and found another post by Dave (Righthaven DMCA LinkWithin) where he welcomed LinkWithin back on his blog.

At this point, I visited both the Outbrain and LinkWithin websites and learned that these were 3rd party widgets that can be added to your blog and will display the pretty "You might also like" references the bottom of each post.  I then remembered reading about this topic a while ago on Sharkbytes's My Quality Day. So I checked her blog and Dickster's Random Thoughts and found that both of these were displaying the related articles as well.

So, in my haste, I registered with Outbrain and added the widget to my 4 blogs. Within a short time, these were displaying my own related links. However, many of my early blog posts did not contain pictures, so Outbrain often presented this content simply as a list of links.

When I compared this to the blogs above, I saw that the also had nice little pictures along with the title of the blog post.  Then, I realized that everyone else was using LinkWithin and not Outbrain.

Outbrain & LinkWithin
Unsure which was better, I decided to remove Outbrain from 2 blogs and replace it with LinkWithin. At first, I was happy with the results, but I wanted to display 4 links on one blog rather than 3. In order to do this, I had to re-install the widget again. However, after I did this, I found that both blogs now had 4 related article links. This meant that all would have either 3 or 4 articles. I settled on the four of them.

I waited 1 month and then checked my Webmaster and Analytics statistics. Neither of these showed an increase in traffic. While the actual visitor traffic remained constant, the appearance in Google Search results decreased substantially.

Further, I found that Outbrain had less images than LinkWithin, so I liked LinkWithin better. But, LinkWithin was redirecting my traffic back to their site, which I did not like.

Thus, I decided to see if there was an alternative to these two, and found the blog article: Switch from LinkWithin to nRelate which described the pros and cons of LinkWithin and nRelate.

Figuring that I was still experimenting, I decided to remove the Outbrain and LinkWithin widgets and replace them with nRelate.

Almost immediately, I found that nRelate was a better solution for my 4 blogs.
  • First, I was able to custom tailor the layout of each widget according to the space available on my blogs (3 blogs display 4 results, and 1 blog displays 5).
  • Second, I was able to change the size of the graphic images being displayed. 
  • Third, nRelate displays "stock" icons on those posts that do not contain their own graphics (so there is always an image).
  • Fourth, I have the ability to display paid ads to generate income payable to Paypal (however, Outbrain also lets you display paid ads). 
  • And fifth, the "related posts" being displayed were relevant to the current post. This means that if someone is reading an Entrecard post, they will see other related Entrecard articles of mine as well.  However, the drawback here is that the initial indexing of the blog can take up to 2 hours before the "You may also like -" results appear.
It is still too early for me to see if the nRelate widget is actually boosting my traffic, but I can already see an increase in page views and visitor duration time now that I am using nRelate.

Lastly, I like the fact that I can choose to display paid ads in these widgets. This provides an opportunity to increase income without having to do any more work.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Cure for Entrecard Withdrawl

Who said: "There ain't no cure for the Entrecard Blues"?

Two days ago, I was visiting a few of my favorite blogs and catching up with the authors. As I read Some Assembly Required's Day 1015 post, I was surprised to learn that Entrecard has decided to call it quits. The site is gone. 

Wanting to learn more, I did a quick Google seach and found 4 posts confirming this:
I was surprised that there were not more posts.

My Entrecard Experience
Like other neophyte bloggers, I was trying to attract traffic. I discovered Entrecard and joined the network around the summer of 2008. For nearly two years, I tried to remain active. I dropped on many blogs, trying to hit the 300 a day level. I posted articles about my top droppers and worte posts about Entrecard. I participated in the Entrecard Market and sold "Blog Roll entries" for EC credits.

However, my tenure with Entrecard was shortlived. When I learned that Entrecard began promoting EC currency Online Blackjack, I realized that remaining part of the network could jeopordize my struggling blogging career. Fearing that Google would remove my Blogger blogs and ban me from Adsense, I quickly removed all Entrecard widgets and ceased being a member. That was in March 2010.

At the time, I was lucky because other networks were available. I quickly became more involved in Adgitize and CMF Ads and enjoyed the interaction with the site owners and many of the fellow blogging members there.

Unfortunately, both of those networks closed by the end of 2011.

Growing My Blogs
Since I was not going back to Entrecard, I decided to devote my efforts to the growth of my website and my blogs. Now after 9 months, I believe that I have acheived some modest success.

