Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mid-west travel observations

Mid-west travel observations (Watt Thoughts #224)

During my travels to Kansas this summer I had several observations. First was the area in eastern Kansas was a little hillier than I remember from 30 years ago, but still relatively flat. It was fun seeing the area where the book about a character named Dwight Watt is coming out in the near future written and published by a couple of guys in Kansas. (I have no association with that book, the author had created the name Dwight Watt, but I am looking forward to reading it)

In Kansas I encountered a number of roundabouts which are being discussed in other areas of the country. They are traffic circles that we used to have in the cities but discontinued in many places in 1960s and 1970s although these were smaller. Traffic yields entering to traffic in roundabout but mean you often do not have to stop for a left turn and going across at intersection not having to wait clearance both ways. No waste of gas sitting at red light and no other traffic around. The last was a reason right turn on red was universally adopted in the USA in the early 1970s.

In Missouri they have some very interesting sinks in the rest stops. First thing was I had to look carefully to spot the sinks in the rest room as they were in the wall not extending out. The next was relative easy that the soap was automatically supplied and the water turned on when extended hand in the fixture. Then I looked around for paper towels or driers and did not see one and realized I had felt air when removing my hands. Leaving my hands in the enclosure withdrawing slower caused the drier to work and I had clean dry hands. I have driven all over the United States and this was a unique rest room experience.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Obama's veto part 2

The bill that was passed unanimously was changing requirements on where papers had to be signed and notarized for foreclosures. I am not really sure my opinion on the bill. I was just commenting on the odd processes occurring in DC.

The bill allows electronically notarized documents and documents notarized in a different state than filing in the foreclosure process. Electronic signatures (and I had not heard of electronic notarizing, wonder if my uncle who is a notary and does not use a computer knows about it) raise questions to many people. I would have thought a duly notarized document in one state would be recognized in another state, i.e. interstate commerce. The concerns are that it will make it easier to and quicker to foreclose and whether documents were legitimate. Questions we need to consider but I still find it odd that the House had passed it twice before and then it made unanimously in the Senate this fall and had passed the House on a voice vote in the spring and no one had thought of concerns until Obama. There seems to be agreement that some type way needs to be found to accept notarized documents across state lines. Apparently you can use non-embossed from out of state in some states and others say it can only be embossed from anywhere and no agreement on that, much less using electronic notarizing. Hopefully they can find way where notarized documents are known to be done right and usable across state line but also that the documents really were signed by the person signing it. There is no way I can think of that we can really make people have really read before signing and know if info is really right they signed. That is what courts often have to decide whether the document is is truthful.

Further consideration of the bill is needed, but a real veto would have been more straight forward, not try to slip a pocket veto, and our representatives who are now saying it needs refining should have thought more before voting. It remains hard to believe though that it managed to go thru Senate unanimously, I am not really sure we could pass a bill unanimously there that the sun rose this morning.


Last Week’s Veto by Obama (Watt Thoughts)

Last Week’s Veto by Obama (Watt Thoughts)

The party of no combined with the Democrats to unanimously pass a bill and the guy up the street who says that the party of no is blocking anything from being done in DC vetoed it. Yes that is correct the House and Senate unanimously (meaning all Democrats, Republicans and Independents (and anyone else I missed) all voted for it) and the president vetoed it because they may not have thought about the ramifications. I have no question that some did not, but I doubt 533 of them did not and one man living up the street did.

This is the same White House that the Attorney General works for and the Attorney General blamed congress for being opposed to the president and not doing anything about immigration. He failed to apparently remember that he is a Democrat and the Democrats have large majorities in Congress and normally when you campaign against Congress you are campaigning against a Congress held by the opposite party or the opposite party is almost exactly same number, not when your party is fully in control since you were appointed Attorney General with the new president taking office. Odd that the Democratic attorney general would be advocating the American people elect a Republican Congress. This is much worse than Gibbs (White House press secretary) telling the press that it is likely the Democrats will lose a number of seats in Congress in a couple months when there was already general agreement that will occur.

Odd also that the controversy whether Obama can veto this bill about foreclosures the way he did. He announced he is using a pocket veto and that can only be used when Congress is in recess, and the Senate has pointed out they made sure they were not going in recess. Reason is to block recess appointments and that was an action agreed on by the Republicans and Democrats, a bipartisan maneuver to stop the presidential powers.

The Republicans may not be the party of no after all, it is beginning to look like Obama has finally achieved one of the items he said he was going to do and that was bipartisanship in Congress. We appear to be having it occurring but it is not what Obama had intended, but bipartisanship against the president.


Friday, October 1, 2010


For the past 2 weeks the price of oil has risen significantly. No reasons have been given. It is not the beginning of driving season (reason given every spring/early summer, although gas usage is just a part of oil usage), no hurricanes threatening gulf, no war in mid-east (peace talks occurring although dispute on building freeze end in certain territories), reports are inventories have been at highest levels fro several months compared over many years and other usual stuff.

