Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CERT Team Looking For Radio Equipment

The CERT I am part of is looking for some new or gently used amateur radio equipment. If you have any of these items to donate, please contact me
kb5nju hotmail com:

  • 2m Mobile Radio, 20w transmitter power or higher
  • Power Supply capable of powering a mobile radio of at least 20w
  • Discone Antenna, capable of transmitting on 2m. One that comes with a portable pole mounting system would be great.
  • 50 feet of RG-58 coax cable
Almost 50% of our CERT consist of licensed amateur radio operators with others who are interested in getting their licenses. Our goal is to set up a base station during events where a net control operator can facilitate communication with the hams as they go about their tasks.

The Temple (Texas) CERT is affiliated with the City of Temple Fire and Rescue and a 501(c)3 organization.

Thanks and 73.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's A Matter of Size

I hate shopping for clothes, shoes included. So when my black shoes fell apart (literally) it took a lot of effort to buckle down and get a new pair. Thankfully, us guys really only need a few pairs of shoes, so I don't have to go through this too often.

I have some very high-quality shoes. When I know I'm going to be on my feet for a while and I can't wear Crocs, I wear one of those pairs of shoes. When I'm going to be at work all day sitting on my butt, I don't usually wear one of those high-quality pairs. Pretty much anything will do.

Since the shoes I needed to replace were primarily for work, I didn't mind getting a pair at Walmart while we were shopping there anyway. I thought to myself it would be an easy thing. Alas, I was wrong.

I went to the shoe aisle at our local Walmart and grabbed a pair of nine-and-a-halfs to try on. I couldn't even squeeze my feet into them. I thought that strange, but I've run into times where sizes were a little off - no doubt to the metric to English conversion. So I grabbed a pair of tens. I got my feet into them, but they were way too tight. So, I tried a pair of ten-and-a-halfs next. They fit in perfectly in width, but they were about two inches too long.

I grabbed another pair of another style and brand. I was thinking, perhaps, if the one factory didn't do their metric to English conversion very well, perhaps another factory did. Well, this style fit just like the others I had just tried on: nine-and-a-half was too small, ten was too small, and the ten-and-a-half fit perfectly in width but was about two inches too long. I figured they were made in the same factory as the other ones.

I gave up at that point. I hate shopping for shoes in the first place, but now I was upset because someone didn't do their math correctly. I commented to my wife: "Can't we send our overseas manufacturers a ruler with inches so they can check their sizes before they ship stuff out? It seems we're not doing them or ourselves any favors by keeping the actual length of an inch secret."

In my town there is a shopping center with a Shoe Carnival with a Ross next store. Whenever I'm there for any reason, I always stop at Ross before going to Shoe Carnival because there's always a chance a nice pair of shoes will be for sale there for cents on the dollar.

In Ross, I found a great pair of leather shoes, just right for wearing to work. I grabbed a pair of nine-and-a-half and proceeded to walk around a bit. I practically walked out of them. Disgusted, I grabbed a pair of nines, thinking I might have to go down to eight-and-a-half on this brand. Thankfully, the nines fit perfectly and I left the store getting a great pair of shoes for the same price I would have gotten the Walmart cheapies for.

Am I the only one who has trouble buying clothes and shoes which fit? Aren't sizes supposed to be based on actual inches (or at least their metric equivalents)? Shouldn't one size nine shoe be same as another size nine? If I get a pair of pants with a 34-inch inseam, shouldn't the next pair of pants with a 34-inch inseam be the same length? Am I just being too picky?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dave Ramsey's Town Hall For Hope

I've been a fan of Dave Ramsey since I was introduced to and read his book "The Total Money Makeover" a few months ago. My wife and I are in the process of our own total money makeover and we're very satisfied with how it's going. We are also participating in Dave's Financial Peace University at our church helping others learn how to make their way to financial peace.

Dave's methods are not "get rich quick" schemes nor are they easy. They are time-proven methods to handling money which have been lost to many of us in the last generation or so. He's a straight-shooter and also very funny.

Believe it or not, there is hope right now. Yes, things are tough for many, but there is hope. Please check out the Town Hall for Hope web site, find someplace hosting the event in your area and attend on April 23rd to hear what Dave has to say.

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right

Puzzle me this, Batman:

If debt and overspending got us into this economic mess, how is even more debt and overspending going to get us out of it?

Any thoughts?

Monday, March 23, 2009

But It's Not A Function Of Government

I read a well-written blog post by Danny Sullivan on his Daggle blog, As Obama Turns America Socialist, An American Reflecting On Life In "Socialist" Britain. It's a very well though-out essay using his experience of life in Britain as the basis for belief that Socialism, as it is "across the pond," is a good thing.

He makes an excellent point at the end of his essay that we in America need to get to a place where we are willing to care for those in our society who need assistance. I wholeheartedly agree with this ideal. Where I disagree with Danny is how to accomplish it. His contention is that it should be a function of the Federal Government to provide such care. I, however, believe it is unconstitutional for the federal government to do this and that it's really the function of individuals who can help to fill those needs.

I'm not entirely familiar with the constitution in Great Britain, nor all the ins and outs of their common law. So, it might be well within the purview of government there to provide welfare, universal health care, etc. to her citizens. However, I am familiar enough the the Constitution of the United States to know it is not within the authority of the Federal Government to provide such care.

My question remains: How did it become "OK" for people to rely on government assistance to help fix society's problems? Time was, long ago, that if someone saw a problem they would gather people together who agreed with them and they solved the problem. Many great charitable organizations were started from the idea that we, the people, need to take care of our fellow citizens.

