Archive for the ‘News’ Category

My 3rd Blogiversary

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Today marks three years of blogging for me.  I began blogging on Caden’s Page on the day of Caden’s birth.  I did not know I was blogging at the time, but figured it out in rapid fashion.

Wiki Woes Hit Close to Home

Monday, October 15th, 2007

“Any user can change any entry and if enough other users agree with them then it becomes true.”

This is a quote that was pulled from a Comedy Central snippet that appeared in a Fox News story that ran this past Thursday evening. While the quote above did come from a comedy act, it is unfortunately a part of reality on the Internet.

“Anyone can post information as if it were fact…without any editorial review before the information is posted.”

This was a comment offered by a legal expert who was interviewed during the Fox News story. The story talks about how lives and reputations can get ruined by the activities of people who go to Wikipedia with an ax to grind.

I recently found an entry posted to Wikipedia about a very popular book written by a friend of mine. The sales numbers on this one book run in the millions. The book has nearly 1000 customer reviews on Amazon with 50% of the reviews giving the book a 5 out of 5 rating. Yet, there are a select few Internet users vandals (as described in the Fox News story) who have taken it upon themselves to try to sabotage the success of this book and ruin the reputation of the authors. These people have built web sites dedicated to discrediting the authors going as far as to use the author’s name in their site’s domain name. Some bloggers that I have questioned have openly admitted to never having read the book even though they proudly repeat the lies written by these vandals as if it were fact.

So you are wondering what the title of the book is, who are the authors, and who are these Internet vandals? Man I like the term vandal, especially as the term is defined in the Unabridged Dictonary.com entry.

“Vandal – (2) a person who willfully or ignorantly destroys or mars something beautiful or valuable.”

Vandal was the term used in the Fox News story to describe the folks who participate in activities of spreading lies that can damage the lives and reputations of others. As for who I am talking about, well I am not going to give any more details right now. Some of you will be smart enough to figure it out. Some of you reading this may have even participated in creating and editing the Wikipedia entry in question. I have not touched the entry nor have I ever posted a review on Amazon for the book. I felt that my inexperience with Wikipedia in particular was reason enough to leave the editing to the experts for now. As for the Amazon reviews, I have not wanted there to be any potential for anyone to say that the deck is stacked in terms of customer reviews.

Fortunately some seasoned Wikipedia editors have warned these vandals that they must comply with Neutral Point of View (NPOV) rules. The wiki editors have removed much of the opinionated content, but there’s still way too many links to the lies for me to point you to the article. The entry is simply not reliable and contains way more opinion than fact. The current ratio of negative (criticism) links is 3-to-1 over the number of links to official web sites representing the author and the book that the wiki entry was written about. The vandals have not paid very much attention to the wiki editors. The contributions of the vandals have been far from neutral from the start. In fact, according to the editing history, it took nearly five months before a single positive (supporting) link was added to this Wikipedia entry. There were plenty of external links to the critic’s sites, but not a single link to an official web site representing the author or the book.

Why am I being so mysterious? My goal is not to embarrass these vandals like they so enjoy trying to do with my friend. I certainly have the ammunition to embarrass at least one of them if that were my motive. At least one of the (uhm?) anonymous contributors appearing in the edit history of the wiki entry about my friend’s book has made visits to this site and even left comments. On at least one occasion the IP address shown in a comment on one of my blogs matched exactly what appeared in the Wikipedia editing history for this book’s entry on the same night. I do not find this IP address match up to be a coincidence since several of the comments on my blog from this visitor show them coming from the same IP address consistently for over two months. The IP addresses this visitor has been sourcing from for over two years has changed slightly from time to time. This tells me that their ISP is issuing addresses from a DHCP pool the same way many ISPs do business. However, a majority of the edits in the history of the Wikipedia entry I have been referring to came from the same ISP’s address pool that this visitor has been sourcing from for over two years when visiting this blog. This leads me to believe that this visitor of my site has been one of the primary contributors to this one Wikipedia topic. The majority of contributions to this particular Wikipedia entry were made by people who have no interest in publishing facts. Their message is full of slander and lies.  Why am I making a big deal out of this? Because it can happen to anyone. It can happen to you or someone you love.