Site Daily Visitors
(last month)
Highest Daily
Visitor Count
Repeat Visitors
Ask the Blogster7-16 209 10.2%
Lottery Power Picks News 23-728 728 7.78%
John Lottery's Bimonthly22-47 2,470 12.37%
The Traveling Fundraiser0-62 62 25.75%
Lottery Power Picks Website 1,601-2,101 8,137 93.0%

What I learned is that timely content drives the visitors. For example,
  • although my lottery blogs and website do not generate large numbers of daily visitors, when the Mega Millions jackpot reached the $600 million level, everyone was interested in searching for information about Mega Millions. Having previously written a variety of blog posts and creating analytic tools, my sites provided the people with the information they were looking for.
  • The Traveling Fundraiser provides a summary of President Obama's weekly schedule. Since this information is available on most of the large blogs, few people visit my site. But, when I wrote about the Jay-Z champagne tower last week, I was only one of the few with pictures of this. My traffic shot up to 209 visitors in one day.
  • Similarily, certain Ask the Blogster posts increased bursts of short term traffic (Steve Jobs, the Government shutdown for two).
While much of my visitor count is relatively low, I am thrilled with their performances because all traffic is organic, and none of it is derived from paid search or clicking networks.

My Advice - Stay Focused and Timely
Regardless of the type of blog you write, my advice for maintaining and growing your visitor base is to write posts that deal with current topics. For example, popular posts on Dave Lucas blog include: Kate Middleton Topless, Beyonce, Wang Jiayun, etc.  These receive a large number of pageviews. 

Many of you write personal diary type blogs. On the surface, these may not attract a broad range of visitors. However, if you can tie in current topics (sports, spring flowers, politics) that are in top searchs, you will occasionally receive a boost in traffic. When that happens, your exposure will be broadened and your visitor base will expand.

Don't Give Up
Although not having consistant daily visitor counts, do not give up. Writing on a regular schedule without a large visitor base can be frustrating, but you will eventually succeed. It takes time to find the right formula that works for your blog, but when a post attracts a large number of readers, you will feel overjoyed and your enthusium will be envigorated.

Keep visiting the blogs that you have enjoyed.  Although I do not visit on a daily basis, I love to read:
Unfortunately, I rarely leave comments, so the authors do not know that I visit. And likewise, I do not know if those authors visit any of my sites. However, I visit because I enjoy their articles and not because I expect their return traffic.  As I become more comfortable in the blogging world, I realize that daily traffic is not as important as having valuable content.


JL .............

Friday, September 7, 2012

Aldon Hynes is running for the 114th Assembly District of the Connecticut General Assembly

I was thrilled to read that our friend and blogging associate, Aldon Hynes, has decided to seek public office and has accepted the Democratic nomination to run for the 114th District seat of the Connecticut General Assembly.

Most of us know Aldon through our blogging networks as the author of the Orient Lodge, a blog about politics, technology, social issues, and family.  During the past 3 or more years, I have enjoyed visiting his site and reading of his life experiences and beliefs.

While I do not always agree with his political viewpoint, I respect Aldon's thoughts and truthfulness. I know his opinions are honorable and well meaning. He is compassionate and is a dedicated family man. Plus, Aldon is a long time Connecticut resident who cares about his community.

Aldon is an intelligent individual with a broad range of skills and experiences. He has worked on Wall Street and is very analytical. He has also worked as a professional blogger covering important stories in Connecticut.  During the past year or two, he has been the Social Media Manager of the Community Health Center in Woodbridge CT.  He is one of the few people who possess both the literary and quantitative skills that would be important in performing the duties of a Connecticut Legislator.

For these reasons, I strongly endorse Aldon Hynes's candidacy and would recommend that he receives your vote.

Although Aldon is a Democrat, I would cross party lines and and cast my vote for him in this coming election.  Unfortunately, I do not live in his state or district, but I am wishing him well. If you watch the his nomination in the video below, you will understand why Aldon is running and why he would be perfect for the job.

Aldon believes that:

 "If you don’t like something,
don’t just try to block everyone else,
come up with better ideas".

Becoming a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives is not easy. The candidates must campaign endlessly throughout their district, meeting the voters and listening to their opinions.  Since I know that Aldon is sincere in representing his community and dedicated to the improvement of his State's government, he will campaign tirelessly.

Aldon Hynes is challenging a seven-term Republican incumbent. Since the State leans toward the Democratic side, and because the House is composed of 99 Democrats and 52 Republicans, Aldon may have a good chance of winning this November. But, he needs your vote.

Once elected, the members of the House of Representatives do not receive much compensation. However, they must work tirelessly, meeting amongst themselves and their constituency. They must give thought to proposed legislation and cast their votes in an unbiased manner.

I believe that Aldon would be a superb addition to the political landscape. He would make a terrific legislator and he will not let you down.

So, if you live in his Connecticut district, I would urge you to vote for Aldon Hynes and give him a chance. He will proudly represent you.

You can learn more about Aldon Hynes and the Connecticut Legislature by reading:

Good Luck my Friend - I Hope You Win!
Note: This is not a political ad, just an endorsement of a friend.

JL ............

Friday, August 31, 2012

Google retires iGoogle on November 1, 2013 - here's an alternate suggestion.

As most are now aware, Google began posting a "iGoogle will not be available after November 1, 2103" message on our iGoogle homepages.

