RANT: Anyone remember the 19 Americans hostage in Egypt


The Brewing Egyptian Hostage Crisis
Posted by Alan W. Dowd  on Feb 10th, 2012

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Nineteen American citizens working for well-known and well-established nonprofit groups are being held on trumped-up charges that they tried to destabilize Egypt. Their offices were raided in late December, some are holed up in the U.S. embassy and all of them have been barred from flying out of Egypt. As Time magazine notes, December is significant. December is when Congress passed a number of conditions for aid to the Egyptian military, including proving a “commitment to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, progress toward democratic reforms, and the protection of free expression, association and religion.” Not only are the last two of those conditions not being met by Egypt, but Time adds that Cairo’s case against the Americans is “propagated by the military-led regime.”

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Never hear anything about this?

Remember Jimmy Carter?

See any similarities?

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MONEY: The stretch IRA to be killed


Personal Finance
2/08/2012 @ 3:40PM
Congress May Crush Key Tool For IRA Inheritors
Deborah L. Jacobs, Forbes Staff

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Let’s hope there’s enough of a public outcry that this legislation doesn’t pass. If it does, owners of traditional IRAs will have one more reason to convert them to Roth accounts. For more about Roth conversions, see my post, “Smart Moves For Battered IRAs” and two sophisticated strategies described here and here by Forbes Associate Editor Ashlea Ebeling. Meantime, stay tuned.
Hat tip to financial planner Michael Kirsh and CPA Robert Keebler for calling the pending legislation to my attention.

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More bad advice. Pay taxes now rather than later? Guess what tax rates in the future or ROIs will be. I never liked IRAs or 401Ks just because it put you at the mercy of the future politicians and bureaucrats. Argh!

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RANT: Flash Editorials February 18, 2012, by Russell D. Longcore

Flash Editorials February 18, 2012, by Russell D. Longcore:

“Entertainment: Have you ever had someone in your life that was an addict? You watch this amazing person self-destruct and you are powerless to stop it. Meanwhile, it tears out your heart and messes up your life. Whitney Houston landed on this earth with stunning beauty, immense singing talent and a heart filled with love. She just could not seem to love herself. I will miss her. “

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Well said.

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SERVICE: Anther horror story of an old computer failing

On Saturday, I visited an old Jasper in the hospital. He was in for an emergency tune up. Hope he’s out by now. But, to the point, he was telling me his troubles with an unbacked up old Windoze box that was giving him fits. And, his family’s designated stuckee for tech support. Last time, he went through this, I pitched Mozy, Carbonite, or Pogoplug. Reprised that song.

On Sunday, I heard from a relative who’s old unbacked up Windoze box was circling the proverbial bowl. (Seems like “unbacked up” goes with “old Windoze box”.) Reprise my backup song.

Now I realize I’m crazed about it. Two belts and two suspenders.

My photos are on three live boxes, sugarsynced, carbonited, and pogopluged.

My data is on two live boxes, dropboxed, carbonited, and pogopluged.

Special projects are on one, two, or three live boxes, dropboxed, carbonited, and pogopluged. AND, boxneted.

I’ve lost work to Microsoft’s crappy solutions before.

Sure it’s messy, but if I lose something because I fat finger something, there’s always several places to recover from.


It’s only common sense.

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WRITING: A Veteran of Unknown Origins

A Veteran of Unknown Origins

The Accident

It was a dark and storm night. The day had been a beautiful sunny summer’s day. The change was dramatic. He’d had the top down all day, but put it up for the drive home. Wife always complained of “fumes” on the highway even though cars returned purer air from the “exhaust” than came in the “intake”. But women; that was one battle no husband would ever win. She had other offsets; the Irish eyes, the rapier wit, and an athletic constitution. The picnic with relatives was fun. Seeing so may generations in one place at one time was inspiring. He turned off Route 37, drove by “his” American Legion Post, saluted, and approached the turn onto the ocean block. The storm intensified, lightin’ ‘n’ thunder, and the street was covered with several inches of storm water. He’d be glad to get his baby in the garage. The cherry ’57 Caddie was his special occasion ride. As he turned, he saw the surge. It looked like a foot or two wave coming right from the ocean. It lifted the heavy Caddie and rolled it. Wife was sucked right out of the car; he was restrained by the new fangled seat belt that she refused to mess her dress with. There was an instant to panic as the water engulfed him and the world went dark.

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The Scene

Lefty ran into the Post bar and yelled: “John: Call 911. There’s a one car accident in the back lot.” The Post Commander was tending bar and. like a good ex-military man, he could follow orders. “911. What IS your emergency?” “Post 351 has a one car accident in their parking lot.” “Anyone hurt?” “Don’t know yet.” “I’m dispatching now.” With that John went to see the accident. The bar had cleared; this was going to be the excitement of the day.

From the porch, he could see a Caddy on it’s side with sand all around it. Maybe the jerk rolled it speeding around the bend on Route 37, but he’d have had to be doing over 100 to get that many rolls. Then he notice that the lot’s fence was intact. Did it drop from the sky?

Walking over to it, he could hear the exclamation by someone: “I don’t care what it looks like, it does NOT look like any Caddy I’ve ever seen. The logos are right but everything else is wrong.” “Anyone hurt.” “The driver’s belted in but out of it. We’re waiting for rescue to backboard him. He’s got an American Legion jacket on, but even that’s strange Post 158247532?”

