Thursday, September 29, 2005

Senate Confirms Roberts As Chief Justice

From Yahoo! News:

Senate Confirms Roberts As Chief Justice (AP)(2 mins ago)WASHINGTON - John Glover Roberts Jr. became the 17th chief justice of the United States Thursday, overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate to lead the Supreme Court through turbulent social issues for generations to come.The Senate voted 78-22 to confirm Roberts -- a 50-year-old U.S. Appeals judge from the Washington suburb of Chevy Chase, Md. -- as the successor to the late William H. Rehnquist, who died earlier this month. All of the Senate's majority Republicans, and about half ofthe Democrats, voted for Roberts.
To find out how your senator voted on Justice Roberts confirmation, visit

Judge Roberts Confirmation Vote

The Senate is scheduld to vote on the confirmation of Judge Roberts for Supreme Court Chief Justice in one hour, at 11:30 am EDT.

More to follow. ...


Monday, September 26, 2005

Palm Unveils Windows Mobile Device

The world will never be the same.

And so it begins: Microsoft has finally made their way into the final frontier: the Palm handheld. Most Palm enthusiasts are livid.

The predecessor to the Palm device was developed at Tandy corporation in 1989 by eventual Palm, Inc., founder Jeff Hawkins, and was named the Zoomer, after "Consumer." I was a Store Manager at Radio Shack when the Tandy Zoomer was still in production in 1994. Microsoft was still nonexistent in the handheld computing business.

Palm Computing was formally incorporated in 1992 with Jeff Hawkins as the only employee. Jeff Hawkins Zoomer was first released in 1993 and, by 1994, 10,000 Zoomers had been sold -- a fraction of what Tandy (the retailer) and Casio (the manufacturer) had anticipated.

Jeff Hawkins next development was the Touchdown, a handheld device that would fit in a shirt pocket. By 1996, hardware and software development was nearly complete. The Touchdown was subsequently renamed Taxi, and later Pilot, and thus the popular Palm Pilot was born. Over the course of ten years, over 38 million devices running the Palm operating system have been sold.

Palm has had a cult following, with devoted Palm Loyalists hosting such blog-style websites as Palm Addicts, 1SRC (One Source), Palm Loyal, Palm Forums, Palm Focus, Palm Insider, and Palm Inspired, just to name a few. There are "PUGs" -- Palm User Groups -- throughout the world. And probably the greatest thing these cultists have in common is an absolute revulstion of the Windows Mobile operating system by Microsoft.

Today, the two worlds came crashing together, as the CEO of Palm, Chairman of Microsoft, and CEO of Verizon Wireless gathered together to announce the release of a brand new Palm device -- the latest in the Palm Treo family -- running Windows Mobile 5. You can read the press release here and view the 59 minute press conference here (56k connection).

Will it be the end of the Palm operating system? Many think it may, as the spun-off company that develops the Palm OS -- PalmSource -- is in the process of being acquired by Access Software, a Japanese software company that creates a mobile web browser for handheld devices.

I started out my handheld experience using a Citizen pocket organizer that sold for $130. I dabbled with Casio pocket organziers and found them lacking before settling on the Sharp Wizard pocket organizer. At the time, I was very anti-Palm OS, telling everyone that I thought it was ridiculous, using a sytlus on a touch screen to enter data. I insisted on a keyboard. I later upgraded to the Diamond Mako -- the U.S. release of the Psion Revo so popular in Europe -- which was based on the Epoc platform. It sold for nearly $400 and had a unique keyboard that actually enabled almost real typing.

But alas, all good things must end, and one day my Diamond Mako bit the dust. As they were no longer in production (Psion pulled out of the handheld market), I had only two choices at the time: Microsoft's Windows Mobile (then called Windows CE, and later Pocket PC), and the Palm operating system.

My wife had a Palm M100 that I bought her as a gift. She never adjusted to using the thing, so I gave it a try, and the rest is history. Since then, I have had the M105, M125, M130, Zire 71, and currently the Zire 72.

I don't personally have much of a problem with Palm using the Windows Mobile platform. It will likely gain them better access to the business market. However, I do hope they continue to produce ture Palm Powered handhelds. I've grown quite used to the Palm OS, and my Palm Zire 72 goes with me almost everywhere I go. I can't imagine how I could ever adjust to another operting system.

So don't abandon us, Palm. You have a lot of Palm Loyalists out there hoping you'll do the right thing.