To many of us, this was quite a shock because we believe that having a customizable browser home page is one important feature that allows all of us to express our own individuality. iGoogle gave us the ability to change the background images based on our own criteria, whether it be the seasons, our mood, our interests, or whims.

iGoogle also gave us the ability to add little "Gadgets" to our home page. Thus, when we start our browsing session, we can immediately get a quick summary of those items that interest us most, such as: the weather, our horoscope, various news feeds, sporting results, lottery results, calculators, etc. The layout of our page was up to us and it could be as simple or complex as we wished.

iGoogle was a wonderful tool that provided all this information without having to click on anything. If we wanted to learn more, we could follow our links of interest with one simple keystroke.  Google hosted our layout information, bringing everything together as if by magic.

In it's "What's happening to iGoogle" explanation, Google tells us that "the need for something like iGoogle has eroded over time", and thus they will be retiring this important asset.  But, where ever I look in my office, I always see iGoogle homepages on co-workers computers.

So, my thinking is that there is more behind Google's decision to retire iGoogle.

Currently, iGoogle works on all available browsers: Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Sea Monkey, Chrome, etc. 

But, Chrome is Google's proprietary browser, and they are aggressively pushing it presence. 

Now, as a replacement for the iGoogle functionality, Google suggests that we utilize Chrome. Within that framework, we can add "productivity tools" which are available in it's "Chrome Web Store".

This solution has two drawbacks:
  • First, applications added to Chrome from the Chrome Web Store simply add "short-cut" icons on the new Tab page. If one one wishes to see the contents of that application, they must then click on the icon. Thus, the "at a glance" and "one-click" functionality is gone.
  • Second, most iGoogle gadgets are not yet readily available in the Chrome Web Store. Gadget developers must now repackage their gadgets before adding them to the Store. But before they can do this, they must pay a one time fee to Google.
My thought is that Google is trying to be more like Apple. Since most Apple products only work on Apple hardware, Google appears to be trying to monopolize its own products. By retiring iGoogle and forcing users to utilize replacement applications that are only available on Chrome, Google is casting a tightly knit net around it's products.

I do not have a problem with this intention. But, I disagree with the proposed solution.

I believe that if Google's goal is to provide a self contained environment, then a better option for the iGoogle users of the world would be to announce that "iGoogle would only be available on Chrome beginning November 1, 2013". By doing this, all of us users could continue to have and enjoy the same iGoogle functionality, meaning immediate access to a broad range of information as we currently enjoy.

Further, Google could request that all Gadget developers pay the one time fee for providing the distribution service. I, for one, would do this. Those who do not pay the fee would lose the distribution of its gadgets.

Certainly, stating that iGoogle would only be available on Chrome would be a blatant statement to the marketplace. However, having the choice to either switch browsers or lose functionality would be in the hands of the end-user population, not Google's. People do not get mad at themselves. So, by having this choice, everyone would be happy. Users could continue to access iGoogle and their favorite gadgets, and Google would have a self-contained environment and a captured audience.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Don't be afraid of a colonoscopy. Maybe my experience can put your mind at ease.

Two weeks ago, I had my first Colonoscopy. I should have had this performed years earlier, but I was too afraid of the procedure. Truthfully, I imagined great pain and was worried about the anesthesia. And what if they found something? I was sure that this was going to be the worst experience of my life.

But I was wrong. There was absolutely no pain and I was asleep during the entire procedure. Plus, the examination found nothing. No polyps or anything else.

I was afraid for no reason - except for fear itself.

The doctor recommended that I return in another 5 years. Since that is quite a while away, I know deep down that I will try to scare myself once again. So, I am documenting my colonoscopy experience for my future reference and to remind myself that there is nothing to be afraid of.

And perhaps that by reading about my experience, you will feel more comfortable with scheduling your own procedure.

My wife has been urging me to have a colonoscopy for several years. A good friend of ours died because he had colon cancer that was undetected until it was too late. He never had an examination and refused to believe that anything like that would happen to him. After his death, most of his closest friends took action and underwent this procedure. The only holdout was me. I was too afraid.

Finally last spring, I promised that I would get examined. But, I kept putting calling a doctor. Then one day in early June, I called a specialist and scheduled an appointment - three weeks later.  I still had time to chicken out.

However, I kept the appointment. First I was screened by a nurse. After taking my blood pressure, she told me that it was high (150+). Great I thought, now I have this to worry about. A little later, I met with the Doctor who asked about my medical history and explained the procedure. Then he lead me to a "scheduler". She checked my insurance and said that I would have to go to the hospital because it was my approved facility. She asked if I would like to have this preformed within the next week? "No I thought to myself". So, we agreed on a date 5 weeks away. At least I was safe for a while.

The Preparation
The next 4 weeks passed quickly and I tried to ignore my upcoming procedure. But, I had to pick up a prescription for a cocktail mixture that would clean out my system. The Saturday before, I visited the pharmacy and they gave me a huge plastic container partially filled with powder. Since my procedure was scheduled for Friday, the pharmacist instructed me to fill the container with water and pour one of the flavor packs into the mixture. He suggested lemon/lime and that is what I used.

