Lottery Post Journal

Better Pasting from Excel

I have updated Lottery Post's rich text editor so that it handles tables much better.  The biggest impact is much better support for pasting from Excel.  The original cell colors, borders, and styles and maintained to a much better degree.

Deal on Judicial Nominees / Filibuster

I have mixed feelings on the deal that was struck today in the Senate.

On one hand, I'd really like to stick it to the Democrats who have tried to load the courts with judges who feel it's their right to create new laws from the bench.

On the other hand (and more logically), I'm glad they worked out a solution that really did seem to cut right through the center of the argument.  The Senate is a natural place for debate and deliberation, so this is just the kind of deal that it is designed to make.

I'm glad that some very bright and talented judges are going to get a chance to serve in the appellate courts because of this deal.  It is a shame that it has taken so long.

For some reason, Democrats seem to dislike judges that rule based on what the law actually says.  I think that's because they don't have the will or the backbone to create new laws that solve today's problems.  They would rather have the judges do it for them.

House protected from radar and microwaves

This is a story reported today on a California TV news web site.  It's one of those stories that makes you realize that there is always something stranger out there than what you previously thought.

The only thing missing from this story is a report of an alien landing in their back yard.


South Natomas Home Covered With Sheet Metal

Residents Claim Neighbors Bombarding Them With Radiation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A home in Sacramento's south Natomas neighborhood is surrounded by sheet metal, and neighbors are calling it an eyesore.

The D'Souza family lives in the home on Timberwood Court, and claims the aluminium pieces are necessary to protect them from unknown neighbors who have been bombarding them with radio waves and making them sick.

"(It's) a shield to protect against radiation, because microwave radiation is reflected off of aluminium, so it's a protective measure," resident Sarah D'Souza said.

The D'Souzas said the bombardment began after the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and that the radio waves have caused them health problems ranging from headaches to lupus.

Sacramento Code Enforcement officials have gotten involved and ordered the family to remove the metal by Monday or face a misdemeanor citation.

"Eleven years in Sacramento and few other years in Southern California and this is the first time I've ever seen (anything like this). The inside of the house is also covered with foil and the beds are covered with a foil-like material as well," Sacramento Code Enforcement spokesman Josh Pino said.

The D'Souzas said they will comply with the order and remove the sheet metal, but they also plan to gather evidence to show city officials what they believe is a problem with radiation.


VIDEO: Watch John Alston's Report


The Real Reason for Obstruction

A lot has been written about the Democrats desire to block everything the Republicans are trying to accomplish in the Senate.  (In the House there seems to be no issue, as their parliamentary rules do not seem to be as puzzlingly twisted and stupid as the Senate rules.)

Whatever side people come down on the various issues, there is no debating that the Democrats see it as their mission to block each and every proposal offered by the Administration or Senate Republicans, regardless of the merit of the proposal, and to criticize everything that the Administration or Senate Republicans do and say.  There is likewise no denying the chilling global effects of this dastardly obstructionism, as the Democrats continue to soil the image of the United States abroad by attacking and smearing the President and all Republicans.

Anyone observing the United States from the outside looking in would conclude that we are comprised of a dictator leading a gang of thugs who are trying to kill innocent people here and around the world, and taking all the money from the poorest and enriching a few elite people.

How sad.

Truly sad.

And all of this is not because there is an ounce of truth to it, but it's because of a minority of elected officials who have decided that instead of winning the hearts and minds of the American citizens through passioned debates on their principles, they will ram their thoughts into the minds of Americans through a constant barrage of negative attacks on our country's leaders.

These people will literally do anything to regain the power they lost, because power is their end goal, not the lofty ideals they espouse.

And if you ever examine their personal behavior in comparison to what they preach, you will find that they always do the opposite of it.  For example, I find it interesting that Democrats like Jon Corzine from NJ, who represents dangerously extreme anti-business views, is in the Senate in the first place because he was so successful in his Wall Street enterprises that he was able to fund his campaigns using millions of dollars from -- big business.  This type of contradiction is rampant among leading Democrats.

Our country's Republican leaders have the majority in the House and Senate, and hold the White House, because the majority of Americans AGREE with them and their positions.  And these are the people who the Democrats think we should all hate.  Hate.

Why is it that they don't lay out their own agenda for a prosperous and peaceful future?

How come instead of viciously attacking our leaders they don't simply explain -- logically -- to this country (and the world) what we should be doing differently?

Where are their proposals for beating terrorism?  (Do they even agree that the terrorists are bad people?  I question that often.)

Where are their proposals for stopping illegal immigration? (Perhaps the biggest threat to this country.)

For Social Security?

Tax reform?

Medicare?

Anything?

All of this contradiction and befuddling lack of vision among the Democrats is what prompts many to attempt to understand it.  Pundits the world over have tried to comprehend the confusing Democrat actions, and if you think about it, has kept the liberal spin masters from having a truly effective set of talking points.

This is where I come to my take on matters.

Ultimately, the Democrats want to regain power and control, and to do that, they need to lead their supporters to the voting booth with an agenda that will help their constituents.  Plus, that agenda needs to be different from what the Republicans offer, because otherwise there is no contrast.  Might as well keep the current leadership in charge, unless there's a difference.

And that's the problem.  The Republicans are laying out reform in key areas that helps all of the typically Democratic citizenry.

Think about it in terms of the Social Security reform:  who really gains from the Republicans' private savings accounts?

The answer is that the poorest Americans do!  And if there was a Democrat in the White House, I have a feeling that's exactly what the Democrats would be saying.

