Search This Blog

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Helicopter crash news is awful slow

Has anyone else noticed how slow the news is forthcoming regarding the helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Tuesday? It seems there must have been some risk about attacks on rescue teams plus I just heard the BBC reported there may be seven soldiers missing. Is is possible they survived but were then captured by the Taliban?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Could have bought his own airline

One of the Walmart owners was killed yesterday in the crash of an ultra-lite aircraft. As I understand them, an ultra-lite is essentially a homemade one-man airplane. The victim was only 58 years old and was worth $18 Billion! Jeez now that I think of it, he could have bought his own airline company or two.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Common Thread

In my opinion, the SCOTUS ruling on eminent domain and the overriding emphasis the court assigned to economic development reveals a more ominous trend. For instance, in the Philly area, it sheds some light on a common thread where the monied elitists, corrupt government hacks and MSM activists team up to steamroll their grand plans into reality without full community and / or voter deliberation. For example, the Pew and Lenfest Foundation hijacked the Barnes Museum (with the court's assistance and the full-throated editorial support of the Inquirer ) and basically violated the express wishes of the will of Albert Barnes!

So we now have the perfect storm of elitist money and power determining what is best (i.e smart growth and Growing Greener) for an area and the little people be damned. I say let's get the torches and pitch forks out before it's too late.

And don't tell me Growing Greener was approved by the voters; it was on the ballot in a primary year where no major candidates were decided so less than 10-12% of eligible voters actually went to polls. So, about 700,000 voters approved a $650 Million state expenditure in a state with almost 13,000,000 residents. In the future, the voters should insist that at least 40% of registered voters must approve a financial referendums of this magnitude. That would make it much harder to sneak through a program like this in a primary vote.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Finally Healthy Food I like

Just tried McDonald's new fruit and walnut salad. It is great! It has apples, grapes and candied walnuts - all are things I like. No crappy salads made by wusses that generally contain ingredients I hate including pickles, onions, any salad dressing but thousand islands, sour cream, radishes and all that other stuff they use to ruin my salad (tomatoes and lettuce only please you idiot!). Is that so hard to do?

Anyway, McDonalds has gained a new customer! My sincere thanks to whoever at McDonalds figured I was a demographic they were overlooking- wonder how long before they discontinue this from the menu or start to add stuff I don't like? I'll guess six months- let me remind you it ain't easy being me!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

SCOTUS & Eminent Domain

Private property rights took a body blow today when the SCOTUS ruled towns could take private property (via eminent domain) in order to pave the way for perceived to be better economic development plans. In my opinion, the ruling tracks with all the so-called "smart growth" proponents that think the guvmint (and unelected groups like editorial boards and regional development authorities) can better judge how to develop an area. It's an arrogant worldview and I recommend Americans wake up and fight this one in their state and local legislative bodies.

Monday, June 20, 2005

American Ingenuity

John Rigas, the founder of Adelphia Cable, was just sentenced to prison. I have no comment on that but it reminded me of a great story which may or may not be true. My grandmother lived in Minersville, PA and she had cable TV for as long as I could remember. Now, keep in mind, she passed away in 1977 and had had cable for about 15-20 years. That means cable was available in her town around 1960 or two decades before it became available in Philly.. Why was that you ask? There were two reasons for that. Number one is she lived in a mountainous area of Pennsylvania and the TV signals without cable were really bad. Number two is that Philly is corrupt and inept and so cable companies were kept out until the pols agreed how to carve up the payoffs from the cable vendors.

But I digress- the great story is that cable service was devised in my grandmother's area by a guy who owned a TV store. He could not get a good TV signal at his store so he built a high antenna out back of the store and hooked it up to the TV set in his store's window. He figured that would help him sell more TV sets and he noticed people on the street lingering outside and watching his TV with the great reception from his improvised antenna. But very few of them purchased a TV from him. When he asked why, many replied that they could not get as good a reception at their homes so why would they buy a TV. That set a light bulb off in his head and he began to develop a cable TV service. Now, this story may or may not be about Adelpia's John Rigas but in any event it is a great story about American ingenuity!