So on Wednesday night, I followed his instructions. I placed the container in the refrigerator and went to bed. At 2:00 PM on Thursday afternoon, I had to begin drinking a glass of the solution. One glass every half hour until it was all gone. With 64 ounces of liquid, I wasn't finished until 9:30 at night. In between, I kept running to the bathroom.  The solution was not as bad as friends had said. It was a bit salty but it had a lemon taste (I chugged it).

The Procedure.
The colonoscopy was scheduled at 1:00 PM on Friday. My wife took me to the hospital at 11:30 AM. After filling out paperwork, I was escorted to a holding area. I was told to undress, put a gown on, and lay down on a stretcher type bed. Then, a nurse took an EKG.

Ever since I entered the hospital, I could feel my heart racing. I wanted to run out and forget the whole thing. But, I didn't.

I imagined that the results of the EKG would indicate I was having a heart attack. Then what I wondered? Shortly thereafter, I found out. Another patient next to me was informed that he was being rushed to Intensive Care rather than have a colonoscopy. He had a problem with his heart.

Through this, the nurses said that my EKG was normal and not to worry. They then hooked up an IV that entered a vein on my hand. As I laid there, other patients were rolled out of the room for their procedure.

Now it was my turn. They rolled my bed down the hall into a dreary and cluttered room. Two nurses followed me in. They immediately hooked me up to monitors. Then, one asked: "Is that his blood pressure?"  I looked at the monitor and I saw 180 over something. God, how was I going to survive this?

The Doctor and an Anesthesiologist entered. They placed a needle into the IV and said I would be going to sleep soon. I remember putting down my head.

It's Over
The next thing I knew they were waking me up. I don't remember how, but I remember opening my eyes. Only the 2 nurses were there. They said that everything was fine and that no polyps were found.  I asked about my blood pressure. They laughed and said it was normal. During the entire procedure it was 120 over something. They told me that it was normal to experience high readings before the procedure but that my health was entirely fine.

I was rolled back to the original holding room and was told to relieve any air I felt. Don't worry they said, "It doesn't smell". I laid there for a half hour and listened to myself and others serenade the nurses with a variety of farty toots! It was kinda funny.

Next the doctor stopped by and re-iterated that my procedure went well and that I had no polyps or other complications. He said to schedule another in 5 more years and he was off to the next patient.

The nurses then gave me a buttered roll and a Coke. When I was finished eating, I got dressed and they led me out of the hospital to my waiting wife.

I couldn't believe it. After all that worry I learned that it was only my imagination that caused that fear. I didn't feel a thing and there was no pain afterward.

So, if you are like me and have been putting off having a colonoscopy because of fear, I can only say "Ignore the Fear". Sure, you may be anxious, but when you wake up afterward, you will be asking yourself: "What was I afraid of anyway?".

Friday, July 27, 2012

Obama's "If you" Campaign Message

Being a responsible American citizen, I often read President Obama's speeches that he posts online for the voting public's reference (White House: Speeches & Remarks). Recently, I've noticed that the phrase:

"If you ..."

appears very often. Wondering if there is a common theme, I read through the past 100 speeches posted from July 4, 2012 to - July 26, 2012 and looked for occurrences of this phrase. The following is a summary of my findings.

Of the 100 speeches listed, 56 were titled as campaign speeches. Mr. Obama delivered 41 of them, and Michelle Obama delivered 15. Of the others, the topics were broad, ranging from wildfire and shooting visits, to sports, picnics, and awards. Two of the speeches were delivered by others: VP Joe Biden, and Mr Geithner.

All of the campaign speeches presented "if you" messages to the audience. The most frequent of these were:
  • 107 times - "if you work hard ..." (variations: if you "are willing to work",  "apply yourself", "put in enough effort" ) 
  • 31 times - "if you try ..."
  • 26 times - "if you act responsibly ..." (variations: if you "take responsibility",  "are responsible", "meet your responsibilities" , "show responsibility" ) 
  • 19 times - "if you've got health insurance ..." (variations: if you "are paying your policy" ) 
  • 14 times - "if you don't have health insurance ..." (variations: if you "can afford",  "did have" )  
  • 11 times - "if you get sick ..." (variations: if you "get a serious illness",  "got a preexisting condition", "are a senior" )  
  • 15 times - "if you still believe (in me) ..."
  • 6 times - "if you’re willing to stand with me ..." (variations: if you "stick with me" ) 
Other less frequent topics touched on:
  • 5 times - "if you’re hurting ..." (variations: if you "have been unlucky", "have a string of bad luck", "don't have a job" )
  • 2 times - "if you don’t want to help yourself ..." (variations: "if you’re irresponsible" )
  • 3 times - "if you earn $250,000 or less ..." (variations: if you "are one of the 98%" )
  • 4 times - "if you’ve been successful ..." (variations: if you "are wealthy",  "fortunate enough to be the other 2%" )
  • 3 times - "if you can change .."
While there are many more "if you" references, most of those have been presented only once.