The only reason I have best figured is the US government has been claiming the economy is improving and the group that decides recessions has declared we are out of recession (a year ago). Oil over $80 a barrel by my my watching and analysis just knocks the economy back down and today we have passed that number again. Less money for people to spend on other stuff than gas, less money for businesses to build and expand as the money is going to oil products.

Although we had the BP disaster in the gulf this summer, expectations are currently at many places that we are no where near peak oil (meaning that the amount we will find and drill is in decline). Since the 1973 in the first oil crisis we have heard continuously that we have reached peak oil and will be out of oil in 30 or less years. We have discovered massive amounts of oil in last few years and although it is not all easily accessible I believe we are probably years from peak spot. Since the 70s we have also become much more energy efficient in the US and the world. Our cars today get much higher MPG than back then. WE have developed and are developing a number of alternatives including recycling and using green sources. Electric cars are not necessarily a way to reduce oil usage and carbon footprint depending on how that electricity is produced.

The rising of oil prices leads me to think that the economy will continue in its doldrums for a long time. People controlling the oil market can cause the economy to rise or fall. Either that or we have another balloon and it is oil and by November/December we will see the effect of oil prices too high and them fall in the $40-50 range which is probably unrealistically low. $60-70 strikes me as a realistic range that both is low enough for good economy and high enough to encourage being more efficient.

Definition of recession by the authorities is not when economy is still bad but whether it is getting worse. Basically if you fall out a 3 story window the time while you are falling to ground is a recession after you hit and people come over to help you are no longer in recession as you are no longer falling but you are major hurting now with broken bones and body but you are recovering and not in recession. For the general public we would define recession when things are not as good as they should be (unemployment above 5-6%, growth of the economy less than 2% and most of the decision based on employment).

Remember when they tell you we can cut oil dependency by just raising the price of gas $1 a gallon we did that in 2005 and have stayed pretty consistent with it and they are still claiming that is what we need to do.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Warning about messages about e-mail accounts

I have gotten several e-mails entitled "Your e-mail Account Suspend Notification" in the last few days. These are not from your e-mail provider (yahoo, hotmail, bellsouth, att, comcast, whoever) but are phishing e-mails. They are the usual phishing e-mails with a new subject line. They are wanting to get your personal information including account numbers, passwords, checking account number, etc to then be able to steal money from you

Do not reply to these e-mails or click on the link. If the e-mails were real they would have your specific name in them and the links would go to your e-mail provider not to some long strange one like these have in them. The address they are coming from with be the address of your e-mail provider. The ones I have gotten show and my e-mail is not at

Just delete these e-mails just like you do other phishing e-mails and selling crazy things like body part enhancers.

If by chance you did click on a link in one of these and put any info contact your bank and local law enforcement ASAP. If you did not supply any information and send, but did go to the link then still run a full antispyware and antivirus scan on your computer


Friday, May 7, 2010

K-T Notes editor

Last month I was appointed editor of the K-T Notes by the governor, Glen Kleine, of the Kentucky-Tennessee District of Kiwanis. K-T Notes is their publication (quarterly) of the news of the district that is for all the members of the district. It is published electronically by e-mail and posted on there web site.

I complete the first issue under my leadership a week ago. You can view my efforts at It took a decent amount of work but I am proud of the final version. I did it in Microsoft Publisher and converted to Adobe Acrobat. I did have a few people give me feedback in the final stages, Glen and Clay, which was real helpful

I am a member of the Swainsboro Kiwanis club and the Ft Oglethorpe Kiwanis club. Both clubs meet in Georgia but the second is in the K-T district. I have been active in Kiwanis for about 15 years belonging to those clubs and also clubs in Columbia SC and in Elberton GA Prior to that I was a member of the Jaycees for many years and active on local, state and national levels.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Political year length

In the past little over 9 calendar years I have learned that political years are not the same. My bachelor's degree is in political science and I do not remember them ever teaching us that political years are more like dog years than human years.

Think back to 2000 when George W Bush was elected president and the House and Senate were controlled by the Republicans. We were told we had entered a new era of politics in Washington and the Democrats were going to be the minority party for the next 20-40 years. We heard that story on thru about 2005.

If you go back in time this was a first for most Americans as always during our lives the Democrats had controlled at least the House or Senate and usually the other. When the Senate went Republican in Reagan's era it was big news but 14 more years before House went Republican and then there was a Democrat president. In 2000 the Republicans in control of all three parts of elective branches was different. You have to go back to 1948 when the Republicans had controlled the House and the Senate and Truman, Democrat, was president.

Then in 2008 Obama was elected president and with him the House and Senate went Democrat. Suddenly we heard pronouncements everywhere that we had entered a new era in politics and that the Republican Party was dead and the Democrats would be in control for the next 20-40 years.

