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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Mailbag: Washer and Dryer Recommendations

DAVE wrote:




Message sent from IP:

Mucho domos for the kudos. We aim to inform and entertain without regard to health-effects. But I'm glad you lived to tell about your encounter with

Best washers and dryers? That's easy:

Washers: the Staber washer.

Dryers: Whirlpool with the lint filter on the top panel (avoid the design with the lint filter in the door).

One other point: avoid Kenmore-brand appliances. As you may know, Kenmore doesn't make anything but money. There ain't no Kenmore factory in Malaysia, Pretoria or anywhere else. The Kenmore "factory" is a floor in the Sears Tower where corporate bureaucrats hobnob with manufacturers to get them to build crap with the Kenmore label. When you buy a Kenmore appliance, you don't always know the identity of the real manufacturer. Further, you are buying an appliance without a manufacturer's warranty and are totally dependent on Sears to provide warranty service. I don't know about you, but I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of being bound up and bent over the jailhouse bunk, waiting for Sears to "service" me. Shalla gives us some inside scoop on Sears "service":

shalla wrote:


I cannot emphasize enough how bad A&E Factory Service is. They are what was formerly called Whirlpool Factory Service. Now they are Sears, as Whirlpool sold their repair service to them. Whirlpool still makes good products, I firmly believe this. Problem is that even the best product needs service. This problem is compounded by the fact that customers are railroaded to A&E. When WFS changed to A&E, it was more than a name change. Sears refused to reward top Whirlpool techs, offering to cut some senior techs salary by 25%. Not surprisingly, most of them left immediately. Some stuck it out because of hollow promises from Sears about seniority as some had 30+ years with Whirlpool and didn't want to start over. But they did, as their seniority was based on their A&E hiring. Most of these left as they became frustrated with the low caliber of new hires. Please pass the word-A&E bad!

Message sent from IP:

For a real-life story about the horrors of Sears warranty service, read this.

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Mailbag: Exiled from Paradise

Psmith wrote:

Superb website, found while looking for pix of my favorite place, Franconia Ridge. Sadly I now live in Texas. But someday I'll make it back to God's Own NH...

I will pass this website to many dear friends. And I will continue to search for my Holy Grail, a source for Blind Faith in Houston.............

Hike On!

Message sent from IP:

I shudder to think what you must have done to be cast out of Paradise and flung down into the Abyss! While working out your penance in Hell, here are some other glimpses of the Franconia Paradise to keep you focused on your goal of coming back up here to God's Country. Yeah, incentives are important... learned that in rehab.

Franconia Ridge, October 2004

Franconia Ridge, May 2004

Franconia Ridge, March 2003

And lots more pictures of God's Country in my hillstomping photo albums.

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Appliance Repair Revelation: Burner Operation in a Gas Dryer

appliance tip of the day archiveGas valve solenoid coil kit, 2 and 3 wire, new style. Dryers, gas or electric, are the simplest appliances you'll ever work on. But judging by the amount and type of questions I get about gas dryers, specifically about the gas valve and burner, has prompted me to bring down another pearl of appliance wisdom from on high. This Appliance Repair Revelation explains how the burner in a gas dryer is controlled by these cute, button-looking coils on the valve, shown here to the right. Ok, hang on for some major geek-speak.

Many gas burners use a split coil design. Valve No. 1 (see diagram below) has two coils to actuate its plunger, thus giving the split-coil burner its name. Neither the hold coil nor the assist coil alone is strong enough to open the valve. The combined magnetic action of both coils is needed. Once the valve is open, however, the hold coil can hold it open by itself. The circuits of both coils will serve as a quick shut-off function.

When voltage is applied to 1V and 3V, a circuit is completed from 1V to the ignitor, and through the sensor to 3V as shown below.

Simultaneously, the hold coil is energized, and the assist coil is energized through the radiant sensor. This action means that the ignitor is heating and No. 1 valve is open. No gas flows, however, until No. 2 valve also opens. Note the resistor in series with the assist coil. This is a balancing resistor which is used only on one style of valve. It will not be present on all split-coil valves.

The ignitor has reached a temperature sufficient to open the radiant sensor contacts as shown below. This action causes valve No. 2 to be energized through the ignitor. Gas flows through the valve and is ignited instantly by the still hot ignitor. Current through the assist coil on valve No. 1 is very low at this point.