From this information, we can identify the Obama re-election campaign speech strategy.

Little of President Obama's message is definitive, highlighting his accomplishments or stating his vision and intentions. Instead, it is focused on the individual listeners. His message is that of a pastor, a fatherly shepard who is leading his flock. Do as I say. Live right, work hard, be responsible and try. 

If you do that,
"I will be re-elected".

Then, I can continue to live in the White House, travel on Air Force One, host extravagent parties, and take luxurous vacations.

If you do the right thing, the economy will get better. It's your fault that the economy is not in better shape. That is because you are not trying and working hard enough.

I am giving you hope. That is all the country needs.

Friday, July 13, 2012

SDS Port Huron 1962 Statement may reveal much of the Obama Agenda

Reading the "Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, 1962" may help to identify many of the governmental initiatives that President Obama has sought to implement and thereby change not only government, but American society as well.

A great deal of quieted talk has touched the ties between President Barack Obama and Bill Ayers. Since we didn't know much about Ayers, we did some research. We found that that he is married to Bernardine Dohrn, and both were leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Ayers and Dohrn were then part of a group that split off of the SDS and was called the Weathermen (Weather Underground).  With that organization, they helped to facilitate arson attacks, explosions, and bombings in the early 1970's. They were arrested but all charges were later dismissed. The two are still married and live in Chicago.

Somewhere in the 1990's and early 2000's President Obama met David Axelrod and others who were friends and associates of Ayers and Dohrn.  With the help of David Axelrod, Mr. Obama became a community organizer, then Senator, and finally President of the United States.

So what about the Ayers / Dohrn connection I wondered? The SDS sought to change America and promoted a socialist agenda. And, President Obama is trying to fundamentally change America. Is there any connection?

Well, interestingly enough, we found the "Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, 1962" posted online by "Courtesy Office of Sen. Tom Hayden".

This is quite a lengthy dissertation asserting the beliefs, objectives, and goals of the SDS. You may read it by following the above link.

In this document, we read many of the concepts and policies that the Obama Administration is promoting.  As the President is running for re-election this year, he keeps repeating that his work is not complete. He does not reveal all that he intends for the United States, but perhaps the SDS Port Huron Statement will give us a hint. Below are a list of excerpts which we organized into various categories. These are all direct quotes from that document and were simply copied.

Hope and Change Motto
  • ... the cheerful emptiness of people "giving up" all hope of changing things ...
  • ... refusal to hope ...
  • A new politics must include a revitalized labor movement; a movement which sees itself, and is regarded by others, as a major leader of the breakthrough to a politics of hope and vision.
  • But fundamental social change -- that would ...
  • The American political system is not the democratic model of which its glorifiers speak. In actuality it frustrates democracy by confusing the individual citizen, paralyzing policy discussion, and consolidating the irresponsible power of military and business interests.
  • A new left must transform modern complexity into issues that can be understood and felt close-up by every human being. It must give form to the feelings of helplessness and indifference, so that people may see the political, social and economic sources of their private troubles and organize to change society. In a time of supposed prosperity, moral complacency and political manipulation, a new left cannot rely on only aching stomachs to be the engine force of social reform. The case for change, for alternatives that will involve uncomfortable personal efforts, must be argued as never before. The university is a relevant place for all of these activities.

On Building Infrastructure
  • America should agree that public utilities, railroads, mines, and plantations, and other basic economic institutions should be in the control of national, not foreign, agencies.

On Health Care
  • the Federal government should guarantee health insurance as a basic social service turning medical treatment into a social habit, not just an occasion of crisis, fighting sickness among the aged, not just by making medical care financially feasible

On Prisons
  • Our prisons are too often the enforcers of misery. They must be either re-oriented to rehabilitative work through public supervision or be abolished for their dehumanizing social effects. Funds are needed, too, to make possible a decent prison environment.

On the Fair Share and Equality and the 1 percent
  • The wealthiest one percent of Americans own more than 80 percent of all personal shares of stock. From World War II until th
  • Freedom and equality for each individual, ...
  • More important, the new emphasis on the vote heralds the use of political means to solve the problems of equality in America, ...

On Organizing
  • The organizing ability of the peace movement thus is limited to the ability to state and polarize issues.

On Education, Liberals & Socialists
  • Any new left in America must be, in large measure, a left with real intellectual skills, committed to deliberativeness, honesty, reflection as working tools. The university permits the political life to be an adjunct to the academic one, and action to be informed by reason
  • A new left must include liberals and socialists, the former for their relevance, the latter for their sense of thoroughgoing reforms in the system. The university is a more sensible place than a political party for these two traditions to begin to discuss their differences and look for political synthesis.
  • A new left must transform modern complexity into issues that can be understood and felt close-up by every human being. It must give form to the feelings of helplessness and indifference, so that people may see the political, social and economic sources of their private troubles and organize to change society
  • ... Equal educational opportunity is an important part of the battle against poverty. ...
  • Education is too vital a public problem to be completely entrusted to the province of the various states and local units.