Weekly News Brief

I attempted to post a podcast this morning, but there's some issue with the phone lines, so here's my weekly News Brief:

100,000 antiwar protesters gathered at the National Mall in Washington on Saturday to speak out against the war in Iraq. Approximately 400 people gatheredin the same location to show their support for American troops overseas.

Hurricane Rita came and went, causing much less damage than predicted and taking very few lives. Government officials score high marks for preparedness. Some actually say they went from one extreme to the other.

In an effort to boost aid to Hurricane Katrina victims, Beach Boys front man Brian Wilson promises to personally call anyone who donates $100 or more and to match all donations of $100 or more posted from his site. Read the story here:

CEOs of Microsoft, Palm, and Verizon will hold a joint press conference Monday at 9:00 A.M. Pacific Time. It is anticipated they will announce the first ever Palm device to run the Windows Mobile operating system. You can register to view video of the conference here:

Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Roberts will go before the full Senate for confirmation this week. While he is expected to be confirmed by a majority, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh (D) and New York Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton (D), among others, have both announced that they will vote against JudgeRoberts.

Have a great week!


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

It's Not as Bad as You Think

I was reading a news article yesterday from MSNBC. The article ran down a list of the many issues affecting our nation and the world today:

Hurricane Rita
Hurricane Katrina
The Iraq War
Judge John Roberts for Chief Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor's Unnamed Successor
Social Security Reform
The High Cost of Oil
Protesters Marching on Washington
North Korea and Nuclear Power
Iran and Nuclear Power
Israel and Palestine

As I was reading, it struck me that some of my problems may not be so big after all:

Driving 4 hours a day to Work and back
Stress at work
Paying the bills
The price of gas
Having a two-year old son
Having a pregnant wife

The list could go on and on, but somehow it just pales in comparison to the many worries of President Bush, and I'm sure there are several more the American public doesn't know about.

See, it isn't as bad as you think.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Senator Bayh Opposes Judge Roberts

If you thought Senator John Kerry was a flip-flopper, consider the following contradictions from Senator Bayh himself:

Senator Bayh's comments before the Senate Judiciary Committee while introducing Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee Judge Roberts:

Today Senator Bayh made the following flip-flop announcement:
As you can see, Senator Bayh now OPPOSES the "fellow Hoosier" who is "so talented and so successful" that Senator Bayh was "proud" to introduce to the Senate Judiciary committee. Why? Not because he isn't qualified, because Judge Roberts is highly qualified for this position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Senator Bayh opposes Judge Roberts for only two reasons:

1- Senator Bayh is a Democrat, and Judge Roberts is a Conservative Strict Constructionist who will INTERPRET the Constitution, not legislate from the bench. All Democrats FEAR such a Justice on the Supreme Court.

2- While Democrats would ask Judge Roberts to pledge to vote one way or another on key issues, Judge Roberts refused to discuss such issues that might come before the court as it might have an unfair outcome on potential future cases.

The bottom line is, Judge John Roberts is much more qualified for the post of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court than Senator Bayh is for his current office, much less the Office of President of the United States.

If you live in Indiana, contact Senator Bayh today to voice your support for Judge John Roberts. you can reach him via email from his official website, by mail, or by calling one (or all) of his offices at the numbers listed here.

If you do not live in Indiana but are an American citizen and plan to vote in the next Presidential election, be sure to cast your vote AGAINST Senator Evan Bayh, from the Primary through the General Election.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Book Review: Eldest (and Eragon) by Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini started writing his first book, Eragon, at the age of fifteen. He became a New York Times bestselling author when it was published in his nineteenth year. I read Eragon, and thought it was a wonderful book. I'm not a big fan of fantasy (to be a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy does not require that you be a fan of fantasy), but something about the book intrigued me when I first saw it. I picked it up and couldn't put it back down.

Christopher Paolini weaves a tale of action, adventure, and mystery, and creates truly believeable characters in truly realistic worlds, much as Tolkien himself did. After reading Eragon (which I highly recommend), I eagerly awaited book two of this author's planned trilogy - Eldest.

