Barry. John Barry.

The man who created one of the most widely-recognized themes in all of movie history has passed away. 

Goodbye, sir, and thank you for your music. 

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January 31st, 2011 by admindude

An Educated Gamble

Lately, I’ve received a lot of mail from my college.  You see, my twenty year college reunion is coming up and they want me to attend.  They also want me to donate my money to my alma mater to support it.

The appeal for money has gone on ever since I graduated, and I’ve only contributed a nominal amount once.  As much as I enjoyed my college years and valued the classical education I received, I can’t support an institution whose values and beliefs don’t mirror mine.

Plus the fact that my great education didn’t really help my career aspirations.  I’m not bitter or angry, just stating the truth that many college-educated people face.  Thank goodness that my late grandparents funded my education and I did not have to take out loans to pay for school.  Eventually, I found a career (Information Technologies) that has enabled me to create a comfortable and fulfilling life for myself.

But I know I am the exception.

During economic recessions/depressions, people go back to school to get a degree or acquire skills to become more valuable in the job market.  When I worked for University of Phoenix in 2003-2004, we saw an influx of students looking to earn degrees in the post Dot-Com, post 9/11 world.  You also see the ads in newspapers, magazines, journals, online, and for professional associations.  Get more education/credentials, earn more money.  Big Education is Big Business.

But is this just another bubble that will eventually burst?  Greg Patterson over at Espresso Pundit has written about it here and here about the diminishing value of education.  State, county, and federal governments have thrown trillions into education since World War Two in the quest to garner the economic benefits from a more educated population.  To an extent, this is a good goal.  However, after a certain point, you get inflation as you have students chasing degrees, which increases costs.

People inside the bubble see this and have written about it.  Students continue to pour in though, taking out government-backed (read “taxpayer funded”) loans to fund their education.  Some may win the gamble and earn a degree that will enable them to improve their skills and earn more money.  Many will not complete their education and most will have large debts that they will be paying off for years.

Heck, even books are being written about how foolish it is to get a graduate degree!  It seems that despite the hype, some are waking up to the fact that after a point, education is not the best investment one can make.  As this reality dawns on more people, it will alter the education market in profound ways.

Soon this bubble will pop and its going to rock another major institution.  In the end however, this will be healthy as it will restore balance in the education field.  That is, if we can resist the temptation for the government to be involved in “fixing” it.

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January 31st, 2011 by admindude

Dead end track

Some Republicans are beginning to think that Obama’s plan for high-speed rail isn’t all such a bad idea after all

“I believe it’s good for America to develop a high-speed rail corridor in the Northeast corridor,” Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chairman of the railroad subcommittee, said according to the Connecticut Post. “It’s a place we have to start, we have to accomplish it, because then I believe all of America, in the various corridors around the country, will want high-speed rail if they see success here.”

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chairman of the whole committee, also said Friday he was “pleased that President Obama has helped to launch a system for improved passenger rail service for our nation.” 

Given the, ahhh, intrusive nation of airport security, I am all for other options when it comes to long-distance travel, but that option must rely on private and not public money. And before you say, “Ah, ExKev, you just hate trains”, I’d like to point out I grew up with a train nut as a Dad. I love trains, and I learned to take photos by chasing Canadian Pacific trains all over Western Canada

Tanked EngineWhile the sound a train whistle still brings a smile to my face and I’d love to see travel by rail become the norm again, for the sake of my children’s future, this dream of a high-speed future on rails cannot be paid for with public money.

Why do Obama and these (alleged) Republicans think big government can succeed where private industry tried and failed?

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January 30th, 2011 by admindude

Saturday Movie Blogging – That Thing You Do

There is time and a place for a heavy, thoughtful movie that examines the deepest mysteries of life to their fullest. 

And then there’s a time for movies like “That Thing You Do!” 

So lightweight it positively floats, all it asks from you is to sit down, relax and start snappin’ your fingers and tappin’ your toes.

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January 29th, 2011 by admindude

Spam Kills

Score one for the good guys

A “Black Widow” suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year’s Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt near Red Square on New Year’s Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Security sources believe a message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her at a safe house. 

“Merry Christmas and a Happy New *BOOM*”

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January 28th, 2011 by admindude

No Honor

Shame on me for forgetting about this.

Not long ago a father ran over his daughter (and her boyfriend’s mother) with a Jeep.  After two weeks in a coma, his daughter died, she was 20 years old.


Faleh Almaleki thought his daughter (Noor Almaleki) was becomming “too Westernized” and had “disgraced” her family.  According to the father, if you don’t live by traditional Muslim values, an “honor killing” was justified, even in a secular, democratic country like the United States.