Magnetism created by the hold coil is sufficient to hold the No. 1 valve open.

Another important thing to be aware of is that the radiant sensor is closed when it does not sense light and it opens when it does sense light. This means that in order to ohm out the sensor to verify its proper operation, you first need to make sure the sensing port is covered. In this condition, you should have a very low resistance reading between the terminals. Then, uncover the sensing port and shine a flashlight in it. In this condition, you should have a very high resistance reading (ideally, open) between the terminals. A bad sensor will also cause the meter reading to jump all around during either test.

If you suspect the valve coils are burned-out, you can use your meter to make resistance measurements. The diagram below shows you what to measure:

gas valve coil resistance readings

Recommended reading:

For more information on your dryer or to order parts, click here.

grasshoppers visualizing current flow and magnetism in a gas burner valve control circuit

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Sunday, November 28, 2004

What Would Jesus Do?

Picture courtesy of

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Mailbag: Fisher & Paykel Washer that Won't Start

Fisher & Paykell Smart drive Model GWL08 - No Start

Mains power outage occured and when power came back on washing machine will not start.

All lights come on as per normal and machine appears to ready to start. Can select diferent cycles water levels temperatures etc but pressing start gives usual beep but no action. Have turned of at mains to reset electronics etc, even left of overnight - still no start. Has the main board failed? or am I missing something other than a life away from the tools.

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your Timpani site.
Message sent from IP:

Try putting the controls into diagnostic mode. The tech sheet inside the control panel explains how to do this but I'll include an abbreviated procedure here for other grasshoppers who surf into this post.

To enter Diagnostic Mode:

  • Turn power off at the console
  • Press and hold the wash temperature down then press the power button. The machine should give two short beeps.
  • The different levels of information can be extracted by using the spin speed up or the spin speed down buttons.

If the control board won't enter diagnostic mode, it's a good bet the control board is fried. Usually, when the control board fails, one of the line voltage components fried and took out the control board, too. Be sure to test the peripheral components before replacing the control board or you could fry a brand new one. More information on Fisher & Paykel washing machines here.

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Saturday, November 27, 2004

Mailbag: E1 - F5 Fault Code on a Kenmore Range

My relatively new Kenmore Gas Oven (Model #665 75824000) produces an error code whenever we try to use the self cleaning feature. After setting up the oven to begin self clearning the following error code shows up on the LCD. E1 - F5 -

Can someone tell me what this means and if it's possible for me to fix this ?

THanks !

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your Timpani site.
Message sent from IP:

Oh! Oh! I know the answer, call on me!

Using the magical model number decoder, I cleverly discern that Whirlpool is the manufacturer of your Kenmore range. On all Whirlpool ranges, the E1 - F5 fault code (which, according to the commutative property of fault codes, is the same as the F1 - E5 code) means a problem with the door lock switch. Could be a bent latch or latch assembly that's not actuating the latch switch correctly or that the latch switch itself is bad. Check the door switch, too.

Possible to fix? Unfortunately, you'll have the throw the range out and buy a new one.

Or, you could use use your multimeter to check it out and buy the the replacement part (switch or latch assembly, as indicated by the sparkling troubleshooting that I know you'll do).

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Friday, November 26, 2004

Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?

The cabal of delusional neo-cons in the Whitehouse are not conservatives at all but are just another brand of Big Government cheerleaders like their liberal cousins. Paul Craig Roberts asks a question I've been wondering, "Where have all the conservatives gone?"

You see, grasshopper, St. George of the Bush is a false prophet in the Church of Conservatism... unless you've warped the definition of "conservatism" to now mean favoring massive budget deficits and national debts (since "deficits don't matter," according to Deacon Cheney) pervasive and invasive government snooping into your personal life a la the Patriot Act, and waging imperial wars around the globe. After all, to real conservatives, war is nothing but the biggest, most expensive, and most destructive government program there is. But you neo-con brownshirts get all puffed up in your fleshly minds and declare that, "If'n you ain't with us, yer agin' us!"