I'm sad to say that I made it through 116 pages of Christopher Paolini's latest addition to his Inheritance trilogy. I found Eldest to be a much more difficult read than it's predecessor. The author seems to try to delve deeper into the Tolkien style and goes so far as to create his own language for the book -- a language which he uses frequently as characters converse with no direct translation for the reader. Not only is it very exhausting trying to phonetically sound out the arcane words, but there is no reward to the task as you have no idea what you've read when you reach the end of a sentence. Of course, the author has planted some contextual clues throughout to hint at the conversation, but after a few sentences of gibberish, I found it difficult to remember what the context of the story was. That's the main reason I didn't finish Tolkien's Silmarillion.

Unfortunately, I don't anticipate that I'll be finishing Eldest, and I assume that means it will be difficult for me to read book three in the trilogy when it is published. I may try anyway. I'm sure Mr. Paolini is quite a gifted author, but I prefer my reading to be a pleasant relaxing experience, not a taxing test of my ability to decipher code. Eragon was a very pleasant read. Eldest, on the other hand, was not.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Kings Island -- At Last

Yesterday, finally, was Kings Island day. We actually managed to get up, get ready, and be pulling out of the driveway by 8:00 am, and that's no small feat when my wife and son sometimes sleep in until 8:30.

After a three-hour drive, we arrived at the gates to Kings Island. My son seemed excited but had no idea, really, what to expect. I'll cover the highlights.

My son is only two years old ("only two," I say, when he seems to be growing so fast). Most of the rides at Kings Island are intended for children over three. And obviously, many of the roller coasters are meant for children much older than three.

My son's first amusement park ride was a very lame airplane ride. I rode it with him, and he did not seem at all impressed.

My wife and I both rode Scooby Doo's Enchanted Theater with him. He got just a little spooked once or twice, but seemed to enjoy himself for the most part.

The best ride of the day, however, for my little train-loving buddy, was a ride through the wooded area around the park on a train pulled by a fully-functioning steam locomotive. There was no mistaking my son's excitement as the train pulled into the station whistle blowing to pick us up for our ride. We took a picture of him sitting in the Engineer's seat, and he got a very close-up view of the engine after the ride.

Other highlights included the Huckleberry (Hound) ice cream I have only ever seen at Kings Island -- it's blueberry flavored -- and a caricature artist drawing a rather accurate likeness of my son.

I think we all had a good time, the weather cooperated, and even if my son doesn't remember it when he's older, his mother and I always will. After all, who ever said that childhood memories aren't for parents, too?


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

fwd: From the Office of Senator Evan Bayh

Approximately two weeks ago I sent a respectful letter to both United States Senators from Indiana -- Democrat Evan Bayh and Republican Richard Lugar -- voicing my desire that they simply support a fair up-or-down confirmation vote of Chief Justice nominee John Roberts. I didn't suggest how they should vote, I merely asked them to support a fair vote.Senator Lugar's office responded quite quickly by mail with an open declaration of support for Judge Roberts. Here is the non-committal response I received from Senator Bayh's office:

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 15:03:00 -0500
Subject: From the Office of Senator Evan Bayh

September 16, 2005


Thank you for contacting me regarding President Bush's recent nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice to the United States Supreme Court. I appreciate your thoughts and concerns on this issue. Please be assured that I take my duty to give advice and consent on Presidential appointments very seriously, and will carefully review this nominee. I look forward to learning more about Judge Roberts during his confirmation hearings which begin September 12, 2005.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope the information I have provided is helpful. My website,, can provide additional details about legislation and state projects, and you can also sign up to receive my monthly e-newsletter, The Bayh Bulletin, by clicking on the link at the top of my homepage. I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you.

Best wishes,

Evan Bayh
United States Senator

-----End of Message-----

Am I the only one that considers that a lame excuse for a response? It sounds like he's more concerned with driving hits to his website than addressing my concerns. He didn't even address the issue of an up-or-down vote, only that he would "carefully review this nominee." And did you notice that the FROM address is a NO REPLY address. In fact, if you email Mr. Bayh at his Senate email address, you receive an auto-reply that your comments have not been received because you didn't use the webform on his website to submit.

Senator Bayh, I too can "carefully review" before supporting a candidate with my vote. I take my responsibility to send my representatives to Washington very seriously, as well, and I will vote accordingly.

Fellow Voter, I encourage you to do the same.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Kings Island Mix Up

Today was supposed to be the day we took our son to his first amusement park: Paramount's Kings Island. We got free tickets from my sister for Procter & Gamble annual private event at the park.