In closing I want to make it clear that this is not a critique of Wikipedia but a critique of the people who vandalize Wikipedia and the Internet in general. I find Wikipedia to be a great resource on many subjects. Unfortunately there are a few “Internet Vandals” who try to misuse Wikipedia as a place to vent their frustrations over the success of others.

Blackwater’s hot water

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Blackwater USA is out of business in Iraq according to the BBC News.  This is the same company supplying security forces in Afghanistan.  A friend’s husband who is an Air Force officer serving in Afghanistan was involved in a road side standoff with a Blackwater employee about a year ago.  That case was fill with suspicions of tampered evidence and false testimony on the Blackwater side of that case.   Back in April my friend’s husband was cleared of all charges that could have sent him to jail.

The recent incident involving Blackwater in Iraq has spawned investigations by the Iraqi and US governments.  There are estimates that reports as many 25,000 civilian security employees in Iraq with about 1000 of them working for Blackwater.  All of the Blackwater security forces have been ordered to leave Iraq expect those involved in the recent roadside shooting incident.  It will be interesting to see how Iraqi security forces and the US military respond to this void of such a large number of armed private security forces in the coming weeks. One report says that the US has suspended land travel of US diplomats in Iraq.

Most of the emphasis is given to the US military presence in Iraq that has peaked at nearly 160,000.  The much overlooked number is an estimated 100,000 plus civilians who are working in Iraq.  After subtracting the security forces, the remaining 75,000 US civilians work in variety of jobs ranging from cooks to translators to pilots to engineers to doctors to laborers.

Homeschoolers ahead on ACT Scores

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

It seems that homeschoolers are outperforming public school kids on the ACT college entrance exam. I heard some of these statistics at a homescchool conference here in Charleston a few months ago while talking to an HSLDA representative, but I did not realize that the homeschoolers had been out performing the public school kids for as long as the home schoolers have been being tracked. You can read the full story on WorldNet Daily.  You can also read about why we plan to homeschool.

Christians and Immigration Reform

Monday, August 6th, 2007

It seems that lines are being drawn within Christian circles with regards to immigration reform. At least one Catholic Church as well as one Lutheran Church in California are offering sanctuary to illegal immigrants. The story also mentions Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago as making news for sheltering Elvira Arellano and her son Saul Arellano.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church is following a different line of thinking in regards to immigration. The final sentence in a report titled REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH TO STUDY THE PROPRIETY OF THE RECEPTION OF ILLEGAL ALIENS INTO CHURCH MEMBERSHIP pretty much sums up this denomination’s kid-glove approach to illegal immigrants.

“It seems wise that presbyteries and sessions ought to delay ordination and installation until matters relating to being an illegal alien have been satisfactorily addressed.” Source – http://www.opc.org/GA/aliens.pdf

I found the OPC document by way of La Shawn Barber’s Corner in a post titled Christians and Illegal ‘Immigration’. La Shawn has been very outspoken in favor of dropping the hammer on “lawbreaking illegals”. I don’t see the issue as cut and dry as she does and that leaves us two Christian bloggers on different sides of a very complex issue. La Shawn left a comment on a previous post here on this blog titled Amnesty for Illegals.

“Disagreement isn’t a bad thing…What I’m waiting to hear, although I think I’ll be waiting in vain, are more Christians speaking out against illegal aliens who profess Christ. How does their defying government authority and making DEMANDS on their “host” country square with their profession?”

La Shawn went own to ask a very similar quesiton on her own blog this week.

“I asked those same critics, sometimes in the post itself, sometimes in the comment section, if they’ve ever admonished illegal aliens who say they’re Christians, and if not, what they’d say to them about crossing our borders in violation of our laws and showing little compassion themselves.”