Now, before you dismiss Paul Craig Roberts as some kind of wild-eyed liberal, think again. Dr. Roberts is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Let's pause from genuflecting before the altar of the Humongous Gubmint Beast with its attendant clergy of neo-cons and read how real conservatives think:

The conservative movement that I grew up in did not share the liberals’ abiding faith in government. "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Today it is liberals, not conservatives, who endeavor to defend civil liberties from the state. Conservatives have been won around to the old liberal view that as long as government power is in their hands, there is no reason to fear it or to limit it. Thus, the Patriot Act, which permits government to suspend a person’s civil liberty by calling him a terrorist with or without proof.

Thus, preemptive war, which permits the President to invade other countries based on unverified assertions.

There is nothing conservative about these positions. To label them conservative is to make the same error as labeling the 1930s German Brownshirts conservative.

American liberals called the Brownshirts "conservative," because the Brownshirts were obviously not liberal. They were ignorant, violent, delusional, and they worshipped a man of no known distinction. Brownshirts’ delusions were protected by an emotional force field. Adulation of power and force prevented Brownshirts from recognizing implications for their country of their reckless doctrines.

Like Brownshirts, the new conservatives take personally any criticism of their leader and his policies. To be a critic is to be an enemy. I went overnight from being an object of conservative adulation to one of derision when I wrote that the US invasion of Iraq was a "strategic blunder." ~ Paul Craig Roberts

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Mailbag: Washing Clothes in the Bathtub

HappyLaundryLady wrote:

Just wanted to say thanks so much for this site. It really helped us out! We were going to have to buy a new washing machine, but we don't even have the money to pay you for your services, so I would've been washing the clothes in the bathtub with the kids. You know how little kids like to pee in their bath water though? Umm... yeah... so thanks again!!


The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.
Message sent from IP:

Thanks for sharing.

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Grasshoppers and Grasshoppettes: Let Us Give Thanks

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for the all the bright voices of Liberty vigilantly watching the steady trespassing of government meddling in our lives and dutifully sounding the alarm. Below is a list of some of guardians of freedom for whom I am especially grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Adam Smith Institute
  The ASI is Britain's leading innovator of market economic policies. Since 1977, it has played a key role in the analysis and development of public policies and has published over 300 influential policy reports. It has been part of a worldwide movement towards free markets and free trade.

Advocates for Self-Government
  Find out whether you're a Libertarian and just don't realize it... take the World's Smallest Political Quiz.