We got up this morning and set out on the 3-1/2 hour drive, despite the rain, with a stop planned at my sister's to pick up the tickets. I could have had her mail them to us, but she wanted to see my son again, so I thought the polite thing to do was make the detour to pick up the tickets on the way.

We arrive at my sister's house in Ohio and had a brief visit with her, her husband, and my dad who rode down on his motorcycle to see us. It was nice to see them all again, but as the clouds started to roll in again we thought it best to make it a short visit and get to Kings Island before the rain did.

We stopped at a gas station on the way just around the corner from my sister's house, and my wife called out to me from the car. "Look at this," she said, handing me the tickets.

I looked them over and said, "What?"

She pointed out the dates on the tickets, which said that they were good for Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18 only.

Scroll up a little to the top of this entry and you'll notice the problem: today is Friday, September 16. "I told you I thought it was always on Saturday and Sunday."

My wife was a little disappointed, but I think it actually turned out for the best. We did a little shopping as the rain kept falling, and I'm off on Sundays, so we'll be able to return in two days.

The forecast for Sunday is mostly sunny, and lots of fun.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Product Review - Lucas Fuel Treatment

With the insanely high gas prices, everyone is looking for better gas mileage these days. I'm sure there are many effective methods, and I've recently stumbled onto one of them myself. This is not an advertisement or endorsement, just a product review like so many of the book reviews I've done here in the past. But when I find a product that works, I like to share it.

I've been tracking my gas mileage on my Palm Zire 72 since July. My average gas mileage during that time has been 30.72 miles per gallon. That's not bad, really, but I drive a 4-cylinder Ford Focus and believe I should be getting even better gas mileage. I recently stumbled across a product by Lucas Oil Products, Inc., called Hi-Performance Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubricant and Injector Cleaners (or, more simply, Lucas Fuel Treatment). It's labeled as "Tune-Up In A Bottle -- The Complete Fuel Treatment." It's suitable for use in both gasoline and diesel engines and claims to INCREASE power and fuel economy and DECREASE pinging, dieseling, emission and hesitations by cleaning the carbon from the combustion chamber and lubricating carburetors, injectors, and valve seats. I don't know about all that, but I do know how it affected my gas mileage.

As I said, my average gas mileage since July 5th has been 30.72 miles per gallon. While on vacation, I added half a 5.25 oz bottle to a full tank of gas (a full bottle treats up to 25 gallons, and my car only has a 13 gallon tank). I drove 186 miles, mostly interstate, and recorded 38.48 miles per gallon. That's an improvement of almost eight miles per gallon over the average.

Three days later, I dumped the remainder of the bottle into a full tank of gas. I drove 228 miles mostly in town and recorded 34.19 miles per gallon, an improvement of 3-1/2 miles per gallon over the average.

That might not seem like much of an increase, but let me break it down for you.

I drive 85 miles one way to work five days per week. That's 170 miles per day just to get to work and back, or 850 miles per week. At my average of 30.72 miles per gallon, I burn almost 28 gallons of gasoline per week. At $2.969 per gallon, I spend $82.15 per week in gasoline ($355.98 per month, $4271.80 per year).

If I can get my average up to the 34.19 miles per gallon I'm getting with Lucas, I'll be burning just under 25 gallons of gasoline per week. At the same $2.969 per gallon, I would then spend $73.81 per week (a savings of $8.34), $319.85 per month (a savings of $36.13), or $3838.25 per year (an annual savings of $433.55). The Lucas Fuel Treatment currently costs me $2 per bottle, or $1 per full tank of gas. That equals approximately $26 per year for the fuel treatment. When you account for the added expense of purchasing the fuel treatment, I'm still saving $407.55 per year on gasoline. That's money taken OUT of the coffers of the big oil companies and put right back into my own bank account.

I don't know about you, but I can use the savings AND the better gas mileage. I'll be using Lucas Fuel Treatment regularly. You can find outmore by visiting Lucas Oil Products, Inc., online.

Lucas Fuel Treatment is probably available at your local automotive store, and gasonline is available on nearly every street corner (though an occasional stop at your local automotive store to pick up a few bottles of Lucas Fuel Treatment will cut down the number of stops you're making at those street corners).

Take my word for it and try some today.


Friday, September 9, 2005

Music, Parties, and Squished Bugs

Today is my first day back to work after eight nice, long vacation days. Not long enough, but still nice. It never seems to be long enough, no matter how many days I take.

