Techzilla Theatre - Harry S. Truman 1948 'Whistle Stop" Campaign Tour

I just completed this segment for my DVD I'm making. The Missouri Waltz playing in the background came from a 1916 recording loaded with typical old recording noise I was able to clean up. Also I added croud noise and created the train sounds. the video came from short clips from a PBS broadcast.

This little piece took the better part of the day to assemble. The tricky part was removing the origional audio except for when President Truman was speaking.  Truman actually hated the Missouri Waltz but the bands played it wherever he went.

Dealing With Spam

Everybody gets SPAM.

Personally I hate it in my email and I hate it out of the can. You probably feel the same way about either versions I bet. Each of us deals with it our own way. No matter what method you use, sooner or later it ends up in your inbox.

Once your email address gets sold to a spammer it is all uphill from there. I've used the same "public" email address provided by Yahoo since 1998...that's 10 years. When my spam volume was at it's height, I was recieving 150-200 spams a day. It was a literal nightmare.

Failure to read the fine print or removing checkmarks is the most common mistakes people make. Of course Yahoo's filtering system was/is something left to be desired also. Being on dial-up at that time made managing my email quite a chore. Now I spend very little time dealing with spam on a daily basis.

Now while there are several methods and solutions available...and many I have tried, I thought I would let everyone know what seems to work for me.

I have several email accounts, all of which I forward to a paid account with I never reveal my email address. I have been with them for 5 or more years and costs $30.00/year. I believe they also have a free service.

Spamcop maintains one of the best spam filters which they also sell to ISP's around the world. User's submit spam for review and they build thier list from that. Thier spam engine digs through through email headers and discovers phony mail servers, open gateways and stuff.

I very seldom actually log on to my spamcop webmail account except to set my filter options. I retrieve my mail using Microsoft Outlook.  In the Spamcop filter settings I set the how aggressive level to 6 which will let a little more spam get through. At one time I was having problems recieving some of my Yahoo Group mail because they are being filtered.

Addittionally they offer to filter mail using other popular blacklists and can block mail from entire countries. They also will send an email daily or weekly which reports the mail headers of held mail. In the last month I have only seen a couple of mails that should have gone through.

Since no email system filtering is 100% perfect I do have a secondary line of defence installed in Outlook that uses a community submitted spamlist to determine what is and isn't spam.That is iHateSpam by Sunbelt Software which you can click on the picture and get a free trial to check it out for yourself



All optical drives under the hood are cdrom readers based on the origional 1x cdrom by Phillips Electronics. With the decline of the floppy drive, ALL optical drives have to be able to boot the computer just like a floppy or a hard drive using bootable media such as an operating system CD.  This simple fact is often overlooked by tech support. Instead when you are having problems they immediately assume a problem with Windows or your operating system. 

Typically, most computer manufacturers configure the drives that are at the top of the computer as the "Bootable Drive". These drives are typically also the last drive on the cable. If you have 2 optical drives, you can test the second drive by removing the data cable from both drives and connecting the end connector of the cable to the second drive.

If your optical drive cannot read a cd and boot the computer the drive is defective. It's not the operating system.

In the illustration above, I list what each optical drive type is capable of and what uses that peticular drive has for you.. Determinimg what "extra features or what to call your drive basically depends on looking at the faceplate of the drive and look for the industry logo's.  Notice all the drives say "compact disc".

I can't count the number of individuals that didn't listen to thier cdroms discs or install software when the cdrom died and they had a perfectly good burner capable of doing just that and more, I can't count the number of people that have been forced to reload the operating system prior to tech support approving to replace a bad drive either.

A little Knowlege goes a long Way

The Rototiller has come back to life...

My tiller has finally started to work. Not sure what the problem was but apparently it didn't like be left in the yard. It started right up and ran like a champ to be left somewhere else.

Even though I really can't afford it right now I need to get ready to plant the lawn. At least one part of it anyway. I'm getting real tired of looking at dirt and weeds. Even grass and weeds sounds better at this point though. Except it's something to water and mow.

I may take a couple passes in the lawn area today and then get some manure and work that in next week and roll it out. Just imagine how fertile a cow pasture would be to garden in! man I like that shit! LOL

Actually, I have grown grapefruit sized volunteer tomatoes near a septic tank before.....yummy! That same year I had some 10 foot tall plants next to it that we won't talk about but I traded a pound of it for my favorite Gibson acoustic guitar. I made over 10 grand playing in bars and parties and stuff with it.

So the bottom line is to grow a little you gotta get a little shit once in a while!

DRILL NOW! Feinstein email

Dear Senator,

A point that seems to be missed is that speculators speculate on the supply compared to the demand down the road. They react to things they "Think" will happen such as civil wars or actions that "possibly' will happen throughout the world.

If speculators "Think' we are serious about drilling they will react positively in our favor at the pumps. It really doesn't matter if we have refineries that can handle it at the present. It doesn't matter that it would take a few years to get oil out of the ground.It doesn't matter if we have refineries then either initially.

