November 21, 2007

The Second Ammendment Does Not Give The Right to Bear Arms

I just voted at USA Today on their second amendment poll, and I'm pissed off. Why? Because The Second Ammendment Does Not Give Individuals The Right to Bear Arms. No, it does not. The Second Amendment PRESERVES A NATURAL, *God -given right for individuals to bear arms.
If you want, you can stop reading this post now. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please read on. The Declaration of Independence that created the entity known as the United States begins with this preamble:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights. . .

Our Creator endowed us with certain inalienable rights. The law of the Constitution does not grant rights to individuals. In fact, the wording of the second amendment includes the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.". Therefore, this amendment to the law of the land was to prevent the creation of a law that would infringe upon a right that is already possessed. The law of our Creator is the law that grants us our rights, and it was against the taking away of those rights which our forefathers were concerned. It was that very issue that brought us to war with England, and it was that very issue with which James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and others penned the second amendment.

November 18, 2007

Lowes and the Freezer

We're tired of manually defrosting our freezer. We had a small 9 cu ft. freezer, an Absocold (look for it on Craigslist soon) manual defrost (meaning do it yourself) in our kitchen. We shop at Costco, so having an extra freezer is handy. What's not handy is the way it builds up ice over time and then needs to be defrosted, and having to move some of the food out and figuring out the best time so that we don't melt everything.
So, off we go to Lowes, where they have a frost-free freezer for $398. As we walk past the freezer, we notice a sign advertising Free (next-day) Delivery and 6 months same as cash(should we desire). Sounds great, we'll take the freezer. The sales guy checks the back, and yes, he has one in stock, and he gets all of the information from us. I tell him that I'd like the free delivery, to which he nods and takes my delivery information.
Now, remember how I said it was $398? The bill comes to $451, we're told. Hrmmm, of that, taxes is $17.xx, so where did the extra $30+ charge come from? Delivery charge is normally $75, so you're not charging us for that, are you?
Well, yes, in fact, that's what we're being charged for. You see, Lowes is giving 10% off appliances until December something or other, and with that discount, our freezer is no longer more than $397, the cut-off point for free delivery. While we've gained a 10% discount of $39.80, we've now got a delivery fee of $75.00.
I tried to tell the sales guy that I didn't want the 10% off, because I intended to get the rebate on the free delivery. Tough luck, Rich, you see, this is a big box store with powerless employees who have absolutely no control over how they sell items. All they can do is scan it into the computer, which automatically does the discounting. Sales Guy is not empowered to allow me to pay full price.
So, it wasn't free delivery because I bought the cheap freezer. But it was 10% off. I'm keeping the comes the delivery truck now.

November 16, 2007

Why Would I?

As a Republican voter, why would I vote for Rudy Guiliani? Sure, some of you are going to say "Well, Rich, we know you're a Ron Paul shill, so whatever you say is tainted." But others may actually continue to read before hitting the comments section.

What does it mean to be a Republican. It should mean that you're against big government, and FOR limited taxation and fiscally responsible spending. It should mean that you're against nation building politics and federalized social programs. It should mean that you're for the capitalist society, the ability to earn money, keep it, protect it, and decide for yourself how it will be spent. In some circles, it may even mean that you're religiously conservative, and against abortion rights and gay marriage.

So here comes Rudy G - running for Republican nomination for President of the United States, a man who supports continuing our pointless war spending in Iraq, who has been shown to be for abortion rights, for gay rights, and is for limiting the freedom of the people to bear arms. Why is Rudy running on the Republican ticket again?

While I happen to take a non-federalized stance on abortion rights, and am for the rights of all Americans (gay or straight), I would have a hard time voting for what appears to me to be a G.W.Bush-lite without the advantage of a pro-gun stance. At least George W. has a pro-NRA bent, even if it is the only sensible thing he has going for him. Rudy has nothing that old-school Republicans want, except perhaps big defense spending, misguided though it may be.

Rudy G can't beat Hillary Clinton in an election. This is not the Republican you're looking for. If you want Republican values, vote Ron Paul in your state primary, and give the Republican party a chance to do it right.

November 15, 2007

To The CISSP Candidates Waiting Since October

I noticed a few of you have ended up on my blog looking for news about your CISSP exam score. The scores from exams taken after 6 October 2007 have not, as of this writing, been released. There is no published estimate as to when they will be graded and returned. Telephone calls to ISC2 have been met with claims that they have just finished a systems upgrade and are only now beginning to score these exams. I was personally told that I should have my results within the 6 week promised time on their website. As I took the exam on the 20th, I may be waiting a few more weeks. Postings on a CISSP BBS show that others are getting the same answer as I have received and that we are all upset and anxious. I'm sorry that I don't have an answer for you. Feel free to join us at that bulletin board at, and you'll likely know when the first of us receives his or her results.

November 13, 2007

Spend Money to Safeguard Your Money

It's no secret that I support the Ron Paul campaign for the Republican nomination as President in 2008. I've twice given to his campaign, even though I've never given money to a political campaign before in my life. Now, I'm ready to donate again on Dec. 16, 2007 - the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Here's a neat countdown object with a link to the site that is taking pledges:

According to the National Priorities Project:
On October 22, the administration submitted a request for a further $45.9 billion in war-related spending for fiscal year 2008. This request is on top of $147 billion already requested for the Department of Defense and $3.6 billion for other agencies for the fiscal year. If appropriated by Congress, the vast majority would be spent on Iraq. Total spending for the Iraq War would rise to approximately $611 billion.