American Legislative Exchange Council - ALEC
  More than a quarter century ago, a small group of state legislators and conservative policy advocates met in Chicago to implement a vision: A bipartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.
Alliance for the Separation of School & State  The Alliance is a grass-roots non-profit organization dedicated to rediscovering the original American public education system -- privately operated, open to the public.
American Policy Center A privately funded, nonprofit grassroots action and education foundation, dedicated to the promotion of free enterprise and limited government regulations over commerce and individuals. Excellent source about the "Green agenda", "sustainability", "Goals 2000." If you want no-holds-barred reality about war, is it. This site is devoted to the cause of non-interventionism and is read by libertarians, pacifists, leftists, "greens," and independents alike, as well as many on the Right who agree with our opposition to imperialism.
Ballot Access News   Richard Winger's always-current information on ballot access issues from around the U.S.
The Bill of Rights Defense Committee  "Talk to your friends, talk to your community, talk to the people in Northampton. Start a Bill of Rights Defense Committee in your own town or city, and try and pass similar legislation where you live. The more places that fight back against the "Patriot" Act, the weaker it becomes."
Capitalist Chicks   In a Capitalistic society where all minds are free to create and produce, women have been trail blazing in fields that were once male dominated. We are doctors, lawyers, astronauts, engineers, athletes, CEO's, and even geeks and gamers. Capitalist Chicks: we are the productive women of the up and coming generation.
Capital Research Center  was established in 1984 to study critical issues in philanthropy, with a special focus on non-profit "public interest" and advocacy groups, the funding sources which sustain them, their agendas (open and hidden), and their impact on public policy and society.
Capitalism Magazine  is a daily magazine providing articles from a pro-capitalist, laissez-faire, pro-individual rights perspective. Seven days a week Capitalism Magazine readers are treated to an intellectual feast of ideas that help them defend the values they hold dear.
CapWeb  A good starting point for Federal information, CapWeb was designed to be an effective means of providing information about Congress and links to related Internet resources via the World Wide Web.
Castle Coalition This website seeks to give you ideas and tools to wage this battle [eminent domain] yourself, in your own community. It is also our hope that the Castle Coalition will be a way for activists to network with each other and give support, ideas, and advice.
The Cato Institute  Promoting public policy based on individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.
Citizens Against Government Waste  Billed as America's #1 taxpayer watchdog, CAGW is the source of the annual Congressional Pig Book covering pork-barrel expenditures.
Citizens for a Sound Economy ... recruits, educates, trains and mobilizes hundreds of thousands of volunteer activists to fight for less government, lower taxes, and more freedom.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute   a pro-market, public policy group committed to advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government. Founded in 1984 by Fred L. Smith, Jr., CEI emphasizes the marketing and implementation of classical liberal ideals.
cyberSLAPP   is sponsored by a coalition of civil liberties and privacy groups (listed below) who have come together to protect the right to speak freely and anonymously on the internet. That right is endangered by a new form of lawsuit, called a "CyberSLAPP" suit, which threatens to overturn the promise of anonymous online speech and chill the freedom of expression that is central to the online world.
Evergreen Freedom Foundation As a public policy research organization based in Olympia, Washington, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation is contributing to the renewal of civil government around the time-honored truths of freedom, justice, sacrifice, and stewardship. These ideals are permanent; they transcend politics.
F.E.A.R.   Forfeiture Endangers American Rights... an organization fighting against unconstitutional, immoral government seizure of private property. If YOU are a victim of forfeiture, go to Help for Victims or email to or phone 888-FEAR-001
F.E.E.   The Foundation for Economic Education, the oldest research organization dedicated to the preservation of individual freedom and the private property order.
FACT  An example of a valuable site that survived on one man's passion. The award-winning FACT Web site is intended to be a resource for anyone wanting to learn about the First Amendment. It provides information on all the liberties guaranteed by the amendment.
FEC Info (now part of PoliticalMoneyLine)  Web site built by the former webmaster of the Federal Elections Commission... this is the site he TRIED to get the FEC to offer to the public. Very complete and easy to use. A place to discover who gave what to which Federal candidates when. Updated the same day the data becomes available.
FIRE a nonprofit educational foundation devoted to free speech, individual liberty, religious freedom, the rights of conscience, legal equality, due process, and academic freedom on our nation's campuses.
the Free Radical  Politics, Economics and Life as if Freedom Mattered- is a New Zealand-based Objectivist/libertarian magazine, the only one of its kind in this country, currently published bi-monthly.  Our mission is to assist and encourage individuals and organizations to advance America's vision of individual freedom, private property rights, free markets, and national sovereignty. This site covers Sovereignty International, Environmental Conservation Organization, Environmental Perspectives, Inc., and Freedom Week
Freedom's Nest  Great minds at your finger tips! Quotations, categorized by subject and by author... an excellent source of quotations, especially on the general subjects around freedom.