"Moderate" Senate Democrats and Republicans are currently negotiating a deal that would replace private savings accounts with another type of private account in which people would be able to fund their accounts with personal pre-tax income, but separate from Social Security taxes.  (By the way, I absolutely hate the term "moderate", because in modern politics that has come to mean "spineless leader who changes their positions based on the latest poll results, rather than sticking to a set of principles.")

The problem with this approach is that it hurts the poorest of citizens.  These are the people who can't afford to have extra money taken out of their paychecks, and therefore participation -- and the associated benefit -- would be very low.  Naturally, the more money one makes, the more they would benefit from this plan.

Therefore, the only plan the Democrats would get behind is one that is bad for one of their supposedly biggest support groups -- poor Americans.  The same poor Americans who, according to what is implied by Democrats, are too dumb to figure out whether to select investment option "A", "B", or "C" that the government would permit in a private savings account.

Private savings accounts are a really great way to help generations of poor Americans get free from the chains of big government, and free to choose how to dispose their own money, but the Democrats don't want to do that, because that would mean supporting a Republican plan, and hence would not help them get back into power.

If one were to run down the list of all the important things Republicans are offering these days, it is easy to imagine that if the Democrats were in power, they would be supportive of the very same concepts.

I think people subconsciously feel that, and it really takes the blow out of all the Democrat muster and noise.

So what should the Dems do?

First, they need new leadership.  Badly.  And they need to stop cow-towing to their fringe supporters, because as they try to appease all of these various wacko groups, they cannot possibly form a coherent message.  Besides, the wackos will continue to support the Democrats anyway.

They need someone who genuinely supports middle-ground issues, like Hillary is trying to do.  (But Hillary is obviously putting on a show to make it appear she supports middle-ground issues, so she will not fit the bill.  They need someone fresh, like Barack Obama from Illinois, although I'm not sure he's centrist enough.  We'll see.)

Most of all, they need to figure out what their principles are, and stand firm on them.  And those principles need to be very specific, so that people can easily understand and recite them.

Lastly, they need to do what is obviously most painful for them -- support Republican measures that they believe in, and stop attacking everything Republican. 

Like the boy who cried "wolf" too many times, nobody knows when Democrats really don't like an issue, and when they just don't like the person who supports it.

"A Divided Country"

The big media seems to put this phrase into every political article written.  Every newspaper, television broadcast, and news magazine tells us that "Washington is more divided than ever" and the "country is divided".

What a dumb comment.

By "divided country", I suppose that means "strong disagreement in opinion".

I wonder at which point in our history people did not hold strong disagreements.

With our 2-party system, I wonder at which point in our history that Washington was not divided.

You know what these comments really mean?  They mean that the big media is still upset that George W. Bush was elected and re-elected President.  This "divided" language is a way for them to signify that they (the big media) do not agree with his administration.

What a different country this would be if we could read a paper or turn on the TV news and see an honest, unbiased view of events. 

And what a wonderful thing it would be to see things shown in their proper priority.  Meaning that something important to the average American's life, but not necessarily important to the big media, would be the headline story.  And things of little importance to everyone, but which further the big media's agenda, would be relegated to the back page, or the middle segment.

It is in the interest of the big media for everyone to think the country is divided, because that would keep the pressure on the Bush administration.  It will also give them the ability to continue generating polls with questions designed to cause doubt and force a particular conclusion.

I do not think this country is so divided as they would have everyone think.  In fact, I think that overall this country is made up of people who generally agree on most things.

Sadly, I do not think the big media will ever let up.  Their unrelenting liberal pressure will continue to pound the eyes, ears, and minds of the American public, coercing people into their way of thinking.

Generation after generation, American citizens will be molded into the shape dictated by liberal elitists, who themselves would never consider taking that shape.

Putting on the Brakes

I'm getting the feeling that it may be a good time to back away from this web site for a while.  The vibe I've been getting lately has been pretty negative -- a lot different than the effort I'm putting into it.

I guess that's the cycle that things tend to go in, but it's a shame nevertheless.  It doesn't make any sense to be going against the tide, and I feel like that's what the past couple of months have been.

I find myself in the position that I no longer have a sense for who is supportive of the efforts here, and what the direction of this site should be.  But I'm sure both of those things will resolve themselves in time.

Perhaps down the road I'll be able to go after new features and such with the same enthusiasm as I have in the past years.

Tired of people forwarding you junk e-mails? Check this out!

This is just great!  This web site came up with a terrific little movie that is perfect to send to anyone who forwards you an annoying e-mail.

For example, so you still have people forwarding that stupid e-mail saying congress has a bill that they're going to charge you 5 cents for every e-mail you send?  Reply to them with a link to this!

http://www.softlab.ece.ntua.gr/~sivann/pub/swf/may02-smilepop-soapbox4.swf

Saw the Star Wars Premier Tonight!

All I can say is WOW.  What a great movie!  Star Wars Episode 3 is the movie all SW fans are waiting for.  Don't listen to anyone who says it has any slow-moving sections or dull acting.  It just ROCKED from start to finish.

There is so much to see, you can't possibly take it all in in one sitting!

The premier was a real class-act, and because Lottery Post was a sponsor, we had a nice mention in the souvenir booklet.

There were some celebrities there including Frank Oz (who autographed my booklet) and Liam Neeson.  Also some other celebrities who I didn't recognize.  An after-party followed at the 21 Club on 52nd street.

I had absolutely perfect seats in the theater (the Ziegfeld), sitting directly in the middle in all directions.  I sat two rows behind the celebrities.

One of the really great things was that the movie was presented in digital projection, and it just blew me away.  The clarity was so sharp and bright that it almost appears 3D.  It was stunning.  Likewise, the soundtracked just roared, and the bass was so strong in some sections that the floor literally felt like it was moving.

What a night, and what a way to see the last Star Wars ever!