It was nice, though. We celebrated my son's second birthday by getting a full "Thomas and Friends" train set for him, then drove to see my family in Ohio for an impromptu birthday party for my son. I haven't seen my brother or sister since my son's first birthday party, so it was nice to get together.

I took my wife to the cool new scrapbooking stores while we were there, as well as a few of the major retailers we don't have in Smalltown, Indiana.

We made a quick trip to the Outlet stores in Edinburgh, Indiana, and Columbus, Indiana, and just had a nice enjoyable time at home.

My son loves ducks. He's a nut about ducks. One of his first five words was "duck." We took him to one of the local parks to let him feed the ducks, which we do every now and then. He sat on the ground surrounded by duck droppings and slowly tossed his bread crumbs to the 20-some ducks that gathered round. One duck even came up and nibbled on his shoe. If I got as close to them as he did, I would probably have been attacked, but somehow the ducks must sense that he meant them no harm.

My son starts Musikgarten classes next week, and his pre-class homework is to listen to the music they'll use in class and get familiar with it. He loves music (I do, too, but his love of music runs so deep that he must have inherited it from his mother). The class CD came with two wooden dowels about eight inches long and almost an inch in diameter that he's to use to make music of his own with, clapping them together to the beat of the music. He gets so into it, and with such rhythm (another thing he must have inherited from his mother), that he'll probably take over the class when he gets there.

Last night, while listening to his music, he did something else amazing. There was a fly buzzing around the TV, and our Dalmatian (who usually seeks and destroys all flies and crickets that invade our home) was having a little trouble locating it. My son, in between songs, walked up to the TV and with the end of one of his wooden dowels reached out and squished the fly on his first attempt. The first bug he's ever killed, and the fly never saw it coming.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. Vacation is over, and I'm back at work, sitting at my desk, in my office, writing this on my Palm Zire with my Wireless Keyboard and posting it by email with my Wireless Modem. The fun is over for now, and I'm not quite back in the swing of things yet. I'm ready for another vacation already.....

Next Friday, we take our son on his first trip to Paramount's King's Island. It will be another day of smiles, laughter, and new memories made. I'm looking forward to it like I look forward to all of my time with my wife and son -- with eager anticipation.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Book ReviewI've read each book in the Harry Potter series, obviously, though none of them are reviewed here. The latest in the series is another gargantuan 600+ page book like Order of the Phoenix was. I don't understand how such young kids manage to get through 600 pages, and often in only one or two sittings! It took me nearly two weeks to read this book, and one week of that I was on vacation and had more time to read than I normally do.

I found the book at times to be just a bit slow-paced. I guess what I mean is that there seemed to be what I thought was unnecessary story development. That is, until I reached the last 150 pages or so, which I did read all in one sitting. The pace picked up quite a bit around page 500, and the story development I had considered unnecessary began to make more sense to me. I insisted, at this point, upon completing the book before turning in for the night.


It has been well documented since the book hit the shelves that someone dies at the end. Well documented, but also well guarded. I hadn't gone looking for the identity of the departed before reading the book, but I also never stumbled upon it accidentally -- a testimony to the fans of Harry Potter who would rather see you read the entire book than to get the news the easy way.

Well, I would rather see you read the entire book than to find out the easy way, as well, but for those of you who are just dying to know, I'll tell you. If you don't want to know, don't worry, just read past the white space in this posting and you'll be safe. For those who can't wait to find out, use your mouse to select the hidden text in the following white space, and the secret will be revealed.


If you've been a reader of the Potter series since the beginning, you've probably had many of the same suspicions about Professor Severus Snape as Harry himself has had. Well, each and every one of them is proven true in The Half Blood Prince. From the very beginning of the story, when Professor Snape promises to protect and guard Draco Malfoy, you'll find your guard up. Many time throughout the story, the author tries to set your mind at ease, even having Professor Dumbledore -- the Hogwarts Headmaster -- declare his complete and total trust of Professor Snape. Only to find in the end that Professor Snape, before running off with Draco Malfoy and a pair of Death Eaters, uses the Ava Kadavra spell to kill none other than Professor Dumbledore himself. That's right, the man you would least expect to see go, has gone. His portrait now hangs among the other deceased Headmasters and Headmistresses in what was until now his office. Of course, this is a world of witchcraft and wizardry. I'm sure the author could write some explanation into a future episode to bring Professor Dumbledore back, but I just don't think it will happen.