What matters is that speculators realize that we are serious and that a "new" supply is on the way. There is no speculation in the fact that we have the oil and can eventually produce it. There is no "quick fix" for this either. We need a viable plan for the future.

Congress in their short-sided actions, inactions, misplaced finger pointing and thinking things like windfall profit taxes are going to force the oil companies to reduce prices is our downfall.

Whatever amount of oil we can introduce into the supply side can be sold on the world market. Whatever we export will help offset the cost of what we import. What ever we can produce will increase the supply available to satisfy the demand. That is what brings down prices.

While I'm not a genius in economics I do understand supply and demand.

Several years ago in Santa Cruz, California I owned a recycling operation. I was recycling an average of 120 tons of cardboard, 80 tons of glass, 2 tons of cans and about 60 tons of newspaper among other things on a monthly basis.  The difference we were making was such that the Board of Supervisors turned their head when we were red-tagged after flopping down on a piece of commercial property in a prime location. They couldn't afford to have us go out of business without having an alternative. We couldn't afford the use permit.

As soon as the state mandated that the garbage companies and local municipalities implement curbside recycling, I literally had to close the doors. It wasn't competition that caused that to happen. It was merely because the market would soon be flooded with product. Anticipation of this, drove down the prices so low we couldn't afford to operate our trucks even. In plain English...the supply was "going to" exceed the demand. I dealt directly with both refineries and overseas brokers. Because of my volume, I typically got more money for my product than the average person.

There is more than one way to achieve energy independence, and control the oil market so it doesn't impact the economy like it has. It's starts with realizing the free market needs stumbling blocks removed that led to this situation. The market will take care of itself when Congress gets out of the way and you let them do their job.

Speculators already know we have the oil...scare them into believing we are going to make it available, and the prices will drop before we can get it out of the ground!

Michael Welch

From: []
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 11:43 AM
Subject: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message


Dear Mr. Welch:


I received your letter expressing concern about high gas prices and speculation in energy markets. I want you to know that I very much agree that gas prices are too high and have placed a burden on American families.


I am disappointed that on July 25, 2008, the Senate came 9 votes shy of the 60 needed to proceed to the consideration of the "Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act." I believe that this was a missed opportunity. Please be assured that I have been working to increase energy market transparency for many years, and I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to address these record energy prices.


I would also like to share with you my most recent remarks on what I believe we must to do reduce gas prices. If you have additional comments or questions, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.


U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

Floor Statement in Support of

The "Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act"

July 23, 2008


           "Mr. President, I wish I could come to the floor and say there is a quick fix for gasoline prices at the pump. This is needed as much as anywhere in California where gas prices are high -- and at times the very highest.


           I wish I could say there was a quick fix. But I really can't.


           I wish I could say that if we could drill all of the Outer Continental Shelf, if we could drill on all of the public land in America, the price of pump would drop immediately, but I can't. In all good conscience I don't believe that opening the Outer Continental Shelf to new drilling would lower the prices at the pump any time in the near future.


oFirst place, it takes two years for Minerals and Management Services to do the contracts.

oSecond place, all drilling rigs are now leased. There need to be new rigs.

oThird place, there is no additional refining capacity.

oFourth place, drilling in the outer continental shelf and on public lands in America over the last eight years has increased by 361% and at the same time the price of oil has doubled.


           So there is no relationship between drilling on the outer continental shelf, drilling on public lands in America and the price of oil. I deeply believe this.


           Some say it's simply a problem of supply and demand but physical supplies of oil and natural gas have remained relatively stable over the past year.


           In fact, if you remember, executives from oil companies testified before congress recently and asserted that the price should be about $60 a barrel if it were just a matter of supply and demand.


           Some point to instability in the Middle East and Africa's production regions. Others have pointed to the falling dollar. These are certainly factors. But it can't explain the sharp uptick in prices we've seen at the pump over the last few months.


           So what's really going on? What's new in this picture? Consumption in America has dropped 3 percent this year over the same period last year.


           So what's new? There's only one thing that's different. There's only one thing that's new -- and it's a massive influx of speculation in the marketplace. This is the 800-pound gorilla.


           Increasingly, experts now say that rampant speculation in energy markets account for anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the energy price increase. Some will say even more.


           So I think we've got to take a look at why this is the case and what we can do about it.


           In May, Congress took a major step forward in the effort to bring more oversight to energy futures markets when we enacted legislation to close the notorious Enron loophole. The senator from Minnesota just referred to it.


           I had worked on this for six years. I came to the Floor when Phil Gramm argued against it. We lost - got just 48 votes.


           We came back again. We finally got it in the farm bill this time. The notorious Enron loophole, today, is closed.

           Now, what was that? This loophole was created in 2000 when a measure was inserted in the dark of night into a must-pass appropriations bill at the behest of Enron and others to essentially eliminate them from the Commodities Modernization Act. Two commodities were left out: energy and metals.


