novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

Browsing Posts published in January, 2011

Just to let you all know what will be coming about: I fired myself from my job and am now unemployed.  This means I will have more to say and more time to say it (as long as I do my chores before Mama gets home).  My first day has been so busy I lost track of time.  Although I never stopped moving and thought I had accomplished much, looking around, I really can’t see it.  Maybe I’m just doing the wrong things.  Oh well.  Be ready because I have alot of ill will to spread and the only thing that is “civil” to my understanding is the misnomer of the War of Northern Aggression being named “The Civil War”.  Nothing civil about it.  Just like we can’t have a “civil war” with members of Congress.  It’s what you may call an oxymoron (different from the stuff you add to your wash water to get stains out).  I’m truly ready for your barbs and arrows.

It wasn’t just the Virginia case in August of last year that told the story.  Now a federal judge in Florida has ruled that Obamacare is unconstitutional because of the forcing to buy insurance mandate and that THAT MANDATE IS UNSEVERABLE!  We don’t have to fund it; we can stop taxing (pre-paying) for it; there will be a new cache of doctors because of this.  I guess old Barry just doesn’t understand “shove it up your ass!”.  The bad part is that we will continue to bleed money for the continual appeals to be filed but like I was told about my first divorce-the only ones that make any money is the lawyers.  The money spent will be for a good cause.  Now maybe we can get around to some real healthcare reform without this monkey on our backs.

There is much discussion these days, and pontificating by politicians, that there is no reason for having high capacity magazines in pistols other than to kill a lot of people in a short time. There are lots of calls for limiting the number of rounds to 10 per magazine.

If the only reason to have large capacity magazines is to kill a lot of people in a short period of time, how many rounds do police pistols hold?

The title here is a quote of Marcello Truzzi, and it is oft sited by skeptics of any proposed theory. I would like to propose that I am a skeptic, and I would like to invoke this for origin of life by chance and time. I know, this is rather obtuse, and it will involve some rather distinct mathematical arguments, but I find it rather an extraordinary claim that life started by chance.

I’m trained in mathematics and information theory, so when I look at something, I tend to look at it from that standpoint. So looking at what it takes to get life started, is fairly straight forward. I’m not talking about evolution of species here, I’m talking about the origin of life itself … it matters not where, here or some other planet and dropped by visiting aliens … no matter where life started it had to start. Could chance alone account for the origin of life.

First, in order to have a living cell, there must be some means of carrying genetic information, and replicating that information. While viruses have genetic information, they cannot replicate without an already existent cell … viruses on their own without a host living cell are not “alive”. Viruses even if they existed without any cells, it could not reproduce, move, consume energy, create proteins or any other functions of living organisms.

Living organisms require those functions, the most basic is reproduction. If an organism cannot reproduce, it will eventually die and that is the end of it. Reproduction is a fundamental requirement of life. While other things might be required, I am going to examine just that aspect. What does it take for a cell to reproduce … though in fact, I will limit discussion even to a more simple problem which I will explain later. continue reading…

Heavy, wet snow fell hard for several hours with periodic wind gusts and followed by a continued light snow storm. You know what that means, right?

Branches weighed down by snow in Sterling, VA

It looks like we may have lost half of our cherry tree, if such a thing is possible. Half is on the ground and would not stand up after I shook off the snow. Our evergreens look ok after some vigorous shaking. (The photo is of our neighbor’s evergreen which leaves tree debris all over our yard throughout the year, so we will just let nature take its course with that one.)

At least we still have power at the moment …

UPDATE:

And here is what last night’s scene looks like this morning.

Tree damage from snow storm in Sterling

Our neighbor’s pine will be leaving a few less pine combs and needles on our back yard for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, our cherry tree will probably be leaving a few less cherries as well …

storm damage to cherry tree

In case you were, like me, planning to do something other than watch our president call for “freezing” us on our path to bankruptcy tonight in his State of the Union address, below are some alternate choices on television. The self-congratulatory talk of tonight’s seating arrangements signals to me this fairly useless annual exercise has officially jumped the shark, and will not be worth watching again until they get Ricky Gervais to serve as emcee, which we can hope will occur next year.

You will be able to find Paul Ryan’s and Michelle Bachmann’s responses on Internet video relatively soon after, so really there is no reason to tune in.

At 7:00 pm

CSN – Basketball, Nuggets at Wizards

At 7:30 pm

VS – Hockey, Canadiens at Flyers

At 8:00 pm

ESPN CLASSIC – Classic Boxing, Muhammad Ali vs. Ron Lyle
FOX SOCCER – Manchester United vs. Blackpool
SLEUTH – Movie, The Condemned (2007, PG)
OVATION – Movie, Tristan & Isolde (2006, PG-13)
CHILLER – Movie, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994, R)
TCM – Movie, Sons of the Desert (Laurel and Hardy, 1955, G)
AMC – Movie, Eraser (1996, PG)
FMC – Movie, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (1975, PG)
REELZ – Movie, All the Right Moves (1983, PG)
DISNEY – Movie, Eloise at the Plaza (2003, G)
STARZ4 – Movie, The Princess and the Frog (2009, G)
STARZ6 – Movie, The Bounty Hunter (2010, PG-13)
RETRO – Movie, Lenny (1974, R)
ENCORE1 – Movie, Sunshine Cleaning (2009, R)
ENCORE7 – Movie, Cowboy (1958, G)