Guess all those editors had off for Father's Day

I just read a well-writen LA Times article about gender vs. science aptitude (and it included actual success stories by females in science). It was written by Laurie Reitman and was pretty well done.

But in her story, Reitman included the following sentence "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has spoken of writing as a child to NASA asking how she could become an astronaut after watching the first men walk on the moon, only to be told the program didn't accept women"

It's a heartbreaking story for any little girl with big dreams but the facts in this story could not possibly be true. Afterall, Senator Clinton was born in 1947 and so she was at least 21 years old when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon in 1969!

It appears Reitman got her facts a little wrong and her editors all had the day off for Father's Day.

Candor from the NY Times

I was watching C-Span over the weekends. They do a good job providing film of commencement speeches given by celebs and politicians. Gretchen Morgensen,a business reporter for the NY Times, spoke at her alma mater, St. Olaf College. Her speech was self-affacing and recommended the grads learn to be kind to others. It was a nice speech and I was surprised when she described how much of an asshole Howell Raines was when he served as the NYT top editor. I am not much for the "inside baseball" stuff about any industry, sport or business. So perhaps it was very well known that Raines was a self-absorbed jerk but I did not know that. I just thought he was another left wing liberal. However, I did not realize some on the NYT staff held that much disdain for him. In any event, kudos to Morgensen for a nice speech and for her candor about her workplace.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hello Again

Have not posted in more than a week; I was out of town on business for five days (1400 mile business trip by car down to South Carolina and then back home through Virginia- this is a pretty country) and then had to catch up on my work and sleep. Feel great now.

I started this blog in February as a test to see if I liked it and could post often enough. I think I have been averaging 2-3 posts per week. Not bad for a beginner. But almost no visitors in that time. I did help to generate one national issue I think when I posted a comment on Mudville Gazette regarding a soldier named Aidan Delgado who claimed his unit in Iraq regularly smashed Coke bottles over the heads of pedestrians as Delgado's convoy drove through a town ( I originally read Delgado's claim in the NY Times and as far as I know neither Delgado nor the NYT author, Bob Herbert, has not provided any third-party evience that his story's claims are in fact true).

Recently, I decided to try and make blogging something bigger so I registered the domain name of and will use that to try to create a family and friends joint blogging effort and maybe make some money at the same time. I see it as a blog that speaks to the Philly area and what it is today and what it could become with a little ingenuity and vision.

I also registered a second domain name of in reaction to my disgust with AARP. I have been a member for almost 3 years (tells you I am at least 53 years old) to take advantage of their hotel discounts, etc. But their newsletters, monthly magazine etc have evolved into tiresome liberal far left screeds against such things as social security reform (which I favor). And AARP does not poll its members as far as I know- the AARP owners just decide what AARP will support and damn the members' opinion (you know just like labor unions). Anyway, I figure a website called could siphon off some business from AARP. Not sure how I will start, but I will figure it out.

Anyway it is good to be back and I will try to post my Sunday feature tomorrow called "TWFM" or This Week's Fuzzy Math.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Philly Showcase

Went to Philadelphia's annual bike race Sunday morning- the 156 mile Wachovia Bank race. It was fun. I walked and ran the 4 to 5 miles from my home to Manayunk. When I got there, a mandatory part of any race visit is to hike up to the top of the Wall (that's what they call Leverington Street which is the toughest part of the race route since Leverington Street is a steep hill whose elevation climbs about 500 feet in a quarter mile). The Wall is the best place to watch the race. It has the best parties and it is neat towatch the riders struggling up that section of the race (and they do it for 14 laps or so).

And I strongly recommend a hike up the wall as a good and cheap substitute for annual cardio test. If you don't die, you are good for another year. The race route is packed with fans and large group of partiers. One group was selling T-shirts that said Everest- K2-Manayunk which facetiously compared the Wall to the Mt. Everest and K-2 mountain peaks. Of the three, I have only trekked up the Wall so I can't say with absolute certainty that they are using excessive hyperbole.

