Saturday, March 28, 2009
You haven't lived until you've seen a 7,000 pound tank full of fine milk chocolate being prepared for use on chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate meltaways, chocolate covered Oreos and chocolate covered Nutter Butters.
Chocolate covered Nutter Butters!
Philadelphia Candies conducted their annual factory tour Saturday. Participants got a sneak peek behind the scenes of the Hermitage,PA based company. The stroll through the factory floor illuminated how difficult it could be to produce some of the best tasting chocolate in the world. Workers decked out in Baker's whites poured luxurious liquid chocolate into bunny molds and stacked them as they cooled. Conveyor belts produced an unending stream of candies from the enrobing machines, where chocolate waterfalls smothered nut clusters with sweet molten goodness.
Yeah, the diet is killing me.
Philadelphia Candies has been a Shenango Valley institution since 1919, producing candy that can truly be called exceptional. On the tour visitors were given a sample bunny and kids got to meet the Easter Bunny. If you have the opportunity to take the tour next year, it's well worth the short drive across the state line.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Additionally, married taxpayers who both work should carefully review
withholding. If each spouse’s employer makes the adjustment, an “over
withholding” could apply, especially in cases where combined income hits a phase
out amount or if withholding from one spouse runs all of the way up the bracket
(the same situation applies to taxpayers who work more than one jobs). Remember,
your employer is merely reading from a tax table: he or she is not aware of your
spouse’s income (or lack of) or your other employment. If you know that your
combined incomes are over the phase out limits, or that your income may run up
the bracket as a married taxpayer or due to holding more than one job, you
should make accommodations now (either in the form of adjustments or setting
money aside) so that you don’t get caught by surprise next April.
You can read the whole article here. It's very informative.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
CafePress.com has placed some select items for sale on Amazon.com and the Zombie Trip T-shirt was chosen. I'm thankful for the exposure and have seen sales jump up already. If you are interested you can see the shirt here. Links to the Rust Belt Pop store are on the right.
ETA: They also chose six other items for sale inclusing the hooded sweatshirt, ladies pink T-shirt, baseball jersey, etc... Click here to see all of the apparel.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
My own comments follow. First, the text of the letter from the New York Times:
DEAR Mr. Liddy,
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of
resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read
this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to
offer some context:
I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity
and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible
for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were
more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those
responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public
After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which
A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the
financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly
persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the
company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from
the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.
I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G.
I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment,
nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary
of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public
officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no
longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the
benefit of those who have let me down.
You and I have never met or spoken to
each other, so I’d like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers
working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me
acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute’s generous financial aid enabled me to
attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.
I started at this company in 1998
as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a
couple of years before A.I.G.’s meltdown last September, was named the head of
business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity
units were consistently profitable — in most years generating net profits of
well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I
was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index
business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to
A.I.G.’s effort to repay the American taxpayer.
The profitability of the
businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I
never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now
losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant
portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the
capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally
suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with
the rest of the taxpayers.
I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that
you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default
swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a
tremendous beating for it.
But you also are aware that most of the employees
of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I
am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many
others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face
of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday
and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us
against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New
York and Connecticut.
My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts,
you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some
incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should
be left to stand. That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three
occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment”
to honor the contract guarantees.
That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a
quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your
support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the
That may also be why you authorized the balance of
the payments on March 13.
At no time during the past six months that you have
been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these
contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before
I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both
ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise.
It’s now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made
— tacit or otherwise — with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members
of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong
enough to withstand the shifting political winds.
You’ve now asked the
current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine,
there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion
about how we should respond to this breach of trust.
As most of us have done
nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have
worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as
promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber
should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes
a fire that burns down the house.
Many of the employees have, in the past
six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s
assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having
been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a
favor to you.
The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is
fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in
Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though
attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in
courts and not the press.
So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know
that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic
boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating
losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession
have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.
That is why I have decided to
donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment
directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the
global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at
least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them
disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s
budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more
pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it
benefit those truly in need.
On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G.
amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the
ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate
may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill
raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the
money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.
This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace
with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by
Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money
extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of
the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default
swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped,
but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is
too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least
Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own
power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”
Now, my own comment is this: I sympathize with Mr. DeSantis' position. He is being treated as a scapegoat for the entire AIG mess when it seems he had little to do with it. However, his logic is faulty. It was American taxpayers who allowed Mr. DeSantis the luxury of quitting his job on his own terms and donating his bonus to charity. Most Americans negatively impacted by this recession have found themselves out of work with little or no warning and sometimes without severance pay.
