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Journal Journal: Spys have forgotten what business they are in.... 1

I have a saying, paraphrasing The Man With No Name: "when a business forgets what business it is in, that business is a dead business."

For example, Polaroid made their money on instant photography - that was their business. They forgot that, and got the idea they were in the self-developing film business, and so chose to ignore the digital photography business, because it wasn't self-developing film. Kodak moved in, and look where Polariod is now.

Likewise, the various intelligence gathering agencies - the NSA, the CIA, the FBI - were in the business of "Protecting America". However, they have lost sight of that, and now believe they are in the "intelligence gathering" business. And just like a miser who just amasses wealth for wealth's sake, and lives in a hovel and eats beanie-weenies, they have lost sight of the idea that the reason we gather information is so we can use it!

Instead, the spooks are so busy "gathering information" that they never share it, nor act on it - "My God man, if we act on this information, we might compromise our assets! We might not be able to gather any more information! No, we will just protect our assets, kept this information secret, and see what happens."

Yes, if the spooks have some double-aught sooper sekret spy stuff that lets them read the bad guys' brains, and they read that a guy is planning on flinging some poo at an embassy, and revealing the intel will compromise the secrecy of their brain scanner, they SHOULD site on the information - flinging poo is not worth losing that intel asset. But there is a world of difference between flinging poo and flinging PETN guys! - screw the secrecy of your "asset" and DO YOUR DAMN JOB!

In short, intelligence agencies: YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT GATHERING INFORMATION - YOUR BUSINESS IS PROTECTING THE US! IF YOU FORGET THAT YOU WILL GO THE WAY OF ANYBODY WHO FORGETS WHAT BUSINESS THEY ARE IN!

And I, for one, DON'T want to see what happens if you should go out of business!

User Journal

Journal Journal: If you live in the Great Lakes area, pls help 2

Do you need a dog: Dairyland Greyhound Racetrack, Kenosha, WI closing on Dec. 31, 2009. 900 Greyhounds need adopting, or will be euthanized. Great family dogs. They have been crated most of their lives and sleep ~18 hours a day. Dogs are tested for cat, small dog friendly and multiple dog homes. Please CROSS POST, we only have 6 weeks. P: 312.559.0887 Or Dairyland Race Track Adoption Center at (262) 612-8256

Democrats

Journal Journal: Things Conservatives Want Me to Believe 11

Things Conservatives Want Me to Believe
by Christi Smith

Parents who don't want their children to pray in school are Anti-American zealots -- parents who don't want their children to listen to a speech by the President of the United States telling them to work hard and get good grades are noble patriots.

Peacefully demonstrating against the country starting an international war is treason -- showing up with automatic weapons to protest healthcare reform is democracy at its finest.

Any government official with a desk job should have every action scrutinized -- any government official with a badge and a gun should never be questioned or disrespected. At all. Ever.

Questioning the legitimacy of an election because the "winner" was selected by the Supreme Court is sour grapes -- questioning the legitimacy of an election because the winner (by the largest number of votes in American history) is really a Kenyan born Muslim despite all evidence to the contrary is being a vigilant American.

Lying about a blowjob is an impeachable offense -- lying about a war is no big deal, really.

Investigating a shady land deal involving the First Lady is a matter of National Identity -- investigating the use of torture at the direction of the Executive Branch is a partisan witch hunt.

Executing Japanese officers for waterboarding prisoners during WWII shows that we have the moral high-ground on human rights -- waterboarding prisoners of our shows that we have the moral high-ground on human rights.

Sitting two rows in front of Jane Fonda in a 1970 anti-war rally is an OUTRAGE! Shaking Saddam's hand in 1983...meh, not so much.

Anyone who questions the president during a time of war is giving aide and comfort to the enemy and should be deported...unless the president in question has a (D) next to their name in which case you should undermine them at every turn even if you have to routinely make shit up to do it.

Socialism, Marxism, Communism and Fascism are all interchangeable words that mean pretty much the same thing.

Anyone who abuses drugs should be locked up indefinitely...unless they are a popular Republican radio host in which case they need your prayers as they recover from the illness of addiction.

Health Insurance companies have your best interests in mind and anyone who thinks otherwise is trying to turn America into the Godless heathen nation of Sweden where EVERYONE in the country dies (eventually).