One of Dr. Paul's platforms is fiscal responsibility. This country spends money that it doesn't have every year. Under President Bush, $4.4 TRILLION will have been added to the Federal deficit, more than any other president in history, and close to the $5.6 TRILLION in debt that was there when he entered office. This country will be bankrupt to the tune of $10 TRILLION by the time his term of office is over. I see my donation to Dr. Paul's campaign as an investment in protecting the rest of my money, kind of like buying into a savings account that will pay me better interest. There is only one way that I will be able to protect my money from the oncoming inflation - support a Presidential candidate (and Congressmen and Senators) that will stand for balancing the budget of this country, eliminate needless spending on programs that the Federal government has no business in, and get to the task of bringing the inflated dollar back under control.

November 12, 2007

I want an electric car

I am looking at my budget for my car. I spend $36/week to fill up my vehicle with gas at $3/gallon. That's $144 and up/month on gasoline - $1872/year (52 weeks). I just finished watching "Who Killed the Electric Car?", and I am ready for one. For what I spend to fill up my car with gas, I could be buying a whole car.

Squidoo has a whole page on finding an electric car, and I like some of the stuff ZAP is coming out with. However, the entry cost point is still a little high for my personal needs. I would buy one of their $10,500 models if I could use it to get to work, but I'm highway-bound on getting to work.

I'm ready to sell my car (a $13,000 vehicle) and get an EV, should I find the right car...anyone got anything I can drive on the highway to work (20 miles max each way) and plug in when I get home?

Piano Man and other things

I took today off - a floating holiday from work. I'm sitting at home, and there's so many things I'm thinking of doing that I can't seem to focus on any one of them before my mind flits to something else. I've thought of my mind as a giant ferris wheel before, and it's really been like that for me today.
I have a new Yamaha YPG-525 keyboard. Have I mentioned this? It's an 88-key midi keyboard, with lightly weighted keys (the fully weighted keys are available on its big brother, the YPG-625, but it was $280 more - perhaps one day when I'm wealthy I'll splurge.) I've produced a midi file with it, and been playing with all of its functionality. A family member has borrowed my favorite fake book, though, so I'm stuck with the tunes I can remember, and a Christmas fake book, until they return. Learning the keyboard has been a wonderful experience over the past few years. I like fake books because I can only play in a simplistic style. (Full chorded left hand and simple right-handed melody) But, I enjoy playing, and I like the escape it brings. After two hours of playing, though, I have to get up and go do something else.
One of the songs I've taught myself is Piano Man by Billy Joel, and I've recorded it as a midi file which you can play (click on the song title). It sounds better on the Yamaha than it does in Windows because of the richness of the instruments. Of course, my piano playing won't win me any awards anytime soon.
On the other side of my brain is thoughts of new web sites that I want to create, should I get the right motivation. I'm thinking of starting up an incubator for web ideas and putting some irons in the fire to see if any of them get hot. You just never know what people will go for, and you'll never know just what will work unless you try it. I've convinced the wife that we may want to invest some cash into some of my more hair-brained schemes (or is it hare-brained, ala Bugs Bunny?)
Then, there's my stock investing. I've bought into some companies recently. And, like golf, there's always the one shot that keeps you coming back no matter HOW much the rest of your shots suck. I made $500 on a three day trade on a $2000 investment in my IRA trading into and out of a company named TRNS. It was a simple gimme - someone on the board was offloading a ton of stock and it depressed the price temporarily. Noting that the company itself was fine and actually undergoing growth, I bought up some stock and made a nice 25% profit, turning it around a few days later.
But, much like my golf game, the rest of my picks haven't been doing so hot, except perhaps my investment into gold (ETF: GLD). The dollar is sliding into oblivion with almost no end in sight (go Ron Paul for President - fiscal responsibility needed NOW).
If you're interested in a stock pick, though - now might be the right time to buy into Nautilus (NLS) - an investment group is trying to get rid of current board members, and the CEO has just been changed out to try to turn the company around. With the proxy fight and the past performance of the company, the stock price is pretty depressing. I bought some on the downslope, but certainly didn't hit the bottom. Once the proxy fight is over, though, the company should see some real turnaround. Nautilus owns some pretty big names in exercise equipment, and they won't be going out of business anytime soon.
Then, there's my website. Boy, does it need a makeover. I got rid of one component that added no value, but added plenty of UGLY, and I've changed the default stylesheet, but I'm not sure that's the best I can do. It's bugging me enough that I may take the time to do something about it this week.

November 02, 2007

13 days

Sigh - it's been 13 days, and no word from ISC^2 yet about the CISSP exam scores. I was already antsy about it, but I'm getting more so as time passes. I don't know when results will be back, but the website says to expect them in 4-6 weeks or possibly LONGER!! depending on when you took the test, when it was scheduled for others, etc. Looking on the Intra-webs, others claim to have received their notice from 7-10 days after taking the exam (the lucky *&@%s). I do know that I'd like my results back soon so that I can stop thinking about it.
Update: It appears that ISC^2 is undergoing some system changes, and have not graded exams even for tests taken in early October (2007). So, there are some who have been waiting even longer than I for their test results. I feel their pain. As someone mentioned on the CISSP study boards, it looks like ISC^2 forgot what the A stands for in the C.I.A. concept (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability).