Al's Rantings

A view of the world from a hillbilly perspective.

Location: Virginia

I was born and went to school in the heart of the Appalachian mountains, in southern West Virginia. After graduating from college, I got married, and began working in Bristol, TN. I have have various jobs from Tennessee to up state New York and a few points between. Now I work in West Virginia. Some day, I want to live in Alaska.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Black eye for VT

I found this piece in the Roanoke Times. It seems that 19 VT football players and other assorted VT students, are living in Section 8 housing. So the football players get a scholarship, receive a housing stipend as part of their scholarship, and still manage to get housing for the needy.

Check out Eric, the person mentioned by name in the article. His apartment has a big screen TV, his mom is a professor at Old Dominion, his dad is a loan officer, and yet he qualifies for needy housing? These guys make money, but send it home. According to Eric, it "doesn't cost him or his roommates anything to live in the apartment."

This could become another black eye for VT.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Global Warming...

Well its definite. According to the Roanoke Times the "Study of tiny air bubbles in the ice confirm that current levels of CO2 are higher than anything experienced at least in the last 650,000 years." And "There can be no serious, reasonable doubt that this unprecedented increase is due to industrial activity that dumps billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year."

But not all scientist agree. Look here at a report released by the National Center for Policy Analysis. This reports concludes "The Earth currently is experiencing a warming trend, but there is scientific evidence that human activities have little to do with it. Instead, the warming seems to be part of a 1,500-year cycle (plus or minus 500 years) of moderate temperature swings."

The authors did not look at a single item, instead "Evidence of the global nature of the 1,500-year climate cycles includes very long-term proxies for temperature change — ice cores, seabed and lake sediments, and fossils of pollen grains and tiny sea creatures. There are also shorter-term proxies — cave stalagmites, tree rings from trees both living and buried,
boreholes and a wide variety of other temperature proxies."

"Is the Earth currently experiencing a warming trend? Yes. Are human activities, including the burning of fossil fuel and forest conversion, the primary — or even significant — drivers of this current temperature trend? The scientifically appropriate answer — cautious and conforming
to the known facts — is: probably not."

Why? Because "During the past 20 years, scientists have been accumulating
strong physical evidence that the Earth consistently goes through a climate cycle marked by alternating warmer and cooler periods over 1,500 years (plus or minus 500 years)."

The earth goes through cycles. Not everyone agrees with the Roanoke Times about global warming. By the way, this report "The Physical Evidence of Earth’s Unstoppable 1,500-Year Climate Cycle" was released in September 2005.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Global Cooling...

The United States was in Montreal defending its decision not to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Of course, the environmentalists attacked the Bush adminsitration by "blasting Washington for not signing the landmark 1997 agreement that sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the world."

According to environmentalist's theory, the CO2 get into the atmosphere, traps heat, warms the oceans, and causes the globe to heat up. Another theory found here says that the oceans are warming alright, but the cause is underwater volcanic activity.

This site make a case for global cooling. Read it with an open mind.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

We knew this already...

Southerners are more polite. This from a story in the Roanoke Times.

Well we already knew this. I was born and raised in West Virginia. I have worked in Tennessee, New York, and Virginia. My experience is that people are more polite in the south. While in up state New York, Binghamton area, it was very difficult to meet people because it seemed that everyone wanted to keep to themselves. No one made eye contact, no one acknowledged you that you were present, everyone was in a hurry, and no one would talk to stangers.

Being from below the Mason-Dixon line, this was very odd to us. I have not lived in the deep South, but I believe that people are just as nice there.

However, homicide rates are higher in the south. According to the article, "The FBI reported last month that the South accounted for 43 percent of the nation's slayings in 2004, while it's home to just over a third of the U.S. population."

Why? Because "Southerners tend to be thin-skinned. Insults a New Yorker would casually shrug off would be fighting words in Birmingham, Ala."


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Anti-CIA Protest at Virginia Tech

I read an article in the Virginia Tech Collegiate Times about an anti-CIA protest at Virginia Tech (VT). The protesters were concerned about the covert network of secret prisons and the CIA's "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques." Apparrently these techniques cause "immeasurable harm on the image of the American public." According to an amendment sponsored by John McCain, the CIA interrogations hurt MY image. Well, for the work they do to protect me, I'm OK with it. Also, the organizers said

individuals can make their own decisions, but he said a prohibition should be placed on CIA recruitment on campus.

This is irrational because the choice is being removed.

Anyway, I was moved by this protest. Moved to take action. I plan to apply for a CIA job because of the good work they are doing!

Why outlaw torture? In an article by Thomas Sowell, he insists that there are isolated incidents of individuals abusing authority and abusing the existing laws. Similar to those who abuse the laws against murder. The solution is not more legislation, it is enforcement.

Consider this...

"If a captured terrorist knows where a nuclear bomb has been planted in some American city, and when it is timed to go off, are millions of Americans to be allowed to be incinerated because we have become too squeamish to get that information out of him by whatever means are necessary?"

And it would be foolish to allow captured terrorists to stonewall indefinitely without the fear of using "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques". Added to the mix, anyone can claim anything as torture. Rap music may be music to your ears, but it is torture to me.

Mr. Sowell conclcudes'

After decades of ignoring the fact that rights and responsibilities go together, it was perhaps inevitable that an under-educated and easily confused generation should include some who do not understand that the rights granted to captured troops by the Geneva Convention apply to those who have accepted the terms of the Geneva Convention. It does not apply to people who are not troops and who have blatantly violated the whole framework of that convention.

I agree! It is madness to tie our hands in any way when dealing with international terrorists.


Imagine you are a college freshman and invite a war hero to come to school to talk about the successes in Iraq. You get a reply form a teacher (of all people) that says:

"I am asking my students to boycott your event. I am also going to ask others to boycott it. Your literature and signs in the entrance lobby look like fascist propaganda and is [sic] extremely offensive. Your main poster "Communism killed 100,000,000" is not only untrue, but ignores the fact that CAPITALISM has killed many more and the evidence for that can be seen in the daily news papers. The U.S. government can fly to dominate the people of Iraq in 12 hours, yet it took them five days to assist the people devastated by huricane [sic] Katrina. Racism and profits were key to their priorities. Exxon, by the way, made $9 Billion in profits this last quarter--their highest proft [sic] margin ever. Thanks to the students of WCCC and other poor and working class people who are recruited to fight and die for EXXON and other corporations who [sic] earning megaprofits from their imperialist plunders. If you want to count the number of deaths based on political systems, you can begin with the more than a million children who have died in Iraq from U.S.-imposed sanctions and war. Or the million African American people who died from lack of access to healthcare in the US over the last 10 years.

I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like your [sic] won't dare show their face [sic] on a college campus. Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight for just causes and for people's needs--such freedom fighters can be counted throughout American history and they certainly will be counted again." (emphasis mine).

This happened!

It is another example of the liberal professor who make up the majority on college campuses.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wal Mart Haters

Why do people hate Wal Mart? In this story we are told all about it

"We're told Wal-Mart doesn't pay its employees enough. It doesn't offer generous enough benefits. It puts small mom-and-pop stores out of business. Wal-Mart isn't environment-friendly. And the company uses government to help it expand."

If there are better jobs available, why not go to those jobs? Maybe Wal Mart did create some jobs.

If Wal Mart is evil...

"These wizards should start their own companies and pay entry-level retail workers as much as they think is "enough," and of course offer a generous package of health care and other benefits to both full and part-time employees. Problem solved!"

People have the right to shop and work anywhere they want. If you do not like Wal Mart, do not shop there.