On Disarmament
  • Disarmament should be see as a political issue, not a technical problem
  • Disarmament means a deliberate shift in most of our domestic and foreign policy
  • - It will involve major changes in economic direction. Government intervention in new areas, government regulation of certain industrial price and investment practices to prevent inflation, full use of national productive capacities, and employment for every person in a dramatically expanding economy all are to be expected as the "price" of peace.
  • - It will involve the simultaneous creation of international rulemaking and enforcement machinery beginning under the United Nations, and the gradual transfer of sovereignties -- such as national armies and national determination of "international" law -- to such machinery.
  • - It will involve the initiation of an explicitly political -- as opposed to military -- foreign policy on the part of the two major superstates. Neither has formulated the political terms in which they would conduct their behavior in a disarming or disarmed world. Neither dares to disarm until such an understanding is reached.
  • A - crucial feature of this political understanding must be the acceptance of status quo possessions. According to the universality principle all present national entities -- including the Vietnams, the Koreans, the Chinas, and the Germanys -- should be members of the United Nations as sovereign, no matter how desirable, states.

On Politics
  • The American political system is not the democratic model of which its glorifiers speak. In actuality it frustrates democracy by confusing the individual citizen, paralyzing policy discussion, and consolidating the irresponsible power of military and business interests.

These are just excerpts from that document. We recommend that you read the entire document if you wish to learn more. Remember, these were written in 1962, forty years ago. However, they are just now being implemented.


Weather Underground
Weatherman (aka Weather Underground)
Bill Ayers
Bernardine Dohrn
David Axelrod, Lefty Lumberjack

Friday, June 22, 2012

How many times a day do you move your head?

Every day that I travel to work, I drive about 2 miles through a city. In parts of the drive, I have to stop at every street and look to make sure that no traffic is proceeding or pedestrians crossing. Thus, I have to look back and forth several times before cautiously proceeding.

When traffic is heavy, I may have to wait a minute or two before the coast is clear. It is then that I have thought to myself:

How many times a day do I move my head?

Silly as this thought is, I've marveled at the durability and reliance of the human body.  Whether we are walking, talking to someone, eating, driving, playing a sport, getting dressed or whatever, we are continually moving our heads.

We move our head constantly, and, it never breaks.

To answer my question, I decided to estimate how many times a day I (and others I guess) move my head. At first, I thought that it is moved about once each second while we are awake. To confirm this, I went outside and sampled my theory using 2 rules. First, I defined moving the head as moving its position from one spot to another (up, center, down, left, right, nodded, etc). Second, I used a stopwatch to time folks involved in various activities.

Surprisingly, I found that most people move their head once every 2.5 to 3 seconds on the average. The head is moved more rapidly when people are talking to each other and crossing the street. But, it is moved less frequently when reading or looking at a computer terminal.  After several hours of watching, I compiled my notes and averaged the head movements. It is then that I discovered the 2.5 to 3 second interval.

Knowing this, I was able to estimate that people move their heads:
  • 20-24 times a minute
  • 1,200 - 1,400 times an hour
  • 14,400 - 17,208 in twelve hours
  • 28,800 - 34,416 times in a day. (that's my answer)
  • 10,512,000 - 12,614,400 per year.
We take certain mobility functions like this for granted. But just think, what a marvel the human body is. As our heads move about 25,000 times a day, our arms, legs, eyes, and fingers are also moving. All at the same time. And even with all this simple movement, the muscles responsible for these functions rarely break and keep working!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mr. Obama: Delivering campaign speeches do not make the U.S. economy stronger.

A week ago last Friday, President Obama remarked that the "private sector was doing fine"1 when speaking about the U.S. economy. This set off a fire storm of criticism by Republicans. So, hours later, he attempted to revise his statement and stated "it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine".2

While we realize the contradictory nature of these two statements were said to appease the voting public, the first was given to misrepresent the economical state of the country, and the latter given to appease his critics.

However, we believe the statements following his attempted clarification are more important and deserve a critical review. Mr. Obama stated:

"Listen, it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.  That's the reason I had the press conference.  That's why I spent yesterday, the day before yesterday, this past week, this past month, and this past year talking about how we can make the economy stronger."2

Having documented the President's weekly schedule in our blog, The Traveling Fundraiser, we immediately knew that this was a false statement and another brash attempt to deceive the American public who pays his salary, housing, health care, and travel and entertainment expenses.

The truth is that Mr. Obama did not spend the day before his speech, nor that of 2 days before, nor that of the week before working on the economy. 