You see, she was tricked by her father into going back to Iraq and forced into an arranged marriage.  She was able to eventually come back to the US, get a job, and find a boyfriend of her own choosing.  This sort of independence for a young, adult woman was more than Mr. Almaleki could stand, which made him take lethal action against her.

Thankfully, he is going to be punished for his crime and some states are taking action to ensure no aspect of Sharia Law gains hold in the US.  Noor Almaleki’s death may bring increasing attention to “honor killings” and other barbaric Islamic practices that take place in the United States.  If nothing else, it shows how backwards and tribal Islamic culture to its own adherents.  Think about what this means to nascent Middle Eastern and South Asian communities who came to America to ESCAPE such brutal practices.

Hopefully this means our country will nip the imposition of Sharia Law in the bud and avoid the UK’s fate.

Special hat tip to Hillbuzz and Jihad Watch.

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January 28th, 2011 by admindude

Gentlemen, we must prevent a drug-launching catapult gap!

This is what happens when Mexican drug smugglers watch “Punkin Chunkin“: A marijuana-launching catapult

National Guard troops operating a remote video surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station say they observed several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the International Border fence last Friday evening.

“It looks like a medieval catapult that was used back in the day,” Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman David Jimarez told Reuters.

The Pima County Sheriff’s office has issued a statement blaming the drug catapult on the vicious taunting that has become prevelant throughout the country and has warned Arizonans to be on the lookout for a large wooden badger

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January 28th, 2011 by admindude

It’s like deja vu all over again

An authoritarian dictator in a MidEast country is facing a popular uprising against his rule. 

The uprising is being led by radical Islamists.

There’s a Democrat in the White House who has a reputation for being weak on foreign policy. 

The Steelers are in the Super Bowl. 

1979? Nope, 2011. And this time, it’s not the oilfields of Iran on the line, it’s the Suez Canal.

If we’ve ever needed Ronald Reagan before, we sure do need him now.

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January 28th, 2011 by admindude

Genuinely Evil

Piling-on is a penalty in football, but not in blogging.  Allow me to continue on the subject of GE and Big Government…

During my college days, GE was the subject of boycotts on campus.  Lefties would say that GE made components for nuclear weapons or some other military products they found offensive and refuse to buy their goods.  The college bookstore would dutifully carry alternate brands (ex. Philips lightbulbs) in support of this boycott.

I thought GE was kinda cool because they made things like Vulcan cannons, military get engines, and nuclear reactors to name just a few.  This was all good as far as I was concerned so I purchased GE products just to spite the lefties.  It was fun to defy political correctness, even back then.

Oh how times change!

Nowadays we have GE in tight with the Obama Administration supporting all manner of big government programs.  Even before then, they were lining up to make money on carbon trading schemes.  Now that AGW has collapsed, they continue to benefit from government programs designed to promote so-called “green” energy.

Once upon a time, an actor named Ronald Reagan was a spokesman for GE and talked about the virtues of capitalism and free markets. Now we have Jeffrey Immelt cozying up to President Obama and supporting various government-directed schemes that manipulate markets.  Remember that these government programs use YOUR TAX DOLLARS to benefit companies based upon their access to politicians.

Very sad indeed.

But the impact is even worse than it appears.  The result is a corrosive mixture that is harming both businesses and individuals.  A government that picks winners ultimately makes the voters/consumers the loosers.  Instead of having free markets determine who succeeds, we have a form of crony capitalism that rewards the large and connected.  Its not healthy to those not in on the scheme.  Scott Johnson over at Powerline sums it up by saying:

In partnership with Obama, GE exploits the power of big government to enrich its shareholders while making the rest of us poorer and less free.

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January 27th, 2011 by admindude

Me too, please

Arizona state senators can now protect themselves on state property

Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce says it’s OK for State Senators to carry guns inside the Senate building.

The Arizona Republic reports the Mesa Republican issued a memo Tuesday to lawmakers clarifying his policy.

Pearce says a member of the Legislature does not lose his or her Second Amendment rights when coming to work each day.

That’s true. However, I lose my Second Amendment rights when I’m at the state capitol. I cannot carry inside the Senate or the House, and there are metal detectors in the capitol to make sure of this. 

Texas allows CCW holders to bypass security and meet with their elected officials and still retain their ability to defend themselves. Arizona is known throughout the country for it’s respect of the Second Amendment, but we’re playing second fiddle to Texas when it comes to the state legislature and personal protection. 

Let’s hope this ends soon.

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January 27th, 2011 by admindude