Obama is an atheist communist Muslim who attended a radical Christian church.

Believing that human activity could impact the global environment is crazy talk -- believing that an invisible man in the sky personally told George Bush to invade Iraq to fulfill Biblical prophecy is logically sound.

The verdict is still out on evolution -- but Jesus Christ returning in our lifetimes is a pretty much a given.

The media are unquestionably biased against Republicans -- Talk Radio, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, Rightwing Blogs, Fox News and NewsCorp are not part of the media.

The government should have no part in regulating multi-national corporations as they make decisions that impact the lives of millions of people -- government should regulate individuals by determining who they can marry, what kind of intercourse they can have, what they can smoke, how to manage their pregnancy and how to proceed with end of life decisions.

Communicating with hostile nations is a stab in the back to our great nation -- Reagan communicating with the USSR during the Cold War was Political Genius.

Iran is a mortal threat to our nation and anyone who attempts to talk to them is traitorous scum -- selling weapons to Iran and then funneling the money to start wars in South America is clearly in our National interest.

George Bush kept the nation safe after 9-11 (NOTE: the Anthrax attacks, the DC Sniper and Hurricane Katrina don't count. Also, the fact that 9-11 happened on his watch despite receiving a security briefing specifically warning of the attack doesn't count either.)

Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, public libraries, fire departments, police departments and the US Military are as American as Apple Pie -- universal healthcare is ZOMGDEATHPANELSOCIALISM!!

George W Bush is a regular 'ole Texas rancher just like you and me despite the fact that he was born in Connecticut, attended two Ivy League schools, bought the Crawford ranch just before running for president, sold it immediate after leaving office and is terrified of horses.

The two guys at the center of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals are trustworthy voices in discussions of current national policy and should be taken at face-value.

Earth

Journal Journal: Cash for Clunkers law discriminates against divorced women 4

From: "Scott Lockwood"

Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2009 20:02:18
To: "President Obama"
Subject: Why does the Cash for Clunkers law discriminate against divorced women?

Dear Mr. President,

With all due respect Sir, I would like to know why my girlfriend was told she doesn't qualify for the cash for clunkers rebate. She has owned her Ford Explorer since 1998, is the original owner, but was divorced in 2006, which changed her name. The state of IL issued a corrected title in 2007 at her request, but neglected to put her maiden name on the title, despite being provided with the divorce decree. Why would the agent we spoke with say that this was a mismatch? Why does she suddenly feel like she's being made to feel like an unperson?

Both names are hers, but because she exercised her right to return to her maiden name the NHTSA is saying she doesn't qualify. So, because she exercised her rights, no car trade in for her. Is this an example of change we can believe in?

The agent we spoke to, who spoke to her supervisor as well, was Carlene. We explained to her that we could get the state of IL to issue a corrected title that would still reflect the original purchase date, though it would say the title was issued as a correction now. She still said no. I would like to understand why.

1/2 of all marriages in this country end in divorce. 1/2 of those people (currently) are women. Are you ok with discrimination against a quarter of all the women who have been married and are now divorced in America?

If someone changes their name, they can't get a better car?

The specific section that seems to indicate this in the law is Category 4, Section D, sub section 2.

I would very much like for someone to email, write, or call me to explain how this discrimination is a good thing, is change we can believe in.

Respectfully yours,
William Scott Lockwood III

PC Games (Games)

Journal Journal: What is the deal with Grapefruit juice? 3

It's a good thing I'm not on any of the several medications that react badly with Grapefruit juice, as it is one of my favorite drinks. However, something I cannot explain has happened: I can't get the stuff here in Wichita!

None of the stores at which I shop are carrying it anymore. I have some left over from my trip to California over the 4th, but that obviously won't last.

Since a statistical sampling of 1 isn't very valid, I'll throw this question out: what about anybody else, can you get it where you are?

Zogger, since you are a bit more plugged in to things agricultural than I, do you have any insights?

Also, the local stores no longer carry the "lots of pulp" versions of the Florida's Natural Orange Juice either.

Maybe the stuff isn't selling (while I buy a lot, obviously I don't buy enough to justify a store carrying it all by my little lonesome).