During that period, he had been traveling the country, appearing in multiple fundraising events, for the sole purpose of receiving campaign donations for his re-election campaign.  Lets look at the week:
  • Friday, he delivers the statement
  • Thursday, he attended a fundraiser in Los Angeles, then flew to Las Vegas and spoke about college affordability
  • Wednesday, he flew from DC to San Francisco and attended 2 fundraisers. Then he flew to Los Angeles and attended 2 more fundraisers
  • Tuesday, he had no public schedule
  • Monday, he flew to New York City and spoke at 3 campaign events
  • Sunday, he hosted a reception at the Ford's Theatre
  • Friday, he flew to Minneapolis MN, toured a facility, read his "to do list" and attended 3 campaign events. The, he flew to Chicago IL and participated in 3 more campaign events.
Thus, when he said that he: "spent yesterday, the day before yesterday, this past week" talking about how we can make the economy stronger, what he really meant to say was that:

He (President Obama) was delivering campaign speeches for the sole purpose of soliciting donations to be spent in his re-election campaign.

The sad reality is that in the week before he implied he was working on the economy, he actually visited 6 different cities and attended 14 different fundraising events.

Yes, he may have spoken about how he could make the economy stronger, but, the speeches made at campaign events are simply political rhetoric targeted at like-minded audiences willing to give the President money.

Let's be truthful here. During that time, the President did not work for and with the country to try to improve the bleak economy. Instead, he took advantage of the perks of his office and used our tax dollars to pay for his lavish fundraising travels.

Attending campaign events and delivering speeches is not really working. While it is indeed time consuming, tedious, and tiring, it is not part of the official duties of the elected office. When a President, such as this one, boldly declines to work for the improvement of the economy and fiscal stability of this country, his attempts to mislead the public by misrepresenting his activities will later become important issues for the voting public.

Total combined fundraisers held for reelection committee and 
party committee in third and fourth years of first term.3

  1. Remarks by the President
  2. Remarks by President Obama and President Aquino of the Philippines after Bilateral Meeting
  3. Obama Is Spending an Unprecedented Amount of Time Fundraising: Scandal?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Have security leaks damaged Obama's trustworthiness?

Sometimes, our political leaders must do the right thing and take a stand to protect the national security of our country. Such is the case of Dianne Feinstein, who is normally a very liberal Senator. However, she, along with 3 other legislators, has taken a hard stance in an effort to investigate and stop the recent public leaking and publication of our sensitive security measures. For this, she should be commended.

At issue are "two New York Times front-page articles about President Obama's 'kill list' and the US governments cyberattacks in Iran's nuclear facilities".1

Apparently, the information presented was known only to a small handful of decision makers. Critics have alleged that only White House personnel were present in the formulation of these plans, and that the intention of the leaks are to portray the President as a tough military leader. Yesterday, a  spokesman discredited these assertions, and today, Mr. Obama denounced any White House involvement.

At present, it is unclear how the New York Times obtained their information, but bipartisan congressional leaders are joining forces to investigate this matter. The President has indicated he will investigate as well.

During the 5 weeks, the President has distanced himself from the executive duties of his office. In those 25 weekdays, Mr. Obama has been fundraising outside of DC for 9 days, and posted no public schedule (aside from 1 or 2 daily briefings)  on 5 days.  This means that he only worked 11 of the 25 days. In addition, he was involved with the G8 and NATO summits on 2 of the 11 days. Except on days that the President is traveling, he rarely schedules meetings before 10AM. (We intentionally eliminated weekend days).

Thus, we can see that Mr. Obama appears to spend little time on national affairs.

But, from his recent news conferences and announcements, we know that he has been working on other matters (such as contraception, education, taxation, etc) although these are not on his public agenda.

Thus, it is possible for him to have been involved in the formulation of the 'kill list' and the cyberattacks. In and of itself, the creation and implementation of these covert operations are not being questioned. By and of themselves, they may be applauded. But, such involvements or operations must not be publicized.

Now, because of the NYT disclosures, the problem the Nation faces is one of trust.

The world looks for the United States for leadership. But, if leadership means the public disclosure of our sensitive actions, then that leadership cannot be trusted in future operations. Since trust is crucial for maintaining the success of international relationships, Ms. Feinstein ( are stepping up to repair the damage.

However, the President suffers a larger problem. While no one questions whether he should have been involved in these operations, his initial silence casts doubts about his association with the leaks:
  • if he was directly involved in the disclosures, then his judgement and confidentiality will be lost
  • if he did not know about the operations, then his lack of leadership and involvement will be confirmed and his reputation will be stained.
  • if he was involved in the operations and one of his confidants disclosed the information, then his judgement of individuals will be questioned
Unfortunately, the  publication of the New York Times articles has severely damaged the reputation of the President. No matter what he or his spokesman says, a shadow of doubt will remain.

Hopefully investigation will reveal that an unrelated individual (not the President or White House staff) inadvertently learned of the covert operations and independently leaked the information to the New York Times. The President has stated he too will pursue an investigation of the leaks and hopefully he will identify the source.

Lastly, one must ask why the New York Times published these articles in the first place. Did they think the stories would help the President? Were they given permission to publish the articles? Did they want to hurt the President or the country? Really, it's hard to imagine their motive.