Was that as shocking to you as it was to me? I started to suspect it before it actually happened, but for reasons other than what actually occurred. And so much more was revealed at the same time -- things that many Harry Potter fans have suspected all along, and others that most would never have guessed.

If asked to pick a favorite Potter episode, I don't know that I could. The Half Blood Prince would definitely be in the running.

As for who the Half-Blood Prince is, well, for some things you'll just have to read the book yourself.


California Gov. Schwarzeneger to Veto Gay Marriage Bill?

The California State Senate and State Assembly have passed a Bill that would legalize homosexual marriage in the state.

TAKE ACTION/FOR MORE INFORMATION: If you are a resident of California, please see the California Family Alliance Web site to review the legislation and to see how your lawmakers voted. Let them know how you feel about their vote.

Just as importantly, please contact Gov. Schwarzenegger and ask him to veto AB 849. Please be courteous and respectful. Comments made in a hostile manner, threats, anger, ire, disrespect or unbecoming language will detract from the impact of your message.

And to find out more about "Protect Marriage" -- a state constitutional amendment to protect the traditional definition of marriage -- please see

UPDATE: Governor Schwarzeneger has vowed to VETO AB849. Read the Governor's statement by clicking here.

Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Vacation (Part Two)

As I write this, I prepare for the last of eight vacation days: vacation days that had to be taken before they were forfeited. In June I wrote of how hard we work just to earn a few days of vacation to spend with our family. Then with most companies we reach a time of the year where it's use it or lose it. If I didn't take these final vacation days before September 20, I would have lost them completely with no compensation whatsoever. Hardly seems fair.

So here I am today, with only one day of vacation remaining before returning to work tomorrow. It has been hectic at times, relaxing at others, and always enjoyable. I greatly value the times like these that I get to spend with my son, who turned two years old on the first of these eight vacation days.

It will be difficult going back to work after spending so much time with my son. Difficult for him as well, I imagine. I hate to think of him on Friday morning asking for "Dada" when he wakes up, only to learn that I'm not there to play with his trains with him, or wrestle on the couch, or push
him on the swing.

Why is it that the most wonderful things in life tend to cause us so much heartache? My greatest pleasure is spending time with my son. My worst heartache will be leaving him for work tomorrow morning.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Support Judge Roberts for Chief Justice

In light of the passing of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, President Bush has named proposed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor replacement Judge John Roberts to replace William Rehnquist as the 17th Chief Justice to serve on the nation's highest court.

This leaves Justice O'Connor's position as yet to be filled. Justice O'Connor has stated that she would remain on the court until her replacement has been confirmed.

With the increased scrutiny Judge Roberts will receive as Chief Justice candidate, it is now more important than ever that you contact your Senators and voice your support for Judge Roberts.

President Bush now has the rare opportunity to appoint two Supreme Court Justices that will interpret law rather than legislate from the bench. Let your voice be heard: support your President by supporting Judge Roberts today.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Monday, September 5, 2005

TAKE ACTION: Support Judge John Roberts

President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, Judge John Roberts, will begin the process of Senate confirmation tomorrow. Judge Roberts is extremely qualified for this position.

He served in two high-level positions in the Department of Justice, where his responsibilities included litigating on behalf of the United States. He is among the very few of the Supreme Court bar to argue 39 cases before the high court, and his peers call him "one of the very best and most highly respected appellate lawyers in the nation." He was approved by unanimous consent for his current post on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has served with distinction since 2003.

Take a few moments right now to contact BOTH of your United States Senator and urge them to give Judge Roberts a fair up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. Tell them that you are OPPOSED to filibustering the President's nominees.

You can use the link below to contact your Senators today.

Stand up and TAKE ACTION!


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Average Joe Blogs is Moving

For the past six months I have maintained my Blog on my ISP-provided webspace at Verizon. I have throughout that time been very disappointed with the connection speed of Verizon DSL. It has literally been slower than dial-up on several occasions. My wife has convinced me to switch to Road Runner by Time Warner. We will (for less than the price of Verizon DSL plus Verizon local and long distance phone service) receive Road Runner High Speed at ten times faster than DSL, unlimited local and long distance with the same phone number, plus basic cable service. The catch: limited webspace for hosting my Blog. I will therefore be using my Blogspot address to post my full Blog rather than just a Welcome page, and I will only have the current Podcast posted, rather than continuous archives.