AIG was bailed out because they insured so many investments banks made in the sub-prime mortgage mess. If AIG would have had the common sense to refuse insuring those investments we would have all been better off. I wish Mr. DeSantis well but I hope his time off between positions allows him to see how preposterous it is for the government to pay him three quarters of a million dollars in bonus money when some families are wondering if they will scrape the mortgage payment together.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I wonder if Denman Tire could be considered as the second source of tires for the Stryker combat vehicle? They are a viable company that pays good wages but who desperately need additional funding.
Kudos to YSU for receiving funding for alternative energy research.
Youngstown gets $530,000 for the Shotspotter tool. This will pinpoint gunshots and allow police to react more effectively.
Also, it's good to see $95,000 for a collaboration between the Youngstown Symphony and the school distrct to use musical education to address at risk students.
Feb. 26, 2009: Rep. Ryan Secures $30 million in FY09 Federal Investments for the 17th District
Funds to be used for job creation and innovative health, education and energy programs throughout Northeast Ohio
(Washington, DC) Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17) is proud to announce that he secured a total of $29.7 million in targeted federal investments for the 17th District in Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations bill. The funds are contained in the Omnibus spending bill which passed the House today and the Defense and Military Construction spending bills which were signed into law in September 2008. The Omnibus bill still requires Senate action. If the Senate passes amendments to the bill, any differences will have to be reconciled with the House version.
The money will fund 29 separate health, education, transportation, water, and economic development programs that will help improve the quality of life for residents of the 17th District. “The projects that we are funding in this spending bill are part of a coordinated effort to bring better jobs, better healthcare and better education to our community,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “These federal dollars are an important lifeline for our community—helping to ensure our residents can find jobs, our children have a quality education and our community is well-positioned for future economic growth."
The full list of Fiscal Year 2009 projects can be found below.
Campbell Brownfield Revitalization Program ($700,000)
Money will be used by the Mahoning River Corridor of Opportunity to replace a lift station, force main and sanitary sewer line on the site of the Campbell portion of the MRCO site. This will enable additional growth and development at the site which has already brought in 150 jobs since 2005.
Streetsboro Trunk Sewer Improvements Project ($1,600,000)
Given to the Portage County Board of Commissioners to improve and replace two sections of failing sanitary sewer line within the City of Streetsboro, the existing sewers in these areas are operating at a fraction of their full capacity and are known to surcharge during storm events. The County plans to replace approximately 14,000 linear feet of sewer line, 54 manholes, and 39 lateral reconnections in the northeast quadrant of the City and in the Industrial Park off of Mondial Parkway.
Little Squaw Creek Interceptor Phase II ($675,000)
Phase II of the Little Squaw Creek Interceptor Sewer Project involves the construction of a sewage pumping station and 1,700 linear feet of 10-inch sanitary sewer line along State Route 193 in southern Vienna Township. Phase II of this project is a vital link between Phase I to the south in Liberty Township, and future phases to the north in Vienna Township. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2020 and consists of five phases. Groundbreaking on Phase I will begin this year.
Wick District-Smoky Hollow Development Infrastructure Improvements ($550,000)
This complex urban initiative is a cornerstone project in Youngstown's revitalization. Wick District-Smoky Hollow is the first large-scale mixed-use project seen in the city in many decades. Its central location promotes collaboration, revitalization, and economic development. The WD-SH plan calls for the construction of more than 32,000 linear feet of new infrastructure on an approximately 80-acre development site.
Alpha Micron Adaptive Liquid Crystal Display ($951,500)
The Adaptive Liquid Crystal Windows project is creating a film which can be used for commercial and residential windows. The program would develop a manufacturable system that will create a liquid crystal-based film where its visible light transmission can be altered from 70% to 30% by application of a voltage from a solar cell. The technology could vastly improve the energy-efficiency of buildings and homes.
University of Akron Fuel Cell for Clean Coal Power Plants ($1,427,250)
Researchers at the University of Akron have been working several years to demonstrate the technical feasibility of building a 5-kilowatt scale coal fuel cell that can economically convert high sulfur coal into electricity with near zero negative environmental impact. U of A is currently in the process of building the coal fuel cell and has developed all the technology necessary. The 5kW fuel cell will be capable of heating/providing electricity to an entire house. As the performance of the fuel cell components is fine-tuned and optimized, funding must be allocated for the design and construction of a 250-kW pilot plant; a critical step to scale up the coal fuel cell technology to the megawatt scale for the nation's electric power supply.