           During the Western Energy Crisis, we saw the costs soar from $8 billion in 1999 to $27 billion in 2000, and then to $27.5 billion in 2001.


           The reason for this was, in the main, manipulation, fraud, and reckless speculation of the worst sort - all because you could trade on electronic platforms with no transparency and there was no anti-fraud or anti-manipulation oversight by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.


           When all was said and done, the energy traders left California taxpayers with an increased bill of about $40 billion. To date, 32 companies have pled guilty to market manipulation and settled $6 billion in claims.


           In recent years, we also saw the $6 billion collapse of the Amaranth hedge fund because of unregulated speculation in natural gas futures on electronic exchanges. And the list goes on. And this has typified the energy marketplace.


           So it became clear that a legislative fix was needed. And we finally got that done, as I said.


           The bill, which is now law, ensures that all major trades of energy futures that could drive up prices, or have what's called a price discovery impact, are placed under the oversight of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.


           The new law imposes limits on rampant speculation, prevents fraud and manipulation, requires traders for the first time to keep records and provide an audit trail to the CFTC.


           This was a significant victory. It's signed into law.


           But as we continue to learn more about what's really going on with energy futures markets, it's clear that more work remains to be done. We're learning about additional loopholes that must be closed. And the legislation before us is critical to ensure that we can level the playing field in energy markets, that there's transparency there.


           First, the problem of large institutional investors like pension funds -- this is what's new in this market.


           From 2003 to 2008 institutional investments in commodity index funds rose from $13 billion to $317 billion. That's in five years -- from $13 billion to $317 billion. Now, you might say, what does that have to do with it?


           Well, Daniel Yergin said what it has to do with it when he said that "Oil has become the new gold a financial asset in which investors seek refuge as inflation rises and the dollar weakens." Investors seek refuge.


           So the implications are potentially devastating. And here's why. Unlike gold, energy and agricultural commodities meet essential needs in every day life of average people. They are limited. They aren't pork bellies. Energy is limited in the amount we have.


           And these institutional investors, the big pension funds like my own, the California Public Employee Retirement Fund or CalPERS, has invested over $1 billion in these markets.


           These institutional investors are trading long on energy futures prices. In other words, they are betting that the prices in these future markets continue to rise. They're not hedging against the risk of changing oil prices as airlines and utilities frequently do. They never take delivery of a product. They participate in the oil markets only on paper.


           Yet these investors, the big ones, are currently exempt from CFTC regulation when they execute these trades through brokers or dealers. These trades are called "swaps."


           Currently, the CFTC limits speculation positions to a total of 20 million barrels of oil and three million barrels of oil in the last three days of a contract. However, these same investors avoid these limits by executing their trades as swaps. This is a mistake. Institutional investors have become speculators.


           Last month, the CFTC announced it would review trading practices for these investors and this is a positive step. But legislation is still needed to level the playing field and close the loophole. This bill before us will limit the size and influence of institutional investor positions in energy markets.


           To further increase transparency this bill also requires the CFTC to begin distinguishing between the institutional investor index trader and the swaps dealers who broker their trades.


           This legislation closes the swaps loophole bringing transparency and speculation limits from contracts executed through swaps dealers. In that way, preventing a price discovery function as much as possible to keep prices from continuing to escalate.


           Specifically, the bill gives the CFTC the authority to begin collecting data on large over-the-counter traders so it can determine whether price manipulation or excessive speculation is taking place. And this would ensure that the CFTC has a clear picture of all trading in over the counter commodity markets.


           Now, the London loophole. What is the London loophole?


           We must prevent U.S. crude oil contracts from being traded on international exchanges without robust oversight.


           A recent report found that traders were using the London exchange to trade U.S. crude oil futures to avoid U.S. regulations - in other words, go around it. Trades exceeded U.S. speculation limits every single week since 2006.


           Last month, CFTC announced it would limit this offshore market speculation and require recordkeeping and an audit trail for these traders. That's a start.


           But legislation is still needed to codify the legislation. And this legislation will require foreign exchanges with customers in the United States to adopt the same speculation trading limits and reporting requirements that apply to United States trade - ending the regulatory race to the bottom.


           This language is based on legislation that Senator Levin and I introduced previously. I believe very strongly that we must ensure that American energy commodities are protected from manipulation and excessive speculation regardless of where the commodities are traded.


           Bottom line: this bill brings transparency, it brings accountability, it brings recordkeeping, and it brings oversight to the energy markets.


           It would impose sound, proven, economic principles to markets that are currently broke and where speculation has increased so dramatically that it is pushing price up. It would close regulatory and legislative loopholes that prevent the CFTC from enforcing the commodity exchange act in energy commodity markets.


           I hope my colleagues will support it. I suspect it may not pass. I hope it does because there is no question in my mind that the 800-pound gorilla and the price of gasoline at the pump is excessive speculation on commodities futures markets deals with energy.


           Thank you very much, Mr. President. I yield the floor."


Sincerely yours,


Dianne Feinstein
        United States Senator