Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fred Thompson's View of Campaigning

Two things interested me about this article:

1. ABC is taking issue with how other media has mis-characterized statements made by Fred Thompson. Yes, media do run corrections. But this sort of up-front correction is rare. Usually, corrections are in 10-point font in a little 1.5" by 3" box at the bottom of page A8.

2. The process of campaigning for office has indeed gotten over-valued. Yes, we need to know who we are electing and why. We need to know their positions, the strengths, and the weaknesses. But, money, time, and media perception have become more important than the candidate's philosophy and approach to governing.

Political Punch

Hillary: Pakistan troops might have killed Bhutto

I realize that during primaries, candidates court the base of their party. But the recent comments by Senator Clinton regarding Bhutto's assassination in Pakistan seem dangerously irresponsible coming from someone who wants to become the next President and who will have tremendous influence on foreign policy.

I realize that Pakistan is not the ideal country with the ideal government. But should a presidential candidate make accusations of conspiracy and corruption, threats of withdrawing aid, and statements of innuendo? What would happen if she were actually elected as president? I think Pakistan would rapidly go from imperfect ally to bitter rival.

Hillary: Pakistan troops might have killed Bhutto --

My neice's first birthday party

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Fred Thompson

Well, I've made my decision.

I'm throwing my support behind Fred Thompson. Is he the perfect canidate that will make everything fantastic and solve all of our problems? No, he isn't. No one is nor has anyone ever been. But I do think he is the best choice for our country. I really think his views on Constitutionalism can do a lot to restoring this country to its true greatness and what it was meant to become. For years, I've believed that ignoring the constitution and what it says has lead us down a path of government that is less effective, more intrusive, and less desirable.

If Fred Thompson will do what he says he believes. I think we can restore some of what makes our country great. Let's get behind him and help him get elected.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Are you good with money?

You Are Great With Money

You know the value of a dollar - and you save and spend wisely.
By living below your means, you've set yourself up for a rich future.
And while it may hurt to sacrifice now, you'll probably have plenty of money later on.
You're on your way to riches - just keep it up.

Apparently, I am. But I can't take credit. My wife an I live by the priciples taught by Dave Ramsey. He says we should manage money like "God and Grandma" tell us to, meaning, use Biblical values and common sense not letting our emotions interfere.

Dave Ramsey teaches three principles and seven steps.

The three principles are:

  • Live within your means. Don't spend more than you earn.
  • Budget. Know where you money goes and plan where it should go.
  • Avoid dept. Don't borrow money, period.

The seven steps he teaches are:

  1. Build a cash reserve of $1000 fast. This is for the emergency situations none of us can predict.
  2. Pay off all debt as fast as you can. This excludes a mortgage which is paid off in step 6.
  3. Build up a savings equal to 3 to 6 months of expenses. This completes the savings begun in step 1.
  4. Invest in retirement. None of us want to work forever.
  5. Build up a college fund for your children. Obviously, if you don't have kids or if they are already on their own, this step doesn't apply.
  6. Pay off the mortgage. This will completely rid you of any debt.
  7. Invest and give. By this point, you should have more ability to do what you want with your money.

So, where are we? Well, we're on a modified step 6. We don't have kids so we skipped step 5. Currently, we're saving money to purchase a house. We want a really good down payment so that 1. we'll have a small mortgage and 2. we can pay off that mortgage rapidly. We don't want to have debt the rest of our lives.

If you haven't discovered Dave Ramsey and his teachings, you need to do so.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A HMMWV, a tank, or what?

Bored, I was looking through the August 20, 2007 edition of TIME magazine. When I opened to page 29, I found this picture and this caption:

Urban combat
A Mexican army tank patrols near a church in San Pedro, an affluent suburb of Monterrey. Once considered one of Mexico’s safest cities, Monterrey has witnessed more than 100 drug-related murders in the past year [sic]”

Again, I wonder what editors get paid to do at magazines. They obviously don't hire fact-checkers or even proof-readers for that matter. There are two mistakes in the caption:

1. There's a period missing from the second sentence.

2. That isn't a tank that we see in the picture, that's a HMMWV, the military version of the Hummer H1. And, though I am no expect, it doesn't even look like an armored HMMWV (the printed picture is a little clearly and more detail is visible) which means its skin is just a thin as any other automobile as certainly is NOT a tank.

Also interesting was the caption found online for the photograph:

The Mexican military patrols San Pedro, a rich neighborhood in Monterrey. This unit is stationed not far from a church where a wedding ceremony for members of a wealthy family was taking place.”

Notice that the new caption has only a little resemblance for the original.

Again, I think I could be a good fact-checker. Anyone hiring?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Cool but Scary

This, I think, is a fantastic tool that can really help with publishing, say, newsletters with graphics and that sort of thing. But, at the same time, can you imagine the fraud that can be committed with this. We're already having trouble assuring acurate media coming out of Lebanon and Iraq. Let's not even begin to mention magazine covers.

What if someone wanted to use this for political or propaganda purposes. How would we know. How could we tell? HAT TIP: LGF.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday Morning

Sunday, morning we went to go listen to Phil Metzger at Golgota here in Budapest. Here's a pic. We were about thirty minutes late getting there but we managed to find a seat.
For those of you who may not understand this pic. Phil is on the left. But, for everyone to understand what is being said, a translator stands to the right and translates everything he says. At first, it's rather distracting. But you get use to it and I don't even notice anymore.