We'll be making the call to switch providers on Tuesday, and I'll be relocating Blog posts in the meantime.

If you haven't already done so, update your bookmarks to My email address remains

Don't go away, because there's more to come.


Sunday, September 4, 2005

Update to the Sex Offenders File

There is hope yet for those of us who don't want convicted Sex Offenders living in our neighborhood.

A small town in Texas has recently passed a law that effectively makes it illegal for convicted Sex Offenders to live in their city. The law states that convicted Sex Offenders cannot live within one thousand feet of any place where children gather. As the town is very small, the new law applies to every home in town but one.

And if that's not enough to restore your faith in the criminal justice system, consider McNeil Island in Washington state, currently housing 225 of Washington's most violent sexual predators. The catch: these convicted Sex Offenders can be kept on this island for "treatment" even after their sentence has been served.

So don't give up hope just yet. Instead stand up, speak up, and take action. We can only change these laws if we act together.

Take action today!


Thursday, September 1, 2005

Updates to the Losing Our Home File

Today is my son's birthday, so today's Blog Entry and Podcast were prepared in advance. The topic: the latest updates about our landlord trying to sell our house.

August 24, 3:30 pm

We got up this morning and finished our planned cleaning, then decided to get away from the house for the day.

Before we left, the landlord called again to tell me what time Bill would be over to do the last storm window. She said he was also going to put a coat of paint on the porch. That set my wife off (she's been complaining about the appearance of the porch all summer). To my shock when I walked out the front door to leave, she had snuck outside, dug up all of her plants in the front, and thrown them -- dirt and all -- all over the front porch. I swept the porch off before we left, because I still have to get a good reference from these people. And I think I'll use that tonight by saying someone vandalized our flowerbed over night.

August 24, 9:30

The landlord and her "prospective buyer" showed up almost exactly at 6:00 pm. The landlord was very rude to me right from the beginning, barely acknowledging me when I talked to her. That, of course, set my plan differently.

My wife was in the yard pushing my son on the swing, which was probably the safest place for her to be (safest for the landlord, I mean). The people looking at the house were a young couple.

I was very gracious to them, and pretended to do my best to be helpful. The things we did to make the house seem smaller seemed to work. It was hilarious watching them squeeze their way through the bedroom.

At one point outside I asked the landlord about signing a letter of reference for me. She said, "We'll talk about that after they leave. Well, I'll sign it," she continued, "but we were a little upset that you guys threw the flowers all over the porch and the yard. It was like you didn't want the place to look good. Bill was really pissed."

"We didn't do it," I lied. "I found them all over the porch when I went to leave this morning. I tried to sweep it up and clean off the porch a bit, but I had to leave for a meeting for work."

"Do you know who did it?" she asked skeptically.

"No, but they took my hose spooler, too. I don't know who it was. My wife's car was broken into a couple weeks ago, too."

I don't know if she believed me or not, but she quickly shifted gears. "I was shocked to see the bright colors," she said, referring to the green office, brown-gold living room, and blue-gray bedroom.

"I told you we were going to paint," I said.

"I told you it was okay to paint the baby's room blue, but to keep the other colors neutral," she said.

My wife had just walked out the door and put in her two cents, "No you didn't."

I chimed in with, "I don't remember you saying anything about keeping it neutral. I thought we would be living here a few more years, and I figured we'd just repaint it white when we moved out if you didn't like it." Of course, I have no intention of doing that now.

"That dark color in the living room makes it look smaller, to me," she complained.

I don't really know how to gauge the couple that was looking at the house. They were a hard read. I guess we'll find out eventually. Either way, we'll be moving out of here as soon as we can.

When they were done looking, they walked out to the landlord's van and talked for probably five minutes before driving off in different directions. The landlord never came back up to the house, and she never signed our letter of reference.

August 26, 8:30 pm

The goofy landlord just called to give me the "good news" that the couple who recently invaded our home has decided not to buy it. Of course, that is good news for us because now we don't have to rush to find a new place to live before some unexpected closing date arrives. We'll be signing a new one-year lease next week and will immediately start looking for our first home to purchase. It'll be just a little less stressful for not having to rush.

As for this house, the damage has already been done. We've already been betrayed by our landlord, our home has already been invaded, and we just don't feel very much at home here anymore.

Our landlord, of course, was once again kissing up to me and being polite as she could possibly be. Naturally -- she needs us as renters once again. This time, I believe, the joke will be on her.


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