Did you know that Wal Mart contributed to the greenhouse gases according to Illinois Student Environmental Network and Students for Environmental Concerns:

"Wal-Mart and other "big box" retailers gobble up prime farmland and other natural habitat every day. While we worry about feeding the more than six billion people on this planet, our cities and counties allow the destruction of lush farmland that could provide sustenance for more people. The problem, generally referred to as "urban sprawl," continues to grow. . . . Sprawl also increases car-dependency for a community, raising the amount of greenhouse gases emitted and causing consumers to use more gas."

Just goes to show, when you are number one, everyone is out to get you. As for me, I think I'll keep going there.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

President and the War

This editoral appeared in Wednesday's Roanoke Time.

In it, the statement is made "Further, Congress granted the authority not to remove Saddam but to grant the president power to use force to protect the U.S. - if needed."

Actually there were two items in the Iraq War Resolution which states:

(a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

The president was given power defend national security AND enforce UN Security Council resolutions. It was not about Saddam, but that was the method the president determined to use. And as SEC.3.(a) says, the President was authorized to use the Armed Forces as he determined to be necessary.

Nothing vague or tricky or dishonest about the wording.

Plus, at the time of the vote "
Many Democrats, cowed by the fear they would be perceived as less than patriotic, didn't probe too deeply,"

And now they "have since stiffened their backbones,"

This sounds like they voted for the war when it was popular and now are against it because there is a growing unpopularity.

The difference between a statesman and a politician...a statesman hold the course, does what is right, though it may be unpopular...a politician studies the latest polls before voting.


College kids and the UN

College students trust the UN more than they trust our federal government. This from a poll from the Harvard University Trust. Read it here

Who do students trust?

UN 52%
federal government 45%
president Bush 39%
military 65%
Supreme Court 60%

This compared to the general public where 44% DO NOT trust the UN.

Trust the UN! Do college students ever check the news? UN scandals include oil-for-food, UN peacekeepers raping girls in Africa, a constant hatred for the USA and Israel, terrorist states Lybia and Syria serving on the Human Right Commission, wanting control of the internet, and the list goes on.

The UN is an evil, power-hungry entity that does not answer to anyone. It is anti-American and uses our land, resources, and funding. The UN cannot be trusted to do what's best for America.

Why are they trusted by college students? Because of "a biased interpretation of the work of the UN and other international institutions through liberal professors who tend to dominate the majority of American campuses."

We have seen the studies about the dominance of liberal professors, and now we can see some of those results. Hopefully, after living in the real world, as opposed to the protected environment of a college, these kids will come to see the truth.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Trouble for West Virginia

Who is responsible for Jay Rockefeller's vote? Well, it ain't him! He said so himself during an interview with Chris Wallace....

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Chris, there's always the same conversation. You know it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops.

WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?


WALLACE: You're not?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. I'm responsible for my vote, but I'd appreciate it if you'd get serious about this subject, with all due respect. We authorized him to continue working with the United Nations, and then if that failed, authorized him to use force to enforce the sanctions. We did not send 150,000 troops or 135,000 troops. It was his decision made probably two days after 9/11 that he was going to invade Iraq. That we did not have a part of, and, yes, we had bad intelligence, and when we learned about it, I went down to the floor and said I would never have voted for this thing.

To read the whole thing go here.

This is sad. Senetor Rockefeller cannot take responsibility for his votes. "Not my fault..."


Pistol-Packing Granny

I saw this at TFS Magnum. It about a 66 year old granny who shoots an intruder after he broke into her house. She used a 38 special but wanted something bigger.

Go granny! Every house needs a handgun or shotgun. I'm glad I do not live in San Francisco where handguns, and Army recruiters, are banned.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Never Fear Jesse's Here!

Where ever there is news you will find Jesse Jackson.

Terrell Owens has been deactivated for the rest of the season by the Eagles for complaining about his contract. This is a matter between the Eagles and Terrell Owens. But Jesse says the suspension is "too severe."

Rev. Jackson did say that this punishment could have been warranted if

" if Owens had been caught shaving points, selling drugs, carrying a gun or fighting fans without sufficient restraint."