I want to offer a response to La Shawn’s questions. First, there seems to be an assumption by La Shawn as well as a host of other Americans that illegals in this country had prior knowledge of the US immigration law before entering this country. Let’s make a different and probably more accurate assumption by putting ourselves in their shoes prior to entering the US. To do this, take a moment to write down on a piece of paper some notes from your knowledge of the immigration policy of any other country on this planet. The average American will likely not leave a single mark on the paper during this exercise.

Is it the fault of the illegals that our borders were not protected? Is it the fault of the illegals that the system allows for them to drain tax dollars without contributing in all the ways the rest of us contribute? Is it fair that many illegals have taken more than they have contributed. Ask your average native American Indian if they feel like their ancestors were given a fair deal during the forming of this country. Ask them if they think the settlers gave much attention or even had knowledge of tribal laws of immigration during the settling of the Americas. No one wants to talk much about how the settlers busted in on the native American Indians for some reason.

Let’s consider another question. How many Christians complain about aliens families taking their tax money yet wouldn’t think twice about filling the offering plate to help the same families if they were still suffering in their own country?

As Christians, how should we be responding to illegals in this country? The answer is simple. We should be displaying the character of God as seen in his son Christ Jesus. How? By rejecting the prideful, selfish, judgmental, condemning and unforgiving attitudes that are dominating the fight against illegals.

Do my suggestions mean that I believe we should continue to allow illegals to pile into this country? Absolutely not! We have learned in recent years how bad border security really is and we need to fix it. We also need to work on streamlining a process to make legal all those who want to become legal. I have used the word amnesty and that may be a little strong. As Christians trying to operate in a Christ-like manner, we need to exercise forgiveness ahead of admonishment.

I suggest that many illegals immigrants may not understand that the average American tax payer is bearing the burden for the services that they are receiving mostly for free. I say “mostly for free” because even illegals have to pay some taxes (i.e., sales taxes) that do end up funding some of the services they are using. Even if they do understand now that the average American is footing the bill, it is entirely possible that they had no idea how our government was structured and funded prior to their arrival into this country.

The bottom line on this whole issue is that many Americans, Christians included, are making a boat load of assumptions about who knew what and when. What we as Christians can do is demonstrate a face of forgiveness and comfort to these illegals and let God worry about who sinned when and how bad. For those Christians who disregard any notion of forgiveness in this immigration issue and are dead set on punishing these illegal alien lawbreakers, I repeat the words of Jesus in John 8:7 (NLT), “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”

Goose Creek, SC in National News

Monday, August 6th, 2007

This time the story is not about Google’s upcoming move into Goose Creek.  The national news agencies are following a story that began Saturday night during a routine traffic stop.  Two men are being held after an explosive device was found in their car after they were stopped for speeding.

Read the full story on USAToday.com.

Duggar Family Welcomes 17th Child

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

I saw a news headline titled Arkansas couple welcomes 17th child and knew before I read it that it was referring to the Duggar familyI have seen their story on TV and have read about them on the Internet.  “They asked God to bless them with as many children as He saw fit in His timing.“  That is exactly what God is doing.

This is a tough subject for some folks, and some folks are pretty mean in their responses to the Duggar’s family planning practices.  Adam’s Blog has a post up highlighting some of the negative responses.  I will not grace those blogs with another link, but will instead ask you to check out Adam’s Blog if you are interested in how cruel people can be on this subject.

I think the Duggars have an awesome attitude towards family planning. 

Congratulations Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar on the birth of your baby girl!

Lawsuit puts BurnLounge in Hot Water

Monday, June 11th, 2007

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed suit against BurnLounge and former University of South Carolina football player Rob DeBoer has been named in the suit.  BurnLounge and DeBoer are being accused of running a pyramid scheme and misrepresenting the earnings investors made with the company.

My personal experience with BurnLounge is much like that of SC Attorney General Henry McMaster.  According to The State newspaper, “McMaster suspected the company [Burnlounge] of being a pyramid scheme after hearing a sales pitch for the company with his wife.” 

A friend recently tried to recruit me into BurnLounge.  He had asked me to visit a website called yourburnteam.com, call a toll free number for more information, and then attend a presentation by former USC quarterback turned attorney Todd Ellis.  Ellis is mentioned in the article linked above.  I visited the site and called the number.  Then I proceeded to warn my friend via email by saying, “This program is a multi-level marketing (MLM) strategy at the roots.”  