Software

Journal Journal: Wolfram alpha - What is the big deal? 3

OK, I think I've been fair in trying out Alpha, but I just don't see it being useful - let me give you my use cases and see what you think:

Use case 1: I wanted to know the change in elevation from Moriarty, NM to Albuquerque, NM. OK, this should be easy for WA, right? "(elevation Moriarty, NM) - (elevation Albuquerque, NM)". Result? "I don't understand your question".

Use case 2: I wanted to know the energy of a red light photon in electron volts. "energy red light photon in eV". FAIL. OK, let's help it a bit: "energy 638nm photon in eV". FAIL.

The sad thing is that Use case 2 was answered by Google on the first question.

So, what was WA supposed to do for us again?

NOTE: "for us", not for "it's hype feeding creator."

User Journal

Journal Journal: Good source for gears? 8

I'm looking for a good source for some gears.

Background: I have several antennas on my tower, for various purposes (wideband receive, VHF omnidirectional, VHF directional, HF, etc.). I'd like to be able to switch those onto my radio as desired. Now, there are remote controlled antenna switching boxes out there, but:
1) Most of them are for HF only - not VHF. This is because
2) Most of them use relays to do the switching, and co-axial relays to switch VHF and UHF get VERY pricy.
3) Notwithstanding the use of cheaper HF only relays, most of those switch boxes are DAMN pricey.

Now, compare that with the cost of a simple antenna switch like an MFJ-1702. Simple, relatively inexpensive, good through UHF, good isolation, and not very expensive. However, it is a manual unit, so I'd either a) have to run down to the basement where all the feedlines enter the house and switch it there or b) run all the feedlines into my operating station.

What I want to do is set up a simple gear drive on an MFJ to select the antenna - I'm thinking something like a 3 inch diameter gear on the box, a 120 RPM or so gearbox and motor combination driving the gear, a couple of optical interruptors looking through holes in the gears to provide position sensing, and I should be able to make a switchbox that would do the job. Heck, done right I don't even think it would need much more than a couple of relays and transistors to control it - no microprocessor needed.

But I am having a time finding gears that would do - again, what I'd like would be a gear, preferably metal, about 3 inches in diameter. Anybody got any good sources?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Dayton 2009 5

Well, it looks like I will be able to get to Dayton Hamvention this year - at least for Friday and Saturday.

So, anybody who follows my Journal want to try to arrange a meet-up there?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Oh Noes!!!

Come and see the butthurt inherent in the system!!!

Relationship Change
sent by Slashdot Message System on Friday April 17, @00:05

TurdTapper (608491) has made you their foe.
If you'd like to, view or edit your friends and foes.

Media

Journal Journal: Artist Jon Engle shaken down for his own images

Jon Engle, a designer who has worked on shows like Smallville, Birds of Prey, Lost, CSI, and Alias, is being asked to pay for $18,000 for artwork he is using. The catch? It's his own art!

From Jon's own web posting on the subject:

I was first contacted by a stock art site in July of last year. They hit me with a bill for a whopping $18,000! I had an account with the site. Years ago I purchased an illustration of a chef's hat for a client's project. So, I thought this was some accounting mistake. Nope. This was a bill for new images. Very familiar images. They were images from several of my logos; 65 of them in fact. That breaks down to about $275 per image. They actually wanted me to pay them $275 for each one of MY images!

User Journal

Journal Journal: I agree with Joe Biden

VP Biden has stated he wants to see Amtrak get money as a part of the stimulus bill.

I agree with him on this - of the various things that are part of this "stimulus" bill, improving our passenger rail system seems to have a better than average probability of improving our nation's ability to be able to pay off the debt the stimulus bill represents - which I assert should be THE sole metric of whether something gets "stimulus" money or not: "Will spending this NOW help us pay it back LATER?"

However, I am cynical enough to wonder how much of the Amtrak stimulus will go for improvements in the areas nearer Washington, DC and Los Angeles, how much will go for improving the long distance rail service through "fly-over" country, and how much will go to helping create passenger rail service here in the unfashionably "red" states - such as helping re-instate the "Heartland Flyer".

I would love to see the AutoTrain service expanded to a cross-country run like the Southwest Chief, rather than just servicing the East Coast as it does now.

However, I am too addicted to oxygen to hold my breath until it happens.

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