Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Did You Know; Shift Happens - Globalization; Information Age

This was presented last night at my daugter's High School Honors Awards Ceremony. It is an exciting time that we live in!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Three pics.

This is Cleveland, OH. You can clearly see Brown's stadium and the Rock and Roll hall of fame on the waterfront, and the Indians ballpark to the left, along with the "Q", where LeBron and the Cavaliers play. The Cuyahoga river snakes along the western edge of the city...
This bamboo grove is in the most unlikely of places, south eastern North Carolina west of Wilmington

One of the things that I really love when flying first class is the stimulating conversation of fellow passengers...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tell me how this protects our Freedom

This is from Yahoo news. We have many people from Germany and Italy that come regularly to work with us. We are owned by Italians, after all. And why must the travel businesses pay for this idiotic invasion of personal liberties to the tune of 2.7 billion dollars? Look, it has got to stop. This is ridiculous.
Feds want to require visitors' fingerprints when leaving US
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration would require commercial airlines and cruise-line operators to collect information such as fingerprints from international travelers and send the information to the Homeland Security Department soon after the travelers leave the country, according to a proposed rule.
The proposal, which will be announced Tuesday, will close a security gap identified after the 9/11 attacks and identify which visitors have overstayed their visas.
Airlines and cruise ship operators must already provide the department with biographical information on international passengers before they leave the country. But this rule would require biometric information — such as fingerprints — to be collected and then transmitted within 24 hours of a visitor leaving the U.S., according to a Homeland Security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.
Over 10 years, officials estimate it will cost air and sea carriers about $2.7 billion to carry out the requirement. The department plans to enforce the rule by June 30, 2009. Some air carriers have complained the federal government should cover the cost of implementing this rule.
U.S. officials already collect fingerprints from visitors when they come into the country, but the administration has yet to complete the exit portion of the tracking program — known as US-VISIT.
Lawmakers, including Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., have pressed the department to roll out its biometric exit system for more than a year.
"Any uncertainty about who is entering and leaving our country is an unacceptable risk that must be addressed," Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement Monday.
There will be a 60-day comment period for the proposed rule.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Travels through Chicago

Last week I was asked to help our Chicago rep with a service call in LaCrosse, WI. I got a ridiculously low fare ($103) for a round trip ticket to Chicago so I flew in there and we drove to LaCrosse. Here are a few pics:

Interesting rock formation. About the only thing of interest on the five hour drive (yawn...)

Concourse A at Midway Airport (named after the famous WWII naval battle in which the city of Chicago played a pivotal role). The SBD Dauntless is an actual plane recovered from Lake Michigan where it sank during carrier landing training exercises. The Great Lakes US Navy base is located here.

Through the window of the plane. The Sears Tower is in the foreground, with the John Handcock Tower a ways behind. Both buildings are very similar, black with two white antennas on top.

The city of the big shoulders, the second city...

The Batcave

I snapped these pics in the lobby of the Cleveland Clinic. This is exactly how I remember the show when I watched it as a kid in after school reruns. Comics fans enjoy.

If you click on the blueprint, you can see minute deatils of the blueprint.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The commander will go, the war will go on

This is from the Detroit Free Press today, written by Mitch Albom. I'm posting it because it pretty much mirrors my feelings exactly. I grow tired of Bush's endless war and sabre rattling regarding Iran. I am ashamed of all of the suffering and and death that has been inflicted on Iraq in my name for what is, essentially a lie. Mind you, I fully back our decision to go into Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and destroy Al-Queda, but Iraq is nothing more than a personal blood feud between two families. This needs to end.

"The war in Iraq has been labeled many things: a mission, an occupation, a controversy, a black hole. But last week, it officially became something else.
An inheritance.
With President George W. Bush's decision to leave troop levels where they are, he ensured that Iraq would be someone else's problem in January. Unlike the Persian Gulf War, Kosovo or even World War I, Iraq soon will straddle two American presidencies.
That seems somehow unfair. This is Bush's war. He started it in his first term and continued it in his second. There is no end in sight. And he seems uninterested in exploring one. Instead, he will hand it off, like a baton, while he goes home to Texas and a rich, quieter life.
Now, I am not one of those people who think we should pack our bags and flee Iraq tomorrow. Like someone stuck on a flight he didn't want to take, I recognize the consequences of bailing out -- regardless of how little I wanted to be there in the first place.
But if last week was Bush's final door slam on an ending, then it warrants a look back on where this thing began.
One misstep after another. We went into Iraq to get the weapons of mass destruction. Except there were no weapons of mass destruction.
We went in to stop Al Qaeda's terror operations in Iraq. Except there were no Al Qaeda terror operations in Iraq -- until we got there.
We went in to take out Saddam Hussein, a tyrant in the region. Except we took him out, and now we fret over Iran, the new tyrant in the region.
We went in to protect and control a major oil supply. Except oil is now well over $100 a barrel and we are as enslaved to it as ever.
We went in to be greeted as liberators. But we are seen by most as occupiers.
We went in with the world's sympathy. We stay there with the world's scorn.
If you took this list of mistakes and changed objectives and squeezed it into a three-month time frame, Americans would be screaming over the failure. Screaming. Howling mad.
But the biggest danger of a long, prolonged war is how used to the morass you can get. How accustomed you grow to setbacks, negative reports, minimal progress or, worst of all, 140,000 of our sons and daughters stationed over there.
And now a new president will have to finish what Bush started.
Where would you begin?
The words of war. Remember, this president stood before a banner that read "mission accomplished." Later he said, "Stay the course." Last week he told reporters that Americans had been worried about "failure in Iraq" but today things were better. The fact that the president even acknowledged the word "failure" showed you how far across the table this plate had skidded.
Here is what hasn't changed since the day we arrived: You can't make people love democracy. You can't make them implement it. You can't get feuding sects that have battled each other for hundreds of years to suddenly forget it in a matter of months. And you can't tip the whole of the Arab and Muslim world by clamping down on one tiny part of it. Bush, always tone-deaf to the region, said of Iraq, "If we fail there, Al Qaeda would claim a propaganda victory," and "Iran would work to fill the vacuum."
Which made the cynical listener wonder whether these problems wouldn't go away with an Iraqi dictator who could frighten Iran and want nothing to do with Al Qaeda.
Which brings us back to where we started.
They say we can't leave or the place will fall. But they don't say it won't fall no matter when we leave. They call it war, but it doesn't play like war. There are no moving tanks, no land to capture -- just hidden bombs in fruit stands and on highways, plucking a soldier here and a soldier there.
Last week, Bush said, "While this war is difficult, it is not endless." Four years ago, an Al Qaeda newsletter told its readers: "This war has been going on since there first were the faithful and the unfaithful."
As we enter the sixth year, which best describes it?"