Hmmm Carrying a gun is reason for punishment?

Anyway, also enter Ralph Nader. He wants the suspension to be rescinded.

Is life so slow in the activist world that they must insert themselves into pro football. Jesse and Ralph have an opinion on the matter, just like everybody else. There opinion should carry no more or no less weight.

Monday, November 14, 2005

They Cannot Get Over It

In this article about former VP Gore, the author states:
"AL GORE, the man who five years ago won the popular vote but lost the US presidential elections by a few hanging chads..."

This neglects the fact that the election of the president is governed by the Constitution on the United States and President Bush won according to the rules. The Left cannot seem to get over the election of 2000, much less the election of 2004.

Since Al Gore is working for a British company, is President Bush responsible for exporting jobs? Some how, I bet it will be blamed on him.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Virginia Tech 1-33

Virginia Tech's lose to the University of Miami should come as no surprise.

In the last 17 years (since 1985) Virginia Tech is 1-20 against Top 10 teams. Since 1950 the Hokies are 1-33 against Top 10 teams (based on the final poll). The only game Virginia Tech has won was against Texas in the 1995 Sugar Bowl in which the Longhorns finished at #14 after the loss so you won't see it on the list.

Here is the list:

2001 - #1 Miami - LOST 24-26
2000 - #2 Miami - LOST 21-41
1999 - #1 Florida State - LOST 29-46
1997 - #6 North Carolina - LOST 3-42
1996 - #6 Nebraska - LOST 21-41
1994 - #6 Miami - LOST 3-24
1993 - #7 West Virginia - LOST 13-14
1992 - #3 Miami - LOST 23-43
1992 - #6 Syracuse - LOST 9-28
1991 - #4 Florida State - LOST 20-33
1991 - #9 East Carolina - LOST 14-17
1990 - #4 Florida State - LOST 28-39
1990 - #1 Georgia Tech - LOST 3-5
1989 - #3 Florida State - LOST 7-41
1988 - #9 Clemson - LOST 7-40
1988 - #5 West Virginia - LOST 10-22
1988 - #3 Florida State - LOST 14-41
1987 - #4 Syracuse - LOST 21-35
1987 - #1 Miami - LOST 13-27
1985 - #5 Florida - LOST 18-35
1981 - #8 Miami - LOST 14-21
1980 - #5 Florida State - LOST 7-31
1979 - #6 Florida State - LOST 10-17
1979 - #1 Alabama - LOST 7-31
1978 - #6 Clemson - LOST 7-38
1978 - #1 Alabama - LOST 0-35
1976 - #7 Texas A&M - LOST 0-19
1973 - #9 Houston - LOST 27-54
1973 - #4 Alabama - LOST 6-77
1972 - #7 Alabama - LOST 13-52
1966 - #9 Miami - LOST 7-14
1953 - #10 West Virginia - LOST 7-12
1952 - #9 Alabama - LOST 0-42


Veterans Too

Today, I thanked the veterans that I worked with. I thanked them for what they had done for me and for their service to our great country. I pass this marker at least twice per day.

Confederate and Union soldiers are also veterans. This statue was dedicated in 1901. There were people alive who remembered the Civil War. It is hard to imagine 10,000 people gathered for this occasion. A great celebration it must have been.

Thanks veterans!


Thursday, November 10, 2005


A picture of the New River. Looking toward the Narrows and the town of Narrows.

This is the picture from the gabezo at Mountain Lake. When "Dirty Dancing" was filmed here, the water was at this gazebo. Its hard to believe how much is has receded.

I heard one version of the election outcome insist that the Democrats should not be to confident. Democrats were the incumbents in NJ and VA, Killgore gets criticized, even at national levels, for a poor campaign, Bush's satifaction numbers are in the toilet, and still, VA was a squeaker.

