Pages read 2008: Week 1

Over 8,000 pages read in the first six days of 2008. I doubt I will keep this level up. But even if I just read 8,000 pages a month (which is easily credible) that still makes me a voracious reader.

Romance:
28 novels between 235 and 248 pages (235, 246, 248 were the page numbers for the last three) for an average of 243 = 6804 pages

Science fiction:
1252 pages

Blogs:
I want to count my reading on these. They are reading. They should count. But how do you count pages? So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to count a day’s posting, whether long like Sigmund, Carl and Alfred or short like Reactuate, as one page. So some “pages” will be very long. But it will give me a presentation of “pages” for blogs. They are reading.
189

Requiem for 2007

I told my husband it had been a very good year.

He said it had, despite my mother’s dip into insanity.

Then I said, in spite of the fact that your grandfather died.

And we kept on… Then he said, It’s kind of weird that it’s been a good year and so much bad stuff has happened. But it has been a good year.

Good things:
R had a job.
I had a job.
R got to work on his photography and get better.
He began a video experience that may make him money.
E became a sophomore in college.
E became a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
M made an 80 on his math final.
M is doing well in geography.
The boys and I flew to New York and studied history in that area for a week– going to Valley Forge (where M corrected the film), the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and several other places.
M brought me several compliments this year. “He’s so polite.” “He’s always nice to X.” “He’s a great kid.” And he deserved every one of those compliments.
M mowed the lawn a lot without complaining.
M began jogging with me. (He’s actually better at it than I am.)
R and I went to Front Sight to learn to shoot better.
After 18 years together, I finally mixed our science fiction and fantasy books together.

Bad stuff:
Broke my arm.
Pappa died.
Mom in psychiatric hospital.
I was called for jury duty, the one responsibility all Americans have.

Select a Candidate Quiz

Can be found here

The quiz said I should support the candidate that I do.

Fred Thompson is my candidate of choice.

However, I would have thought my second choice would be Mitt Romney, but the quiz gave John McCain a one point (53 versus 52) edge over Romney.

Go see who the quiz says you should vote for, based on what you think. But vote for whomever you think ought to be running the country.

Update: I went back and took the quiz again, having thought of the answers for just a few more minutes.

I still had Fred Thompson (61 rather than 60 though) and my new second choice was Mitt Romney (with 59). In addition, my McCain score dropped six points.

This, I think, is much closer to how I feel about the situations.

I will say that Social Security and Education were of lower importance to me. I have not been allowed to put money into social security (as a teacher) and my children are homeschooled so I don’t really care how teachers are paid.

Fair Tax

I’ve been wondering about this.

Political Calculations doesn’t seem to think it is such a good idea.

The main points are here, but the good stuff is in the bulleted short comments. Go to the site to read those.

1. “On the day the FairTax is imposed, a worker’s disposable income would rise, but he would have to pay more for everything he buys.”

2. A rebate will be offered to offset some of this disadvantage for lower income workers, although everyone will receive it. “In effect, it would constitute a national welfare program with a flat payment for every American regardless of need.”

3. Imposing the FairTax will penalize certain groups more than others based on their situation in life.

4. The FairTax hinges on seeing prices fall by 22% on the day the FairTax takes effect, which is the estimated amount by which the price of the taxed good has been increased by the effect of “embedded” income taxes paid by people in the production chain for the product that is built into the price as we see it today.

5. The FairTax rate is not really 23%. It’s actually 30%.

6. The FairTax will be applied to items purchased by the government.

7. The FairTax will drive brand new, and in some cases, really perverse ways of avoiding paying the tax.

A superior option would be a Value Added Tax, which avoids nearly all of the problems inherent in the FairTax.

Why would the Park Service accept a design which does NOT meet their single physical requirement?

And why would a designer who wanted their design accepted make a design like that?

Crescent mosque violates the only physical requirement for design entries

Defenders of the crescent design for the Flight 93 memorial describe the landform around the crash site as a bowl shape that fairly dictates the use of a crescent design. On the Mike and Juliet Morning Show, Memorial Project Chairman John Reynolds was asked by host Mike Jerrick: “Why couldn’t you just use some other shape?”

Reynolds cupped his hands together for the audience and insisted that the design had to be a crescent:

Because, if you do this with you hands, this is the land there. This bowl is America holding its heroes.

But in fact, the site is not a bowl shape at all, as one can tell by looking at the topo lines on the site plan. The land slopes continually from north-northwest to south-southeast:

Crescent Bowl35%

The Sacred Ground Plaza that marks the crash site sits between the crescent tips (above the 4).

Instead of following the rim of a bowl, the crescent starts on a ridgeline above the crash site and circles around to well below it, passing across the middle of a wetland that sits about 70 vertical feet below the crash site.

Not only is the crash site not a bowl, but the crescent actually does not fit the natural landform at all. Of all the designs entered in the design competition, Paul Murdoch’s Crescent of Embrace is the only one that that fails to meet the Memorial Project’s single stated physical requirement: that design entries should “respect the rural landscape.” (Scroll down to “purpose.”)

To create the full arc of the crescent, a raised causeway will have to be filled in across the wetlands that collect about half-way out the lower crescent arm:

Raised causeway, 'healing landscape' 40%

This filling in of the wetlands would never be allowed in a private project. There are environmental laws against it.

To sneak his design past the requirement to leave the landscape undisturbed, Murdoch played a very clever trick. His preliminary Crescent of Embrace design did not build a causeway across the wetlands. It only showed a quarter circle of red maple walkway, with a natural footpath skirting around the bottom of the wetlands area instead of crossing it:

Preliminary crescent design 55%

This original crescent design already had the flight path breaking the circle, turning it into what was called from the start the Crescent of Embrace, so it seems that Murdoch had in mind from the beginning to memorialize the terrorists’ circle-breaking/ crescent-creating feat. He could well have had the basic geometry of his full terrorist memorial mosque already worked out, but he knew that he would never make the first cut if he broke the competition’s one rule and violated the wetlands, so he only showed a little bit of crescent, and had his innocuous looking footpath skirt the wetlands.

To turn his preliminary design into a full Islamic crescent, Murdoch needed to build his causeway. How did he justify this violation of the wetlands? With typical brass, declaring that the causeway created a “healing landscape”:

Here visitors will be most aware of continuously connected living systems as the circular path literally bridges the hydrology of the Bowl. [“Wetlands,” p. 5.]

The highway department should hire this guy for P.R.. He could sell the environmentalists on how close a new road will bring them to nature. Why, they will be “literally bridging it!” What could be better? Good pitch. The Memorial Project bought it.

Most remarkable is Patrick White, vice president of Families of Flight 93. In private conversation at the Memorial Project’s July 2007 meeting, White told one of Alec Rawls’s compatriots that an expensive drainage system had been developed for the crescent design and that no other design could work on the site because this elaborate drainage system would only work with the crescent design.

Duh. The crescent design is the only design out of all thousand submitted that needs a drainage system. Every other design left the wetland untouched, as the Memorial Project had asked. Yet these people all really seem to mean it when they insist that this is the only design that fits the land.

Didn’t they notice that not one of the other thousand designs was a crescent? How could that be, if the landform really dictated a crescent? How did they get so wrapped in the emotion of the crescent’s “healing embrace” that they can’t see anything else?

Because Paul Murdoch is an artistic genius who had these grieving people in the palms of his hands. The man is diabolical!