My challenge to those who think the government should solve our problems is to find a way to fix the problems yourself. For example:
  • Is there a large homeless population in your area? Get some like-minded people together and start a homeless shelter. Enlist the aid of some teachers, doctors, and other professionals to volunteer and provide assistance to help people get back onto their feet.
  • Are there a large number of people in your area who don't have access to health care? Get some like-minded people together and start a free clinic. Actively solicit those in need to come in and start taking better care of themselves so they can attempt to head off the need for catastrophic care. Enlist the assistance of medical professionals to provide care and get money donated from the community.

    Can't do that? Then start a foundation and collect money to be used to pay for the doctor, dentist and hospital bills of those who need assistance.
These are just two examples of an unlimited number of potential ways to solve some of society's problems - and none of those need involve the government to do anything. All it takes is some imagination and determination to make things happen.

Chances are there are already charities involved in helping find solutions to issues you care about. Why not join with them and help others?

Lastly, although I firmly believe that is it outside the scope of the Federal Government to provide services outside those outlined in The Constitution, I do not believe it is outside the scope of the state governments. If the citizens in the individual states want them and the state constitution allows them, then I'm all for a state government providing such "socialistic" services.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Congress Versus AIG

Is there anyone else who thinks that members of congress are a bit hypocritical when making such a fuss over the AIG bonus payments?

Here are a bunch of folks who waste more of our money than any other group and vote themselves pay raises every year (again, out of our money). Yet they have the gall to call down "power from on high" to take money away from AIG for paying bonuses? Money which they freely gave away with no strings attached?

If congress really wants to "play fair" with the taxpayers' money, let them pass a law tying their annual pay raise to inflation.

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Because of a Lack Of Accountability

Obama blisters AIG, vows to try to block bonuses

Is it right for President Obama to get upset because AIG decided to pay some of their employees bonuses after they got billions of our tax dollars as a bailout? I don't think so. The money was given to them with no strings attached. AIG wasn't told or made to change how they do business, so why should they? It seems wrong to chastise them after the fact.

There has to be some kind of record for how short a time it took to draft up, pass and have the president sign the legislation which make up the various bailout and stimulus packages. There was no real debate in either house of congress and there certainly wasn't time for regular folks like you and I to read up on and voice our opinions about the various provisions of the laws. Under the guise of "immediacy or disaster" the whole thing was crammed down our throats, seemingly without much forethought or real concern about the ramifications of what might happen when the laws were passed.

The fact is, this entire bailout business was done with little or no accountability. There's no accountability of the recipients of the money to the government. And there certainly was not accountability of the government to the people who will be forced to pay off the bailouts and the stimulus package passed earlier this year.

Or is there?

My friends, you and I have the ultimate in accountability - our votes. It's time to tell those who deign to represent us that we are tired of the patronizing attitude that they know better than we do. It's time to let them know we're tired of their "business as usual." It's time to send a clear message that it's time for change we can REALLY believe in.

If we take it upon ourselves to vote out any and all incumbents who are up for reelection in 2010 we will let them know that we mean business. The ones left there will wake up to the fact that they represent us, the people of this great nation, and not the special interest groups, the corporations nor anyone else. They will realize that a government of the people, by the people and for the people is the real constitutional power in the country.

Please take a moment and think about this. If you are not registered to vote, then register - TODAY! If you are registered to vote, consider making the courageous move to change things and vote against the incumbents. You don't have to change parties, just vote against whomever is in there now either in the primaries or the general election. Let's send a clear message to those in Washington, D.C. that enough is enough.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

How Did They Get Away With Not Paying Their Fair Share?

This past November I described in this space my experience with the IRS. You can read of the whole affair here. The funniest part is, I think they still owe me $2.00.

So, the IRS came after me for just over $1000. It was an honest mistake on my part. But, it was no big deal and I paid it willingly.

So this brings to mind the question: How did 4 people appointed by President Obama to head some government department or another get away with not paying tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes? How is it that they all-of-the-sudden remembered they forgot to pay all this money to the IRS? How is it that the IRS was able to find the one thousand I owed them, but they couldn't find the tens of thousands these other people owed? They came after me for two dollars. Why didn't they go after these other folks for tens of thousands of dollars?

This all smacks of hypocrisy and favoritism to me. I wonder how many "regular folks" like me have been harassed by the IRS. I also wonder how many "politicos" have had their tax irregularities ignored.

If we want to talk about folks paying their fair share - lets start right now with elected and appointed government officials. Or is it that some are "more equal than others."

My Daylight Savings Time Story

I hate changing the clocks twice a year. It makes no sense to me at all. I can't see where it will save energy, boost industrial productivity, make the streets safer or provide any other benefit. Perhaps when ours was a more agrarian society it made sense, but now it does not.

Today I woke up at 7:45 am, which yesterday would have been 6:45 am. I forgot to change my alarm clock yesterday, so I was an hour behind. When I checked my phone for messages, it displayed a message which read that it had been updated for Daylight Savings Time. Funny thing was, it was still showing the time as one hour earlier than it really was.

I went downstairs and sat in front of the computer to check email. It showed the correct time, but no message that it had updated automatically. So, in my pre-caffeinated stupor I set the time back and hour to match the incorrect time on my phone.

I thought I had PLENTY of time to get ready. I leisurely checked my email, caught up on Twitter, ate my cereal and drank my coffee, took a shower; all the time thinking I was way ahead of schedule.

It wasn't until my friend, Jim, called asking me if I was going to show up for band practice. "Yes," I replied, thinking he was rather anxious. "We're leaving in a few minutes. Why, what's up?"

"Dude, it's 9:20. Did you forget to change your clocks?" Yes, I had. I didn't want to admit it, but I had. This is the first time in many years I missed a time change.

Things worked out OK even though I was very late and we had a couple good laughs at my expense.

I wonder how many other thousands had the same problem this morning? One day I might move to Arizona to get away from this time-changing mess.