 BurnLounge retailers are expected to get customers simply due to having a personal relationship with folks.  The customer buys music much like they would on iTunes.  This lawsuit is likely resulting from the questions raised from potential retails like reading thins like this:


  • The investment is $430 per year in U.S. dollars, plus $14.95 per month. This may change for different geographies to reflect local economic realities. ($609.40 per year total with no guarantee)
  • The upside is almost unbelievable, and Australia and Canada are the first countries that we are moving into..
  • In the first year, we had over 50 people earn over $100K, and several who earned from $400K to $600K in personal earnings. The amount of personal income that you create is up to you, but the opportunity to achieve life-changing income is real and attainable. (These bullet points were taken from the “Investment vs Return” section of a promotional email I received in late April 2007.  My emphasis added in bold.)
  • Those talking about downloading the most music say they use torrents and P2P solutions.  Those who buy their music fair and square from iTunes or Walmart.com have already busted past the initial impulse music purchase after acquiring a new digital music player for the first time.  After a brief informal survey of friends using services like iTunes, I found that all fell squarely in the middle of the estimates made by David Caulton, a Zune contributer as reported on the Electronics Design Strategy News web site.  David says:


    “iPod owners initially buy 30 tracks in the first three months, but then drop off to one track per month or less on average.”

    Based on the above information and a couple of things that grabbed my attention in the “Back-end Compensation Tutorial Residual Sales”  presentation on the myburnteam.com site, I was led to my decision to not participate

    -Single orders totaling less than $9.90 DO NOT count towards your sales quota
    -A single order with (1) 99 cent track DOES NOT count towards your sales quota
    -A single order with 10 or more 99 cent tracks DOES count towards your sales quota

    These bullets were taken directly from the “Back-end Compensation Tutorial Residual Sales” presentation on the Burn Team site.  To see it for yourself, go to http://www.yourburnteam.com and enter as a Guest.  Click on the menu icon once the Rob DeBoer flash video starts.  You will find a section called “Compensation Training” that includes this “Back-end Compensation Tutorial Residual Sales” presentation.  Oh, this presentation does not play well with Firefox.

    What all this tells me is that if the numbers give by David Caulton are even close, then revenue for a BurnLounge retailer from music downloads will be nonexistent after the first month a person joins.

    As a web site and blog builder, I can not image gambling $430 to see if I might be able to generate some revenue in much the same way I am already doing so with affiliate relationships that are FREE.  I spend less than that per year in total web hosting expenses.  

    I believe that BurnLounge is preying on the ignorance of those who have never built a blog or web site before.  Intensionally? I don’t know.  The amount of revenue a burn page retailer will generate is directly proportional to how effective they are at delivering visitors to their web pages.  Any experienced web site owner will tell you that drawing traffic is not always a cakewalk, unless you are [uhm] something like a former college football celebrity with the name recognition that might be able to immediately draw a ton of Internet traffic. 

    After you run through the references in this story, if you find that you just can not live without becoming a BurnLounge retailer, then I will hook you up with my friend.  On the other hand, if you want to make money on the Internet the old fashion way, then just drop a comment in this post or send me an email (check the about page).  I will be glad to help you get started for way less than $609 per year.

    Google Posts Jobs for Charleston, SC

    Monday, April 23rd, 2007

    Are you a low country super geek? Then Google has a job for you.

    Can you make computers do amazing things? Are you excited about designing and developing new applications that really make a difference? Google is looking for engineers with the programming skills to change the world. Join Google engineering and help us build products that are used by millions everyday.

    Google has posted 4 openings for the up coming Goose Creek, SC data center under the above general category description. The job listings include:

    • A Data Facilities manager
    • A Data Center Facilities Technician
    • A Hardware Operations Manager
    • A Hardware Operations Team Manager

    Read my related posts on the new Google Data Center:

    Computerworld on Goose Creek
    Google Creek, SC
    Is Google Going South?