Saturday Night Festival!

Last night we attended our town's festival. Even though we live in Budapest, each neighborhood is basically like its own little town (think New York's burrows). Everyone of these little towns has at least a couple of festivals a year. Well, we met up with some friends that just recently moved to the area and hit the streets. Here are some pics.

This is the main street running through out little town. Actually, it's just half of it. The other half is on the other side of the buildings to the left. It's really weird. Anyway, the booths on the left are various vendors selling the typical stuff. It's amazing that so many of the festivals have essentially the same things every time.

Here's a picture of my wife, Michelle, on the right, with our good friend and coworker, Lisa. They're sharing an oven-baked langos. It's basically some really good bread smothered with sour cream, trapista cheese (the Hungarian cheese of choice), onions, and ham. It's pretty good. Of course, we also tried lots of wines. Budafok, our neighborhood is famous for it numerous wineries. The most famous is of course, Törley, which is just down the street from our house.

Here's a picture of my favorite Hungarian dessert, kurtos kalacs. It's a sweet dough wrapped around wooden pegs, roasted, then covered with your favorite topping like cinamon or vanilla. They are simply the best. If you ever come to Hungary, make sure you get one fresh, not pre-made. They'll make you want to come back!

And, of course, there were bands everywhere. This one was playing in an empty warehouse and had the whole crowd dancing.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sick! Sick! Sick! Sick!

Today I was reading Pat Dollard's blog and came across this article: Pat Dollard Young Americans Blog Archive » Jihadi Shortage Leads Al Qaeda To Swell Ranks With Local Children.

"Child fighters, once a rare presence on Iraq’s battlefields, are playing a significant and growing role in kidnappings, killings and roadside bombings in the country, U.S. military officials say."


"Stone attributes the rise in child fighters in the country, in part, to the pressure that the U.S. buildup of troops has placed on the flow of foreign fighters. Fewer of them are making it into the country, he said, and the militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq is having a difficult time recruiting adults locally. Thus, it has turned to children."

I had two thoughts while I was reading the article and a third as I was typing this post.

1. Sick! Sick! Sick! Sick! I don't say bad language but I have some in mind for Al Qaeda in Iraq who would use children as expendable fodder. Are they so mentally disturbed that they think their religion allows, or even encourages, such disgusting behavior?

2. As upsetting as this is, it is actually a sign that Al Qaeda in Iraq may be in its twilight. It has been a trend that in past, elongated conflicts the losing side begins using anyone that can to prolong the inevitable. For example, the beaches of Normandy in 1944 was protected by very few Germans but a lot of conscripts from other nations, old men, and young boys. Al Qaeda in Iraq seems to be beginning, according to this article, this same pattern.

3. The last thought I had occurred while I was writing this entry. I am proud of what our military is doing in this situation. If you think about it, it could be doing much worse. Certainly, Al Qaeda in Iraq would do much worse. I'm sure that they would just simply execute these young boys. We aren't. A more humane country would just simply lock them up and throw away the key. We didn't. We are actually taking time to teach, to educate, to care for these young boys. Doesn't that say something about who are the American people?

Saturday, August 25, 2007


"Dear Justin,

"The College Board is pleased to announce that your Biology course is authorized to use the 'AP®' designation for the 2007-08 academic year. The College Board applauds and recognizes your efforts to provide your students with the academic rigor and college-level experience that is the promise of AP. I thank you for the time and effort you put into participating in the AP Course Audit."

That's one course audit down! I still have to get the AP Calculus audit approved. Oh well.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Michael Totten's "The Worst Since 9/11"

Michael Totten, another one of the "must read" reporters in Iraq, wrote an interesting piece on a massive terror attack that I hadn't even heard about. "The Worst since 9/11"

He brings up a couple of really good points:
1. Congratulations to the media for not over-reporting this. My first reaction was, "Why didn't I hear about this!"
2. What do you call the murder of 500 innocent people? Murder, terror, genocide? This is another concept where the English language just doesn't cover it.

Advertizing Fixed

I'm removed any graphical advertizing from the Adsense panel now. So, unless obscene text starts appearing, we should be alright.

Questionable Adverstizing

When I took a look at my blog today, I noticed that the ad from Google Sense was quite inappropriate for a Christian teacher at a Christian school. This was NOT intentional on my part.

Please be patient as I will correct this as soon as I can. Unfortunately, I won't have time tonight to fix it, but I will as soon as I can.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It Begins!

ICSB - International Christian School of Budapest


Here is a link to the old blog that I lost. Sorry for the weird change of location. The e-mail situation has finally settled down.


Michael Yon Online Magazine

If you haven't already, you need to discover Michael Yon Online Magazine. This guy is arguably the best reporter in all of Iraq. He gives the sorry as he sees it firsthand which is not something we're really getting anymore.

Is he biased? Who isn't? I think, "Yes, he is." But, he isn't covert about it. He doesn't have a raging agenda. At the most, you could say that what he wants is to report Iraq how it should be reported.

Give him a read.