What's up with Harry Reid? He wants Bush to promise not to pardon anyone connected with Plamegate. Libby was only indicted on perjery! Just like Bill Clinton was.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

God's Mind...

I read this post from The Southern Conservative. In it was the following:

"The campaign has been focused almost exclusively on the death penalty for what seems like the past five hundred years... and the problem is, I'm opposed to the death penalty. I'm a Christian, and I can't find a single thing in the teachings of Christ that condones execution as a viable punitive option."

The part that got me thinking was that Jesus never taught about execution, as in capital punishment, therefore, He must be against it. It seems to me that this is a huge leap. Jesus did talk about items we consider important. An extreme example would be cannabalism. Jesus did not discuss that either. We would agree it to be a bad thing. Also, He did not mention cloning.

My point is that silence does not indicate agreement or disagreement. Lastly, Exodus 20:13 states "Thou shall not murder" not "thou shall not kill". There is a difference.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Real Culprit

Saturday night, Virginia Tech played the University of Miami in Blacksburg. VT was ranked #3 and Miami was ranked #5. VT was dominated and outplayed. There is enough blame to go around. Blame Vick, the offense line, and the coaches. However, there is another that may be to blame. According to Randy King, of the Roanoke Times, one "had to wonder if all the outside media hoopla leading up to the kick off possibly suffocated the favored Hokies." So there, Mr. King suggests that the MEDIA may be partly responsible.

I do not believe this is the case. Tech was out played Saturday. Miami was the better team that night. If VT expects to play top ranked teams, they better learn to handle media attention.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Nice Day...

It was a nice day and a nice night.

I hard to live near Blacksburg and not be fan of Virginia Tech football, but I manage. All the recent hype about the tragedy of Tech going undefeated and not being able to play for the BCS championship wore on my nerves. But, as I type, the fourth quarter has started and VT is behind 27-0. It looks like the VT pundits were putting the cart ahead of the horse. Looks like no BCS for VT unless the other unbeatens get beat. Little Vick is having a difficult time against a top rated defense and a top 5 team.


Saturday, November 05, 2005


TLA, aka, three letter acronyms are things we see and use everyday. Some examples are FBI, CIA, ABC, CBS, NBS, ATF, DEA, NFL, NBA, etc. Have you ever heard someone use a TLA and not know the meaning? Well listen to this story.

As an engineer at a large manufacturing facility in the New River Valley, part of my job description was to give tours of our part of the facility. The guests were mainly students from Virginia Tech. Plant tours can be a bore for guest and host. One day, during a tour of VT students, I decided to do a test concerning TLA.

The area was loud and hot. Everyone was using ear plugs. Then I began to explain. Pointing to a process tank, I said "There is BRT-1 , it empties into LRT-1, each has a pair of RHT and a LCT." I saw a glazed look in every eye. I asked if there were questions and there were none.

During the tour I made up some TLAs. BRT was "big round thing", a process tank, LRT was "little round thing", a second process tank, RHT was "real hot thing", a heater, and LCT was "level control thingy", a level controller. There were no questions! But no one knew what I was talking about. I got a kick out of that.

I figured there are some reasons no questions were asked:
1. Everyone knew the meanings - NOT - I just made them up
2. They were afraid to ask and look stupid
3. They did not care and just wanted the tour to end
4. They couldnot understand anything, including my solicitation for questions
5. They were amazed at industry

Regardless, I learned my lesson. If I do not understand, I ask questions because it just may be a test.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Political Calls

This was the view the other day. Still a lot of green everywhere! Only now are the trees beginning to change.

I get political calls about every night. It is my belief that phone calls will not cause people to vote for one politicial over the other. Most people do not like these types of calls. So why keep doing it? Could be the "just in case" justification. You know "just in case" we find the right person on the other end of the line.

All ads now seem to say "I will create new jobs"..."I will fully fund education"...all the motherhood and apple pie stuff that no one can seem to disagree with. When it comes to jobs, the governor cannot create private sector jobs. His administration may make it easy for industry to create jobs. But unless jobs are added to the government payroll, the governor cannot create a single job.