Youngstown State University Center for Efficiency in Sustainable Energy Systems ($1,903,000)
Funds will establish the Center for Efficiency in Sustainable Energy Systems at Youngstown State University as an interdisciplinary industry-university center that integrates engineering design with energy systems analysis to improve the energy utilization of today's manufacturing industry and tomorrow's alternative energy industry.
Ohio Northeast Health Systems Mobile School Based Clinic ($216,000)
Appropriated funds will be used to develop a mobile school-based health clinic program throughout the city schools of Warren, Ohio. Emphasis will be placed on primary health preventive care programs including physical exams, immunizations, developmental assessments; acute health care; and preventive education.
Humility of Mary Health Partners Teen Parent Program ($285,000)
Money will help establish a Teen Parent Program whose goals include reducing repeat pregnancies, ensuring infants receive all immunizations, and reducing accidents by educating young mothers on major safety hazards to infants at each stage of development. The program will focus on increasing young mothers' parenting skills and awareness of the signs of physical illness in the infant and making these moms aware of health resources within the community.
Children’s Rehabilitation Center ($124,000)
Funds will go towards a demonstration project that will implement a multi-disciplinary team approach for providing support services necessary to improve family functioning, build on family strengths, improve family access to a wide range of therapeutic, educational and community resources for special needs children.
Sojourner House Domestic Violence Services ($95,000)
The Sojourner House is the only emergency protective shelter in Mahoning County. Its mission is to provide a comprehensive program of crisis intervention, education, advocacy and shelter for victims of domestic violence in Mahoning County. Sojourner's emergency shelter operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Additional services include crisis, judicial advocacy and case management, domestic violence education, a children’s program and community education.
Power Up Partnership ($190,000)
The PowerUp! Partnership is a research-based project to implement an experimental student response system (SRS) as a means to improve student engagement, learning, and success and as a means to enable teachers to improve the quality of their classroom learning environments. This collaborative initiative will demonstrate the effectiveness of SRS on improved learning.
Forum Health CT Scanner ($171,000)
Funds will go towards the purchase of a 1.5 Tesla MRI Scanner will allow Forum Health's Trumbull Memorial Hospital to provide improved vascular imaging eight times faster, significantly reduced scan times, increase volumes by ability to schedule more patients, higher resolution of small intracranial structures and joint and enhanced spinal cord imaging. This upgrade will allow TMH to provide care to the most complex patients in our community and attract highly trained physicians.
Youngstown Symphony Education Initiative ($95,000)
Funds will be used to create a collaborative effort between the Youngstown Symphony and Youngstown City Schools to address the needs of at risk children both academically and socially by integrating music into elementary and middle school curricula.
Magnet Healthcare Initiative, with Humility of Mary ($143,000)
MAGNET, in partnership with Humility of Mary Health Partners, will establish “Lean healthcare services” using MAGNET's highly successful "Lean techniques". Lean is a continuous improvement program that uses proven tools and techniques to identify and eliminate waste in a process such as reducing the time required in admitting, providing improved patient coverage in a nursing unit or even in an operating room which increases success rates.
Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation ($143,000)
Funds will go towards the construction of a new building in downtown Akron to house Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation. Edwin Shaw's current building has structural issues that would make renovations for treatment areas and equipment, therapy area/systems and infrastructure improvement not feasible.
YWCA Strengthening Workforce Development ($146,000)
Funds will go towards workforce development, employment and training programs for the most disadvantaged citizens in our community. The YWCA intends to partner with local government, businesses and training entities to provide work readiness skills, job training and job coaching to maximize the ability of community participants to obtain employment and work towards self sufficiency.
University of Akron STEM Education Initiative ($167,000)
The University of Akron will work with local K-5 educators to introduce science, math and technology classroom activities that will lay a foundation for advanced science and math success in later grades. The program will help inspire and attract Ohio's youngest learners into STEM careers. The University of Akron will do this in partnership with representatives from current and emerging industry clusters in Northeast Ohio.
Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital community outreach programs in childhood diabetes and obesity ($200,000)
This project will establish a new Center for Childhood Diabetes and Obesity at Rainbow Hospital.
Kinsman House Interior Renovation ($150,000)
Federal funding will go towards the second phase of renovations on the historic Kinsman House. Phase one, which is completed, restored the exterior of the building and did not receive Federal funding. Phase two, the interior restoration, would consist of complete restoration of the lower, first and second floors including plumbing, fire protection, HVAC, electrical, and finishing work.
Youngstown-Warren Chamber Salute to Success ($246,643)
Salute to Success is an entrepreneurship development initiative which has been created to address the problem that the Youngstown - Warren region has had challenges with developing business startups. The goal of Salute to Success is focused on providing residents of the Mahoning Valley support in growth and development of private business through an umbrella network comprising a broad range of organizations.
Youngstown Shotspotter ($530,000)
The City of Youngstown is embarking on a series of new safety initiatives in an effort to reduce crime in various neighborhoods. In addition to traditional crime fighting activities, the city is seeking to deploy equipment and technology that will allow for gunshot detection and video surveillance in areas that have statistical patterns of heightened criminal activity.
UMIDOAP Project 180 ($120,000)
Project 180 is designed to work with incarcerated women through targeted Pre-Release Initiatives and reduce the recidivism rates upon release from the institution. Project 180 will also assist women who are at any stage of contact within the criminal justice system to achieve stability, meet short and long term goals on their way to becoming full participants in community life. The program's goal is to improve the success rates for women's full reintegration into their communities and families.
Ohio Police Athletic League Youth Sports ($300,000)
Financing will go towards organizing, creating, and maintaining recreational and educational activities twelve months out of the year for the youth of our community and surrounding areas as an alternative to delinquent acts and/or criminal behavior.
Funds will be used for equipment, insurance, site preparation, tutoring, transportation and medical services.
Inmate Management System ($300,000)
Earmark will go towards acquiring Jailview Management System technology allows Mahoning County to interface current County and City Courts systems, Courtview, to the Mahoning County Justice Center. The program supports single point data entry and up-to-the-minute inmate information. Jail data would be seamlessly derived through software licensing and integrated through a server.
Martha Ave/I-76 Connector ($1,187,500)
Funds would go towards the reconstruction of an existing east-west access road and extension of the road to access Martha Avenue and Massillon Road for economic development purposes. The new roadway would provide a major access road from Massillon Road to Martha Avenues, as well as access to and from I-76.
Warren Greenway Bike Trail ($332,500)
Funds will be used to construct approximately 3.9 miles of bike trail along an abandoned railroad right-of-way through Warren, OH.
OCCHA Senior and Youth Center ($142,500)
Federal investment will go to the conversion and renovation of a warehouse building for use as senior and youth center.
Ravenna Arsenal Ohio National Guard Barracks ($2,000,000)
The project will create housing for Soldiers when they are at the Ravenna Training and Logistics Site (RTLS) for training, filling a need critical to the mission of the Training Site.
High Altitude Airship ($3,200,000)
The High Altitude Airship program provides a high altitude (65,000 ft), low cost, maneuverable, multi-mission airborne platform in support of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication operations. The HAA will assist in affordable, unmanned, persistent airborne operations for a broad spectrum of US government users. Moreover, communications missions can be accomplished without deploying ground troops.
Feeding Tube for Battlefield Trauma Patients ($1,600,000)
This Feeding Tube has been clinically proven at the Brooke Army Medical Center to offer the most effective method for the successful post pyloric placement of a small bowel feeding tube for battlefield trauma patients. Successful completion of Phase II will allow the elimination of X-rays as a routine part of the feeding tube procedure, saving both the patient and clinician from significant levels of exposure to radiation and saving the U.S. healthcare market $2 billion.
Alternative Energy Fuel Cell Power ($1,600,000)
Remote military base deployments require electrical power for personnel support and command and control applications, and current diesel generators are not fuel sufficient. The market for this product is estimated at more than $200 million per year, and will result in the creation of hundreds of new, high-paying manufacturing jobs for Ohio.
Liquid Crystal Laser Eye Protection ($1,600,000)
The goal of the Liquid Crystal Eye Protection project is to implement digital liquid crystal technology on curved plastic shields, visors and goggles. The threats of laser energy systems are increasing, and a digital lens providing multiple functions of light and laser protection controlled by the user will combat a threat and enhance safety.
Stryker Second Source/Next Generation Tire Development ($800,000)
This project will provide funding to the Army for research development and testing qualification of second source tires for current Stryker vehicles as well as near term next generation tires for heavier load Stryker vehicles under development. Tires are a high use item for Stryker, and the Army is interested in a second source because capacity is strained. This program ensures that services have sufficient supply capacity in a wartime effort—a matter of national security.