  1. Dianne Feinstein, Saxby Chambliss Promise To Crack Down On National Security Leaks
  2. 5 leaks that have Congress steamed
  3. Pattern of White House Leaks Threatens Nation’s Security
  4. The 'leak' wars

Friday, May 11, 2012

Six months before election, Obama begins the trials of KSM and the Gitmo Five

When Obama became President, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, had been captured and detained for many years (since 2003). KSM, along with 4 other conspirators, had been charged with war crimes and murder in 2008 by an American military commission and each faces the possible death penalty. (Military Trial of the "Gitmo Five" Underway at Guantanamo Bay).

But, the newly elected President Obama did not want to rush to judgement. Instead, he delayed the proceedings for more than 3 years.  It wasn't until last week, May 5th, that the defendants were arraigned before a military tribunal and presented with an 87 page indictment.  Their next court appearance is scheduled for June 12th.

So, we must ask:

Why is Obama trying these terrorists now?

It is our opinion that Mr. Obama decided to use these prisoners as last resort "ace in the hole" to help him earn a second re-election term. If they were tried, convicted, and sentenced early in his Presidency, then much of the credit would have been given to the Bush Administration, and Obama would have received little.

Since Mr. Obama is very sympathetic to the Muslim cause, he and the Justice Department accused the US interrogators of torturing (by waterboarding) these individuals. Further, to keep his 2008 promise, he ordered Guantanamo Bay to be closed in January 2009 (Timeline: How Obama Compares to Bush on Torture, Surveillance and Detention). Without Guantanamo, the trial would have to take place in some other location. This had the effect of delaying the trial for a year or so. To help this along, Attorney General Eric Holder decided in November 2009 to move the trials to a New York City civilian courtroom. Thus, any future delay would be viewed as an obstruction of the American public rather than the Obama Administration. As the Obama team expected, New Yorkers were very vocal in resisting the move of the Gitmo terrorists and petitioned the Justice Department to find another location. This action pushed the trial off for another year because Holder refused to make a decision. Finally, in early 2011, two things happened. First, Obama reversed his decision to close Guantanamo in March; and then, Holder announced that he would allow military prosecutors to file the war-crime charges against the 5 terrorists in April 2011 (In a Reversal, Military Trials for 9/11 Cases).

Now that the stage was set, the Obama Administration could safely decide whether begin the trial proceedings in early 2012, or to continue to delay it.

If the economy was doing well, and the Obama re-election appeared to be assured, then we believe that the trials would continue to be delayed.

However, the 2012 Presidential election is not guaranteed for President Obama. So, he is using the:

Try the Terrorist Stunt

to demonstrate his commitment to the country, hoping to arouse patriotic support for his decisive actions, thereby winning over a number of American voters.

Will this work in his favor? We believe it is too late for this stunt to work. Trying the terrorists now only emphasizes the President's reluctance, and his inaction is already engrained in the voting public's mind.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Obama's Re-election Stunts: Will they work?

As I listened to the radio this morning, the reporter announced that the Guantanamo prisoners would be facing the tribunal beginning tomorrow. Having always thought that the Obama Administration would use these trials as a key re-election strategy, I thought it is time to begin a series of posts discussing Mr. Obama's re-election stunts. 

Below is a list of topics that I will be reviewing in the following weeks.  While there are probably more, I think 12 topics will suffice.

We will begin with the Guantanamo Bay trials and explore how these were delayed. Then we will discuss the Osama Bin Laden victory lap, unemployment, race etc. We look forward to your comments and thoughts about these provocative topics.
  • Trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees (Sept 11 case returns to Guantanamo tribunal) - aimed at eliciting patriotism, toughness, and fairness
  • Capitalizing on killing of Osama Bin Laden
  • The unemployment numbers scheme - the dangers
  • The comedian - Mr Nice Guy
  • Blaming others - Republicans, Bush, etc - Oh, it's not me.
  • The Dream Act - a push for allowing illegal immigrants to vote
  • Fast and Furious
  • The Race Game
  • Dividing the country (rich/poor, men/women, black/white, - the 99%)
  • Changing reality (defying the Constitution, supporting the unions, denying mother in law lives at white house, etc)
  • Political paybacks (also called kickbacks in the old days) - Solyndra, construction loans, unemployment benefits, legal delays and challenges, birth control, special interest groups, etc.
  • America's hero - champion for the little guy, fighting for the poor, killing the terrorists, let's play fair.
After reading this list, one song from Les Miserables kept ringing in my ears: Master of the House. Thus, I leave you now with the beginning lyrics.

Master In The House lyrics
Welcome M'sier
Sit yourself down
And meet the best Innkeeper in town
As for the rest
All of them crooks
Rooking the guests
And cooking the books
Seldom do you see
Honest men like me

A gent of good intent
Who's content to be
Master of the House
Doling out the charm
Ready with a handshake
And an open palm

Tells a saucy tale
Makes a little stir

Customers appreciate a bon viveur!
Glad to do my friends a favor
Doesn't cost me to be nice!
But nothing gets you nothing, everything has got a little price.

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