And who in their right mind would be against fully funding education.

I would like to know where the candidates stand on the Kelo decision. Recall the Supreme Court decision that allows the government to take private land if it is determined that more taxes will be generated by some other activity, such as a mall. No mention thus far that I can see.


Southern Entrance Exam for Yankees

I cannot take credit for this exam. I read it in the Monroe Watchman (WV).

Admit it, everyone want to live in the south. Its a great place with great people. However, Yankees with school smarts may not be able to survive the south so there needs to be an entrance exam. So before a Yank can move south of the Mason-Dixon line, the following test must be passed.

1. Using your knowledge of calculus, geometry, and trigonometry, calculate the smallest limb diameter on a persimmon tree that will support the weight of a ten pound possum.
2. If your uncle has a still which opperates at a capacity of 20 gallons of moonshine produced per hour, how many old car radiators are required to condense the product?
3. A woodcutter has a chainsaw which has a maximum rpm of 12,700. The density of the trees in the plot to be harvested is 475 per acre. The plot size is 2.3 acres and the average diameter of a tree at breast height is 14.75 inches. Howmany beers will be consumed before the plot is cleared?
4. If every old refrigerator in the South vented a charge fo R-12 simultaneously, what would be the percentage of decrease in the ozone layer?
5. A front porch is constructed of 2x8 pine on 24 inch centers with a field rock foundation. The span of the porch is 8 feet and the length is 16 feet. The porch floor is constructed of 1 inch rough sawn pine. When the porch finally collapses, how many hound dogs will die in the disaster?
6. A couple owns a house and 3.74 acres of land in a hollow with an average slope of 15%. They have 5 children. Can each of their grown children place a moble home on the couple's land and still have enough room for their used electrical appliance to sit out front?
7. A coal truck is severely overloaded and proceeding down a steep slope on a secondary road at 45 mph. The brakes on the truck fail. Given average traffic conditions on secondary roads, what is the probability that it will strike a vehicle with a muffler?
8. A deep coal mine operates a NFPA Class 1, Division 2, Hazardous Area. The mine employes 120 miners per shift. A gas warning is issued at the beginning of the third shift. How many cartons of cigarettes will be smoked during this shift?
9. At a reduction in the gene pool variability rate of 8.75% per generation, how long will it take a town that has been bypassed by the interstate highway system to produce a country and western singer?
10. Which of the following cars will rust out quickest when placed on blocks in your front yard? (1) '65 Ford Fairlane, (2) '69 Chevrolet Chevelle, (3) '64 Pontiac GTO.

Bonus question: Fill in the blank. Grits are made from _____________

If you are from the South you know the answers already. If you are a Yankee invader, you wouldn't understand the answers and there ain't enough space and time to explain them to you.

Test over.

The British are coming!

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are coming to America. Prince Charles is concerned that America is too intollerant of Islam and the US is to confrontational to Muslim countries.

Note to Prince Charles - with all due respect, keep your appeasement attitude at home. America was attacked and we can still remember the people who were behind it. Honor killings, beheadings, and terrorist attacks are not the work of peaceful religions. Agreed, not all followers of Islam are bad. But the bad ones stand out and the good ones do not take a stand against the violence.

So, Prince Charles and Duchess fo Cornwall, please refrain from preaching to America.

The Indictment

Its done! After years of moaning, groaning, screaming, shouting, and gnashing of teeth, the special prosecutor has finally given a gnat!

Charged to investigate the alleged Plame leak, he has found someone to indict for perjury to a grand jury. Indeed, perjury is a crime and must be dealt with. But recall a few years back, then president Bill Clinton was indicted for perjury to a grand jury too. Mainstream media (MSM) considers Libby's indictment a big deal. But for president Bill Clinton, it was considered small potatoes by the MSM.

Go figure.