Corrosion Engineering Education Initiative ($800,000)
Responding to industry and Department of Defense demands, The University of Akron is establishing the first comprehensive undergraduate education program in the field of corrosion engineering and science. This effort will create corrosion-specific, accredited engineering degrees at the associate and baccalaureate levels, as well as deliver industry-accredited workforce development certification courses.
Helmets to Hardhats ($3,000,000)
This project’s intent is to facilitate access by veterans, National Guardsmen, and reservists to opportunities for skilled employment in the construction industry. This would create a smooth, shift for transitioning active duty military and create careers for existing National Guardsmen and reservists.
The Army uses its Rapid Manufacturing System (RMS) to provide deployed forces with critical spare parts to keep its weapons systems operating under the extreme wear and conditions of battle. The Tactical Metal Fabrication System, or TacFab, will provide mobile metal casting capability that will complement the RMS to cut parts production time by up to 90%.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
However, two crimes in the last week, both involving guns, have shown that some people refuse to be intimidated. In both cases people with no connection to the victims were willing to point a finger at suspects and tell police what they knew.
On March 14th two people were shot in an SUV on East Judson. The shooters abandoned their car and when the driver returned, more than twenty people identified him. In fact, that person had to be placed in a cruiser for his own protection. This person subsequently identified others involved in the crime.
More recently, this past Saturday saw a purse snatching occur at a thrift store on Market St. The victim's husband chased the purse snatcher onto East Judson until the suspect took a shot at him. A concerned citizen pointed out into which vacant house the purse snatcher had run. Police were able to enter and arrest the suspect.
Is it possible people on East Judson are tired of being intimidated? Could this be an outgrowth of recent efforts to form block watches? I don't know. I do know that in two separate incidents people were willing to tell police what they knew about a violent crime and help get the suspects locked up. If this kind of reporting could become a trend criminals would operate with less impunity because of the number of eyes watching them.
When I was young and spent time at my dad's home on the South side it was normal to see neighbors on their porches. They nodded to each other, talked about politics and the economy, and saw what each other was up to. Much of that sense of community was destroyed when crime became bad in the 80's and the murder rate climbed in the early 90's. Perhaps the time has come, at least in one neighborhood, for people to start keeping an eye out once again.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Paralleling our post 9/11 world with stories about genocide, torture, war and whether the human race even deserves to survive, BSG has been a weekly reminder that ideological positions must be questioned to be valid. In an age where war is waged without sacrifice on the part of the average citizen, this simple TV show has demanded that we look at characters who sacrifice everything just to survive. The sci-fi setting is just a comfortable setting in which to ask those questions.
Tonight's series finale is at 9 on Sci-Fi. Give it a peek to see who lives, who dies and whether humanity finds a way to survive.
In the meantime, check out some of the links below. The media has been interviewing the cast and crew of the show in anticipation of tonight's episode.
Here is an interview with BSG's science expert, Kevin Grazier.
An interview with series creator Ron Moore.
What projects the cast has lined up.
Recaps and discussion of recent episodes at Televsion Without Pity.
Finally, the cast and creators recent visit to the United Nations.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Over the course of its four seasons, "Battlestar Galactica" has been lauded for its nuanced portrayal of war, faith and morality. Since it debuted six years ago, the Sci Fi drama about a rag-tag space fleet has offered challenging fictional depictions of problems afflicting our planet in the here and now.
And now a discussion of how those very issues have been handled on the show will take place at the United Nations.
On March 17, there will be a "Battlestar" retrospective at the U.N. in New York and a panel discussion of how the show examined issues such as "human rights, children and armed conflict, terrorism, human rights and reconciliation and dialogue among civilizations and faith," according to Sci Fi.
The "Battlestar" contingent on the panel will consist of executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, as well as stars Mary McDonnell (who plays president Laura Roslin on the show) and Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama).This Friday's episode at 9 pm marks the end of the Emmy winning series. Its four seasons have been spent delving into the human condition as viewed through war and genocide. It's good to see the show's creators and cast have a voice before an organization whose purpose is to reduce both those things.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Any day now I expect warp drive to be invented while simultaneously reading a news story about a tribe of cannibals living under Akron.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
The second was the murder and apparent gun fight that took the life of Melkanoe Bowman. In that altercation a six year old neighbor was shot in the foot. Three other rounds entered his bedroom without striking the child. Bowman was found laying on a rifle with multiple weapons in the residence. Bowman should not have been in possession of a firearm because of past convictions.
