Does the federal government own a Photoshop license?

The news and blogs are all abuzz about the low flying jets over New York City. Evidently, these jets are a result of some desire to photograph Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty.

Air Force One

I don’t understand this! Surely there are a million pictures of Air Force One. There are probably a billion pictures of Lady Liberty. With a bit of talent using Photoshop these two icons could have been combined. This would have saved a reported $300,000 and not caused panic in the most populated city in the USA.

And there was a legitimate reason for that panic. It was less than 8 years ago that this city was bombed with planes by terrorists. Of course, that was under a different President so our Executive memory doesn’t go back that far.

Burning Towers
Image from Ron Pass

Does a party even mean anything?

Senator Specter just announced that he is switching parties from Republican to Democrat?  Does this mean anything?  Should it mean anything?

If the Democrat Party is so similar in its intent and stature to the Republican party that a politician can easily switch then it is likely that there is no reason to have either party. What values does a party have if they are so obscure that you can join one and then the other without looking like a fool?

Sen. Specter says in his declaration “I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.”  This begs the question: doesn’t every politician do that? I have a deep feeling that they don’t but they should.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East

This is a great book.  Everyone should read it (or listen to it). 

I just finished the Audible version of this book.  It was excellent.  Here are some learnings:

  • James Earl Carter was more incompetent than even I thought he was.
  • William Jefferson Clinton was not as incompetent at Carter, but he was close.
  • George Walker Bush did a pretty good job with most of the Mideast, did a plausible job of getting rid of Saddam (which the book admits had to happen) and then bungled the reconstruction.  Okay, this really wasn’t a big learning but it was worth noting.
  • Ronald Wilson Reagan did an excellent job with the Middle East as did Nixon and Ford.  George Herbert Walker Bush barely gets a mention which is surprising since he put together the coalition to kick Iraq out of Kuwait.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-04-26

  • I hate rainy days and Mondays and the way this one is going it is worse when they are combined. #
  • Dead laptop! There are times like today that I absolutely hate technology (or that I have become dependent on it). #
  • Will Oracle own the whole IT industry? Is Larry secretly that villain from a James Bond film? #
  • Forbes says the Cinti Reds are worth $342M. They play in a park that cost $325M in 2003. Seems like a bad investment. #
  • Video blogs suck. Unless you have a voice like Walter Cronkite or look like a Playboy bunny – just type! #
  • Beautiful day. 80 degrees. Lots of yard work. Eldest son tried out for college basketball. Daughter 1st in cheer. Youngest – baseball 2nite #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-04-19

  • Happy Easter to all! #
  • Great Spring Break so far. Taking eldest son to visit potential colleges. Great father-son time! #
  • Back from college visits. 8 colleges in 4 days plus an evening at Cleveland Cavaliers. Great week. I’m tired. Time to go to work to relax. #
  • AAU basketball is fantastic. Nowhere else can you see this much high school basketball so cheaply. #

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Should scientists stay out of politics

Interesting post over at “Is It Getting Warmer?“.  It is a discussion of scientists and their thirst for getting too involved in politics.

It is an unfortunate turn of events that most big scientific discussions (such as global warming, in this case) turn into political discussions.  This could include other things such as abortion, stem cell research, and the teaching of evolution in the classroom.  All of these things have a strong scientific discussion which implies that there is a truth somewhere.  However, in these cases, the truth is not clear cut and the science is probably not solid.  In most of these cases, there is some level of gray in the conversation and much of what is discussed as fact is simply hypothesis.

Too politically correct

I have had enough with being politically correct!  I just don’t get it.  When 96 percent of African-Americans obviously chose to vote for a man because of his color, the rest of the world has the right to comment on his color.  I do not begrudge the man appealing to the minority group that he belongs to.  That is exactly what happens in a representative government.  It is why in some voting districts a person that was a Jew or a Catholic or woman cannot win.  Frankly, it is why in some districts a Republican or a Democrat can’t win.

Stories that Walgreens is putting the spike on “Chia Obama” get my gander up.  After all, a chia pet is almost always a gag gift.  Why can’t it be a gag gift about a particular person?