At 9:00 pm

PBS – The Space Age: NASA’s Story
ESPN – Basketball, Purdue at Ohio State
MASN – Basketball, Connecticut at Marquette
NFL – Replay of Jets vs Steelers playoff game
DISC – Dirty Jobs, repair of bridges, roads, infrastructure
NGC – Secrets of Virgin Queen (Elizabeth I)
DISC Science – Mutant Planet (wildlife in Africa)
MIL – Modern Sniper
HIST INT – The Antichrist: Zero Hour
HIST – Ax Men
BIO – Jim Carrey
ANIMAL – Human Prey
TLC – What Not To Wear
OXY – Movie, Catwoman (2004, PG)
FOOD – Cupcake Wars
COOKING – Unique Eats, (burger, ribs)
TRAV – Bizarre Foods
BBC AM – Ramsay’s Best Restaurant (ingredients from Spain)
CURRENT – Kill It, Cook It Eat It (lamb herding)
STARZ1 – Movie, Dear John (2010, PG-13)
STARZ2 – Movie, Planet 51 (2009, PG)
STARZ2W – Movie, Zombieland (2009, R)
ENCORE3 – Movie, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991, PG-13)
ENCORE6 – Movie, Robin Hood (1991, PG)

Prompted by LI’s post, I had an email exchange yesterday with Supervisor Stevens Miller. Long story short, we are both posting the exchange on our blogs because it was interesting, but also because civil dialogue across ideological divisions is too rare nowadays, so this can serve as a modest example that such a thing is possible locally.

From: Joe Budzinski
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 12:36 AM
To: Miller, Stevens
Subject: Good luck, Stevens

Your announcement on the blog was well-stated.

Unless you switch parties, or unless the Democrats change, I won’t be supporting you; but I respect your intelligence and the fact you do what you think is right. I think what you are doing on your blog is far and away the best of any local elected official.

If I happen to comment on any future race you are involved in, I will do my utmost to be fair, and I invite you to chastise me publicly if I am not. I pledge to always post your comments uncensored.

Joe


From: Stevens Miller
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 10:46 AM
To: Budzinski, Joe
Subject: Re: Good luck, Stevens

Thanks, Joe.

In the course of my term, I’ve met quite a few Republicans and unaffiliated conservatives whom I respect and who are willing and able to work with me on projects that will help build a better community for everyone. In the much smaller realm of the online world, however, I see you as maybe the last remaining example of sense and honesty among my critics who support the agenda of the political right. If you float your cursor over the NoVa Town Hall entry in my blogroll at Without Supervision, you’ll see I’ve publicly taken notice of this.

As a candidate and public servant, I try hard not to make a big deal out of my own beliefs or theories, focusing instead on what I will try to do if I get the chance. After all, what the Hell difference does it make what I “believe,” when the question that matters is, “what will I commit myself to accomplishing?” That said, I do believe our two-party system, in all its adversarial glory, serves us better than if, somehow, we only had one political mainstream, with no one ready to offer at least a choice to those who would be marginalized. Instead, we have two political mainstreams, constantly testing their theories in the endless experiment of American democracy. Everyone gets to watch, see the results, and make their choices at the polls accordingly.

But it only really works well when each side makes an honest case about its goals, methods, and results. I respect people like you who adhere to that kind of honesty, and leave the lies, spin, and name-calling to lesser folk. When the better party, the better candidate, or just the better idea wins, America wins. When the side with the better line of bull wins, then the bull wins. I see people like you and me as having at least one fundamental quality in common: we want America to win, not the bull. Because of that, I’m actually grateful that a guy like you is active in the political arena, even if we rarely agree on anything else. Without an honest debate, fully delivered for its best effect by both sides, real choice isn’t possible at all.

See you down the trail.

Stevens

P.S. I should admit that I don’t read many blog posts, which I’ve lately learned really irritates some people. But, I have read yours and I liked what I saw. Keep it up.


From: Joe Budzinski
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 8:53 PM
To: Miller, Stevens
Subject: Re: Good luck, Stevens

“Two political mainstreams” is an intriguing way to look at it. Sometimes I have thought there is one, and at other times a whole bunch like the many waving arms of Vishnu. But from a purely functional standpoint you may be right.

We share a view of how political debate should be conducted. I have not always lived up to the standard but do make a constant effort to remain outside the circle of party animals on my side of the fence.

By the way, love your use of the title attribute! I knew how that worked but never thought to implement it as a way of adding information – thanks for the lesson. I appreciate general articulateness in a public official but tech-savvy also goes a long way in my book.

Thanks again. It will be interesting to see which district you end up in.

Joe

Granted, it’s not the Missouri Compromise, just some quick emails sent back and forth, but I was gratified by Supervisor Miller’s lengthy, thoughtful reply to someone who has been critical in the past. He and I have had a few conversations since his 2007 election, and he has always been frank and serious.

I think we create missed opportunities when the level of rancor shuts off the possibility of meaningful discussion with those with whom we disagree ideologically. Namely, we don’t get to find those minor areas of agreement, which may be remote from matters of current public debate but which I think are significant and worth seeking out. You don’t get to find the first smidgen if you never converse. For that reason, I find it just as interesting to talk to my opponents as to talk to those on my side, and I appreciate when an elected official is willing to do so.

Like many of you, my highest loyalty is to principles and the policies that follow from them; party comes further down the list. Although I take a back seat to few people in terms of combined time and money given to Republican candidates and GOP organizations each year, I don’t do it for the team but to try and make the world a better place. To that end, I value dialogue as highly as the “us vs. them” campaign posture.

I appreciate Supervisor Miller’s “America wins” philosophy, and his appreciation of the fact that despite my opposing positions on many issues we are on the same page regarding the ultimate goal. I look forward to continuing the conversation.