So where did Green, Bowman and those who killed Bowman get their weapons? At some point every firearm is legal. It is manufactured, distributed to a wholesaler and then to a retailer. Individuals buying firearms from a retailer must fill out a Form 4473 at the point of purchase. This form is used to complete the FBI NICS mandatory background check. Once that firearm is in private hands just about anything can happen to it. It can be sold without further documentation, given as a gift or stolen. The only real point of control is at the retail level with a background check.
Tracing weapons used in crimes back to their point of origin would be tremendously helpful in rooting out those who are supplying weapons to criminals and others who are restricted from owning weapons. As previously mentioned in this blog, weak firearms purchasing laws in some states are enabling an "iron pipeline" where guns are bought by strawman purchasers or bought from "enthusiasts" at gun shows who are not required to complete a background check on the buyer. If law enforcement could trace guns used in crimes from the retailer to the original owner and on to the criminal, those who are supplying guns to criminals could be identified.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are prohibited from providing trace data on firearms purchases by the Tiahrt amendment in their appropriations budget. Local law enforcement agencies may request trace data on guns used in crimes but not the kind of broad statistical data that would allow them to build a civil case against specific firearms dealers or purchasers who are knowingly putting firearms into the hands of criminals for profit.
This amendment should be repealed and mayors of cities should be allowed to request trace data on all of the guns used in crimes in their area. They should be able to see where guns are being purchased, by whom and then use that data to trace weapons used in crimes in their areas. Areas with restrictive gun laws who see large numbers of gun crime know firearms are being brought in from places with lax laws. The organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns proved as much with a recent study conducted from limited trace data. Mayor Jay Williams is a member of this group.
Repealing this amendment will not affect legal gun owners. Those who own guns and do not use them in the commission of a crime would not have anything to worry about. However, those who are purchasing firearms for the purpose of selling them to criminals would have much to fear.
Our area has been hit hard by crime but luckily we have a representative on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Hopefully Congressman Tim Ryan will come to his senses and recognize this piece of legislation has outlived its usefulness. The last time he had the opportunity to vote to remove this restriction he voted against it. He should rectify that error by voting to have it removed from the next BATF appropriations bill.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Then they sent me a letter stating they were raising my rate to a whopping 17.9%! The reason they give is enough to make you laugh. "Poor economic conditions". Like it's my fault the banks are eating it on the bad loans they passed out like candy on Halloween. Even more laughable is the "default rate" of 29.4% if you are late with a payment twice within 12 months. I can't believe there isn't something criminal about that.
After doing some Googling I saw that I'm not the only one being threatened by leg breaking rates. This thread at Consumer Affairs has some silimarly upset people. I guess they'll have to do away with the "no hassle" theme.
I have no sympathy for Capital One. I managed my credit well and never got myself in over my head. Too bad they can't say the same. From the day I was first approved with them their marketing material clogged my mailbox. Every month like clockwork a fresh set of convenience checks would arrive until I finally called them and requested they stop. This company never had a problem handing out money and now they expect me to pay loan sharking rates because people are defaulting on them left and right.
Well, too bad. The card is going bye-bye, credit report be damned. I wish I could do something more but taking my small bit of interest to another lender is the most I can do.
General crankiness and railing against The Man shall commence as soon as I find something that deserves my attention.
Hmmm...the mail's here....
...and Capital One steps up to the plate!
(Thanks for the logo pictures, Phil).
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
The war on poverty essentially started in the ’30s as part of the New Deal, but it really ramped up in the ’60s with Lyndon Johnson, part of the great society war on poverty. We have transferred something like 10 trillion, maybe close to 11 trillion, from producers and earners to nonproducers and earners since 1965. Yet, as I listen to the Democratic Party campaign, why, America is still a soup kitchen, the poor is still poor and they have no hope and they’re poor for what reason? They’re poor because of us, because we don’t care, and because we’ve gotten rich by taking from them, that’s what kids in school are taught today. That’s what others have said to the media. You know why they’re poor, you know why they remain poor? Because their lives have been destroyed by the never-ending government hay that’s designed to help them but it destroys ambition. It destroys the education they might get to learn to be self-fulfilling. [Applause] And it breaks our heart. It breaks our heart. We lose track of numbers with all of the money, with all the money that’s been transferred, redistributed, with all the charitable giving in this country.