It is now early 2010 and the predictions are that Republicans will make gains this fall and could be major gains and some are calling for them to again control the House and/or the Senate. The Republicans are not behaving like beaten elephants but are giving appearances of expecting the change. We are watching predictions from Democrats on whether they will do lose control from a group that was on top one and a half years ago. Many I read say Republican gains this fall and in 2012 with majorities changing then. We are watching both sides saying a couple of issues will be the big
decision this fall (healthcare/insurance, Afghanistan and the economy), but I will wait to summer as new issues could rise.

So the Republicans were going to control it all for 20-40 years was 6 calendar years, the Democrats are going to control for 20-40 years but may be only 2-4 years, and only nine and a half calendar years. I originally was thinking dog years but now looking at that maybe it is nuclear half lives. I know there are some that think politics probably ought to be handled like nuclear waste, so maybe nuclear half lives is way to measure.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haiti – Robertson and Chavez and others (Watt Thoughts)

Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake a week ago. The US and others have jumped in with aid to survive the effects of the hurricane with the US leading many of the efforts there. A smaller airport that suffered damage and a destroyed port have hampered these effort. Even before the earthquake Haiti has been a very poor and devastated country.

Three people have not helped the matter any; US politicians, Pat Robertson and Hugo Chavez.

The US politicians have been trying to fly in there to get their pictures taken in the destruction to show their concern for Haiti. However the airport can only service a limited number of flights each day and there are more relief planes than landing slots available. To fly a plane in there with politicians and not relief crews (doctors, medicine, recovery experts, etc) means one less plane that could carry that stuff in there. Besides just being able to land there is limited space for paring the planes. If the politicians think need photo about Haiti go to their airport and helped load plane with supplies and get their picture helping load the plane and then get out of the way.

Pat Robertson has come on and blamed the earthquake on something that happened 220 years ago. How the Haitians got their independence and has his story on it. If the story was correct, there is no reason that God would be punishing them with an earthquake 220 years later. The Haitian people have been suffering in misery for many, many years so they don’t need more of that.

Hugo Chavez has sent little to help his fellow people living in the Americas. He has come out claiming that the US caused the earthquake by testing some super new weapon. Instead of blaming it in the US it would be a lot more helpful if he sent relief material. Chavez claimed for years that Bush was the devil and now appears to have decided that Obama is just the devil’s partner.

We could use less people and behavior like the Robertson, Chavez and the politicians. We need more of the Christian missionary type people and UN relief people that were there already providing relief and trying to improve the lives of the Haitians. Some of the deaths were these people, the international head of the Methodist church died in the quake, and many UN staff who were there doing the same. The survivors of these changed from long term poverty relief to immediate quake relief.

We need to try to improve the conditions of the Haitian people so that they have responsible good government that can lead them to posterity, just as the other side of the island is a much better living spot. Give your money to groups that will spend it on relief, not themselves and continue to pray for relief and improvement for the Haitians. If you have abilities they can use in Haiti consider going now or in the future to help, but not just to get seen. The world needs to unite here to get the relief, not just certain countries. This is not a problem we will solve and can ignore in 6 months.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Terrorism hits US - Whose fault? (Watt Thoughts)

We have now seen terrorism strike at about the same time in the last two US presidencies. Stories everywhere each time and afterward on whose fault is it.

On 9/11/2001 we saw terrorism strike New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. George Bush had been president almost 8 months. We heard stories from many people saying it was all Bush's fault because he was president. A few placed blame on Clinton as former president and a few back to GHW Bush, Reagan and even Carter. The claim was Bush should have known and done something.

Now on 12/25/2009 terrorism tries to blow up a plane in Detroit and there are similarities and differences. Obama has been president for 11 months (longer than Bush at 9/11) and the blame is being put by people as either Bush or Obama.

Both presidents had 8-11 months to implement their new polices to protect the American people. If they thought the previous policies were wrong they should have been able to have been changing them. We elect presidents for only 4 year terms. There is no guarantee of a second (ask Carter and GHW Bush if you doubt) so a president should hot the ground running and implement major items like ways to protect Americans immediately.

Now for the Blamers (these are Republicans and Democrats and others and ones in both administrations). Keep your stories straight. If 9/11 was Bush's fault then you must blame Obama for 12/25. If 9/11 was to early in Bush's administration for him to be responsible then in all likelihood 12/25 is too early in Obama's administration for him to be held responsible for 12/25. You can blame both attacks on Bush. You may be able to blame them both to some degree on the bureaucracy for not doing their jobs, but it comes back to what is the leadership doing?

More than likely both are a test by the terrorists to see what type presidents we have and what can they get away with. Also they are a wake up call to both presidents and to the congresses serving at that time that terrorism is real and not just something that happens in other parts of the world but not in the USA. People hate what America stands for, although huge numbers of people hold the American ideal very high. The American ideal and a loving people through their government, christian religion and as individuals is a threat to dictators and leaders who hold their power by dominating and they want to destroy it.

When blame is placed on Bush or Obama for 12/25 stop and think were the Blamers consistent about 9/11 and weigh their views.