Patrol rolled up on the scene, and the officer radioed in: “We’re got a DUI here. Send a supervisor and HazMat for a fuel spill.” The rescue squad was right behind him. “Get him out and I’ll handcuff him to the gurney. Suspicion of DUI.” John was frosted: “Officer how can you presume he’s drunk?” “Rolling a car? Duh! I’ll probably get to write 5 or 6 tickets. Maybe get a commendation.” John looked around for Pete, the Post’s attorney. “Pete: Make sure this fellow doesn’t get railroaded. Until he can fend for himself, it looks like he’s ours.” “Sure. Give me a dollar as a retainer.” “You brigand!” The officer reached into the car, opened the glove box, and grab what he believed would be the registration. Pete chimed in: “OK, unreasonable search and seizure. Did you ask my Client for his license, registration, and proof of insurance before you search his closed glove box?” “No. He’s unconscious. Probably drunk out of his mind.” “Assumes facts not yet in evidence. May I have the material you seized from my Client? And you can address your questions to me. Unless you don’t want your pension going to my retirement account.” As visions of tickets satisfying his quota danced in his head, he handed over the papers. “OK, counselor, we’ll play it your way. Client’s name?” Looking at the American Legion jacket, “Ameril E Gion, will do for now”, and looked at the papers. He was in trouble. There was a New Jersey registration, but there was no name on it. Same with the Insurance Card, who ever heard of ‘State Met Pru’ Insurance. And the ‘paper’ felt like plastic. 

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The Hearing / Witness #1

“Ms. Buhl, for the record, please state your credentials.” “Certainly, I’m a Doctor of Forensic Medicine, as well as Pathology. I chair the Medical Anthropology School at the State University. I teach Medical Examiners, Pathologists, and Researchers. I also hold a doctorate from the State University in Chemistry. Specifically, DNA. My dissertation was on the ‘Unique Components of Humanity’s DNA. Where I …”

“Thank you, Ms. Buhl. I’m sure the Court accepts you as an expert. What can you tell us about John Doe?”

“You really mean ‘Adam’s friend Baker’. That’s an old anthropology joke which has special significance here. See the Bible says Adam and Eve were the first humans. There is DNA evidence that every human is indeed descended from an ‘Adam’ and an ‘Eve’. There are obsolete DNA fragments that are identical in every human being. Your John Doe doesn’t have them. Hence we’ve identified him as ‘Adam’s friend Baker’. Adam and Baker had different parents. Completely different. He has different obsolete DNA fragments. This is science shattering. All our understanding has to change.”

“Did you autopsy John Doe’s body? And what does that tell you.”

“My Baker, your John Doe, was what one would expect as a typical American male. Except his finger prints were not on file anywhere. He’s human, but there are many uniquely strange findings. For example, his eye’s show no signs of corneal degradation due to UV sunlight. Even in a teenager, one can see sun damage that will eventually develop into cataracts; Baker’s eyes are like a newborn’s. For example, his blood chemistry is off. His Vitamin C, D, and E levels are 1000 times normal. His coronary arteries look better than a baby’s. His teeth are perfect without even a film from his last meal of fried chicken, corn, mashed potatoes, with gravy. It’s like he went from a dental cleaning to the accident.”

“Was he drunk?”

“No signs of any intoxicant or drugs in his system. With the exception, aspirin! He had high levels of that. So high as to wonder how he ingested it. He didn’t get it via the stomach becuse such a level would have burned through the lining. It’s like he’d just come from an IV infusion. I’ve cryogenically preserved everything I could for a time when our science catches up to him.”

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The Hearing / Witness #2

“Mr. DuBois, for the record, please state your credentials.” “Certainly, I’m a PhD in both Material Science and Mechanical Engineering.” “Thank you. Did you examine the car that John Doe was found in?” “Yes.” “Your findings?” “I have over 11,000 pages of findings.” “Summarize for us layman.” “John Doe’s car was not made on this planet.” “Excuse me?” “The only thing in common between this car and our planet is that the elements are the same. For example, the car is made out of “steel”. Our steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. That “steel” has no carbon, but uses two .5% each harding agents of manganese and tungsten. Unheard of before. It’s lighter, stronger, and presents a completely different profile under stress. For example, John Doe’s Cadilac engine has a V-14; our “Cadilac” has had V-12 or a V-16. Never a 14. For example, the gasoline in John Doe’s tank was 104 octane and tests out to deliver 52.5 Megajoule per liter in energy. It is infused a nanostructured porous material which we believe is a lubricating fluid. Here are just three of a thousands of other world uniqueness.

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The Hearing / Witness #3

“Ms. Duchone, for the record, please state your credentials.” “Certainly, I’m the head of the FBI Identification Section and Doctor of Biometric Engineering.” “Please describe your findings.” “The car yields over 80,000 fingerprints. This contained 4,000 index fingers. We compared every print with all known sources of prints. No matches. None!” “Conclusions?” “It’s impossible.” 

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The internment

At Post 351, having be granted Guardian Ad Litem for John Doe, ‘Adam’s friend Baker’, created a tomb for him in the back parking lot where he was found.

“Here lies Baker, a truly unknown. We believe he’s a veteran, but we don’t know of what. But like all comrades in arms, even if he’s from the wrong side, we honor his service. Even though we have no clue what it was, where it was, or when it was. We honor the contribution he’s making every day to our indigent fellow vets.”

John saluted and dismissed the assembly.

Strange how things worked out. Baker was a font of discoveries. And, all the money he “earned” came to the American Legion charity fund. Too much money. So the American Legion notified all the other veterans organizations to join them in helping Baker’s fund help indigent vets. VFW, VFA, JWV … didn’t matter, Baker was a cash cow.

Funny how things end.

Where was Baker from?

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