FIJA- the Fully-Informed Jury Association
  This group is working to protect the Constitutional right that is an important protection against an oppressive government and any bad laws.
The Future of Freedom Foundation   FFF aims to influence the course of thinking so that individuals abandon a commitment to the philosophy of socialism, the welfare state, and the managed economy and move toward the philosophy of freedom.
The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock  Author J. Neil Schulman's site showing the number of times a gun is used defensively. Also contains a lot of research information about gun use.
Gun Owners of America   GOA remains the only national organization that is actively pushing the Citizen's Self-Defense Act designed to protect innocent civilians, who use a gun in self-defense, from anti-gun prosecutors. GOA is also the only national organization fighting to repeal the Brady instant "registration" check, and is alone in pushing truly constitutional CCW legislation that allows law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm without a permit.
Healing Our World - The Other Piece of the Puzzle A truly remarkable book by Dr. Mary J. Ruwart  This is the way Liberty should be presented to the world.
The Heartland Institute  Founded in 1984, Heartland was the first think tank in the nation to focus on free-market solutions to state and local public policy problems. Today, it has a staff of eight and a budget of $1.2 million.
The Heritage Foundation Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.  A portal for 21st century feminism, edited by Wendy McElroy. Includes an introduction to the ifeminist movement, opportunities for personal interaction, and a wealth of resources.
Institute for Humane Studies  from George Mason University, IHS is a unique organization that assists undergraduate and graduate students who have a special interest in individual liberty.
Institute for Justice If you seek a courtroom champion for individual liberty, free market solutions, and limited government, look only as far as the Institute for Justice. Welcome to the site of the public interest law firm that's in court on behalf of your rights.
International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL) is an association of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a free and peaceful world, respect for individual rights and liberties, and an open and competitive economic system based on voluntary exchange and free trade. The association exists to promote the exchange of information and ideas, to study diverse strategies and to foster fellowship.
IWF - the Independent Women's Forum  Since 1992, the Independent Women's Forum has been taking on the old feminist establishment - and winning. The women who make up the IWF are not radical ideologues. They're businesswomen, economists, lawyers, truck drivers, police officers, teachers, and homemakers.
The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible:   A Free Market Odyssey By: Ken Schoolland - JG has been awarded the first annual Leonard Read Book Award, the Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education, September Book of the Month by Free-Market.Net of the Henry Hazlitt Foundation and has been Twice awarded the GEORGE WASHINGTON HONOR MEDALS.
The Junkman   The Junkman Science site... learn how we are constantly deceived by "scientific" studies used as justification for still more government control measures. The Junkman is qualified, scholarly, yet humorous. is about helping lawful people maintain their abilities to protect themselves and the people they love effectively from anyone who would do them harm - through legal, private ownership and use of guns. We also stand for the repealing of all gun laws which infringe on the civil rights of peaceable women and men to defend their own lives and property.  Lew Rockwell, founder and president of the Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala., and vice president of the Center for Libertarian Studies in Burlingame, Cal., is an opponent of the central state, its wars and its socialism... and was a student and colleague of Murray N. Rothbard. A great site of essays by many commentators, all on anti-state, anti-war, pro-market issues.
Libertarian International   THE MISSION of LIBERTARIAN INTERNATIONAL is to coordinate various initiatives in the defense of individual liberty throughout the world. Formally, Libertarian International is a non-profit foundation registered in the Netherlands.
Libertarianz  is the Libertarian party of New Zealand, a libertarian/objectivist group with a very classy web site. Libertarianz is a very new but determined group that "shakes and moves".
Libertarian Party (National)  National Philosophy and Positions, membership information, history, news and candidates from all over the nation  The ultimate e-guide to liberty, from the Institute for Humane Studies
Liberty Belles  Gun control increases violent crime by shifting the balance of power to the criminal while simultaneously disarming helpless victims. Women must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself. --Susan B. Anthony, July, 1871
Liberty For All From its meager conception to the international circulation that it now enjoys, Liberty For All has remained a beacon for an individual's right to freely speak his/her mind as the founders intended from the birth of a nation.
Liberty Matters  Dedicated to Current Issues, Strategies and Public Policy of Constitutional Consequence.  the largest web resource on the history of liberty - by Jim Powell, author of "Triumph of Liberty", called a "literary achievement" by the Wall Street Times. Since 1988, Powell has been a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Since 1992, he has been editor of Laissez Faire Books, the world's largest source of books on liberty, with readers in 90 countries.
Living History Associates Ltd.  is a business which brings four centuries of memorable history to life for diverse audiences throughout Virginia, neighboring states, and occasionally out of the country. Living History Associates educates and entertains people of all ages through a variety of innovative services.
The Ludwig von Mises Institute  is the research and educational center of classical liberalism and the Austrian School of economics. Working in the intellectual tradition of Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) and Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995), with a vast array of publications, programs, and fellowships.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy ... assists policy makers, scholars, business people, the media and the public by providing objective analysis of Michigan issues, and is broadening the debate on issues that has for many years been dominated by the belief that government intervention should be the standard solution.
Marijuana Policy Project works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana -- both the consumption of marijuana, and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is prison. To this end, MPP focuses on removing criminal penalties for marijuana use, with a particular emphasis on making marijuana medically available to seriously ill people who have the approval of their doctors.
The National Anxiety Center Online  Founded in 1990 by Alan Caruba, a veteran business and science writer, the National Anxiety Center is a response to all the "Earth is Doomed!" stories in the media.
The National Center of Policy Analysis  NCPA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector./i>
National Wilderness Institute  NWI is dedicated to using science to guide the wise management of natural resources for the benefit and enjoyment of people. NWI recognizes the direct, positive relationship between freedom and progress and environmental quality, and champions private stewardship which enhances nature's bounty while encouraging economic growth.
The Objectivist Center  The goal of The Objectivist Center is to help create a new culture in our society, a culture in tune with the entrepreneurial spirit of the new economy, a culture that affirms the core Objectivist values of reason, individualism, freedom, and achievement.
Pacific Research Institute  The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), founded in 1979 promotes individual freedom and personal responsibility.
The Petition Project  We've all heard that there is a "scientific consensus" that Global Warming is a danger that must cause us to cut back on fossil-fuel usage. Here's the REAL scientific consensus! Currently, there are 19,300 signers, of which 16,800 are real American scientists... 10 times the number who signed in support of the myth of Global Warming. read the Petition, and see the names of the signers
Pioneer Institute Massachusetts' leading think tank, promotes research that challenges the conventional wisdom on public policy issues. Committed to individual freedom and responsibility, limited and accountable government, and the application of free market principles to state and local policy.
Pro Libertate a Swiss division of the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL): The Libertarian International Pro Libertate is an association for the promotion of libertarian ideas and their consequent applications to the different fields of economics, law and society. Pro Libertate advocates individual liberty based on the strict enforcement of property rights and the free will of everyone as well as true economic freedom as it is realized through laissez-faire capitalism and free-trade
Rational Review Home of the Rational Review News Digest, a free subscription daily news and commentary email, Rational Review was conceived as an answer to the conventional "conservative" and "liberal" commentary that dominates the American political scene. You'll often find No Force, No Fraud articles in the RRND commentary section.
Reason Online the monthly print magazine of . free minds and free markets. It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews.
The Reason Foundation and magazine   A National Public-policy think tank. Reason magazine is one of the nations's leading magazines of policy and politics.
The Robinson Curriculum  Self-Teaching K-12 Homeschool. The Complete Curriculum Home School Parents Have Been Waiting For Is Here. Teach your children to teach themselves and to acquire superior knowledge as did many of America's most outstanding citizens in the days before socialism in education.
The Second Amendment Sisters  ... came about in December 1999, when a group of women decided they had enough: enough of the distortion, the misrepresentation, and the reproach from the anti-Second Amendment crowd.
Strike The Root  is a daily journal of current events and commentary from a libertarian/market anarchist perspective.
The Tax Foundation The mission of the Tax Foundation is to educate taxpayers about tax policy and the total tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government. Great source for research on taxes.
Taxpayers for Common Sense Politicians of both parties in Washington, D.C. continue to recklessly spend your money. Despite the nearly six trillion dollar national debt, billions of your dollars are wasted each year. TCS is an independent voice for American taxpayers. TCS is dedicated to cutting wasteful government spending and subsidies in order to achieve a responsible and efficient government that lives within its means.
Tech Central Station  is here to help provide the right answers to many of those [thorny political and public policy] questions with the news, analysis, research, and commentary you need to understand how technology is changing and shaping our world, and how you can make sense of it all.
Thomas   Acting under the directive of the leadership of the 104th Congress to make Federal legislative information freely available to the Internet public, a Library of Congress team brought the THOMAS World Wide Web system online in January 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress.
U.S. Term Limits  Mission Statement : To rally Americans to restore citizen control of government by limiting the terms of politicians at the local, state and congressional levels.