BTW, I took the train back to my home as I was too beat to do any more exercise. Great day for me and I recommend it as one of Philly's greatest events held every year on the first Sunday in June. It's as much fun as the Mummers Parade and the weather is much better in Phily in June than in January.

Tilting at windmills

Just read the front page article in the Sunday NY Times about the horror that the super rich are getting richer and putting even more distance between themselves (in terms of size of their wallets) and schlubs like me and (I suspect) you my readers - all three of you. Jeez tell me something I didn't already know. The writer seemed to be trying to make the readers outraged but let's face facts- there will always be people that make fantastic amounts of money.

And ironically the Times Sunday Magazine, which I read next, seems to require that its advertisers pitch products that only those dastardly super rich could afford.

When you juxtapose the magazine ads next to the front page article, it could make you wonder if the front page story was hatched as a kinda "inside joke" by the Times staff. On second thought, that would mean the Times staff was clever and had a sense of humor so scratch that line of thought.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

This Week's Fuzzy Math

I think I am in the wrong business- should be in the environmental reclamation racket. There was an oil spill on Philly's Delaware River oh 6-7 months ago. They just tallied up the clean up cost for the 267,000 gallons of oil that were spilled.. it was only $167 Million which equates to $630 per gallon!! What did they use to clean it up ?? Gold plated teaspoons?

They should have just offered to buy the river - Mayor Street would have seriously considered any and all offers.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Watergate Ruined Newspapers

The Deep Throat revelation (who really cares about this story except "journalists"?). I saw one blog that described the media frenzy as reminiscent of a Married With Children episode where Al Bundy is celebtrating his glory days on the gridiron. How apt!

I feel Watergate actually ruined journalism. Prior to Watergate, journalism was an uncelebrated career- it had a lot of talented and hard-working people and many were only high school grads who had worked their way up from more lowly positions. They tended to resemble what you'd see in an old movie where the reporter would hustle into a regular bar, take a seat with the regulars and quietly describe the latest scandal he was uncovering about the politician/ businessman/ tycoon who happened to be dining next door at the oh so expensive restaurant. In other words, the reporter was a regular Joe and was only interested in muckraking and was not consumed with advancing his own career.

Watergate changed all that. The Ivy Leaguers and the privileged flocked to careers in journalism- they wanted to bag their own president like Woodward and Bernstein. Not only that, they changed the way sports was covered. Before Watergate, if a player got rip roaring drunk, it didn't make the news because he was probably drinking with at least one reporter- players and reporters had similar backgrounds- working class. After Watergate, the Ivy League reporter felt (that word again) superior to the dumb middle class athlete but was jealous of the money the athlete earned. Thus the new emphasis by the media on the economics of sports (which I hate reading about on the sports pages- should be in the business section) and the antics and foibles (both legal and ilegal) of the professional athletes!

Today, the journalists are activists versus reporters. They want to organize and participate in civic projects and butt their noses in where they don't belong. For instance, how can they objectively report on the success or failure of a school board's new school building plan if the journalist was part of the planning meetings. Hell, in Philly, they invited themselves to the planing meeting as participants (not observers). THAT IS NOT THE JOB OF A JOURNALIST.. My advice to journalists is threefold. Simply report the news - good or bad- like a good observer. Learn to get comfortable sitting at a bar with the regulars. And forget about Watergate.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Would be a nice, new trend

I read an article that told of the Olin Foundation, which was closing its doors. It seems when the Olin family set up their multi-million dollar trust, they specifically mandated the funds be spent within one generation. I thought that was a novel idea....set up a charity or foundation then actually give away all the money to projects or groups per the donor's intent.

Just think if some other foundations were to do that. Jeez, the enormous Ford Foundation has enough money to try and fix every problem in the city of Detroit if the foundation was determined to spend all its funds. What a grand experiment that would be!

Unfortunately, most foundations only spend a miniscule percentage of their available funds each year (5-10%). They tend to evolve into big bureaucracies that provide a lotta high-paying jobs to (it would seem) career bootlickers. It would be enlightening to compare the bequest instructions (or founder's mission statement) to the activities of the actual foundation years later. Don't you think?