And thanks to Bob Smith for the list of links.

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Friday, November 19, 2004

Mrs. Samurai Says...Be Careful What You Wish For

The Samurai has linked to some really good, thought-provoking political articles lately. They inspired me to write my own little election summary. Thought you might like to see what the Mrs. has to say about all this. Here goes...

Democrats' reactions to President Bush's re-election have been extreme, to say the least. People are seeking therapy, researching Canadian residency requirements, and even committing suicide. But if they are feeling depressed, perhaps it should be from a sense of guilt. The Democratic Party, more than any other group in our country, has worked tirelessly for decades to increase the scope and power of government to shape our society according to their vision. And they succeeded - at least in the 'increasing government' part.

But there's a catch. For all of their talk of smaller government, the Republicans are always more than happy to take the reins of the Federal leviathan and steer it in the direction they want - to the utter horror of those very people who inadvertently put the power in their hands. Perhaps it's time to reevaluate this whole big Federal government thing.

The colonists overthrew a tyrannical government, set up a system based on liberty, and quickly became a prosperous nation and beacon of hope for the world. It's important to recognize that America was a tremendous success story not because of what the government did, but what it DIDN'T do. It didn't treat citizens as property, overly tax them, disarm them, over-regulate them, wage imperial wars around the world, interfere with freedom of speech and worship, circumvent due process, and so on. I speak, of course, in the past tense.

George Washington said, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence -- it is force." While you might agree with the way one group uses that force, you never know whose control it will be in next. Washington went on to say, "Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and fearful master." Not sure you agree? Think of how you'd feel if you received an IRS audit notice in the mail tomorrow.

Next time, vote for Liberty.

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An Open Letter to Liberals

To all you suicidal liberals still simpering after the repudiation you endured in the last election: you have a friend in J.D. Tuccile. He feels your pain and offers you an open and heartfelt invitation to join forces in taking America back.

Now, as for this new-found secessionist sentiment of yours and this talk of a looming civil war between progressive blue states and reactionary red states ...

Ummm ... are you sure you're up to it?

It was all well and good when your side was running the show to sniff at the Second Amendment and say that the government should have a monopoly on force. You insisted that any talk of resisting the powers-that-be was just SO reactionary (you DO remember our little chat after the Waco unpleasantness, don't you?). But the world looks a little bit different when the cops work for the opposition, doesn't it? If you plan to redraw national borders, you're going to want something of a heavier caliber than those sharply worded e-mails you've been circulating. Frankly, the other side is heavily armed; you're not.

It's OK. My friends and I are here to help. But we'll have to come to an understanding. If we're going to work together, you're going to have to stop trying to shove your god down the throat of nonbelievers.

No, I don't have you confused with Bob Jones. I know you call yourself an agnostic. But whatever you call yourself, just like the Bush supporters you worship an awesome god in whom you put all faith -- and you think the rest of us should do the same. The Bushies call their god Jehovah and you call your god Government. As happy as I am to hear, yet again, about the sainted John F. Kennedy who died for our sins, I don't plan on joining your church. Just as I'm unenthusiastic about coughing up a tithe to appease the other side's Lord in Heaven, I don't really hanker to make a cash sacrifice to your Lord in D.C.

So here's the deal: If you agree to let me live my own life according to my own values, so long as I don't trample on your rights, I'll agree to do the same by you. Think about it; if we all lived according to that sort of understanding, the stakes would be an awful lot lower when your side lost an election. Then you could go about your business without taking time out to chat with immigration lawyers or draw maps with creative new borders on them. [read more]

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Global Flu Pandemic

Get ready, it's coming...

Between a quarter and a third of the world's population will fall ill, according to new World Health Organization estimates, and 1 per cent of the sick will die.

Do the math and the numbers defy credulity; between 16 million and 21 million people would die in a matter of mere months. In Canada, 80,000 to 106,000 people would be expected to succumb.

Armed with that math, think of the consequences. Panic. Crippled health-care systems. Economic disruption on a global scale. Grounded airlines. Distribution networks that will grind to a halt. Social instability.

Or, "three years of a given hell," as a leading U.S. epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm, puts it: "I can't think of any other risk, terrorism or Mother Nature included, that could potentially pose any greater risk to society than this." [read more]

The flu vaccine does more harm than good--just as well that it's in short supply. Instead, focus on staying healthy and building up your immune system.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Americans and Amerikans

With samurai precision, Anthony Gregory separates the wheat from the chaff, the Americans from the Amerikans.

[T]hroughout its early history, America was great to the extent that the government was limited, and kept out of people's affairs. America was tarnished and bloodied to the extent that government grew and gained power. The same is true today, when we have a much larger government than even the least libertarian Founding Fathers would have ever imagined or desired. To the extent that America is now great, it is because of what government doesn't do, not what it does. And today's nationalists are not cheering on America when they cheer on the police-warfare state and lash out at its critics. They are cheering on Amerika -- the nationalized, bureaucratized, militarized version of our country. [read more]

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Maytag Recalls Jenn-Air Gas Ranges

Here we go again...

Appliance maker Maytag Corp. has recalled more than 1,100 of its Jenn-Air gas ranges because switches are too close to the gas tubing, resulting in a fire hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Wednesday. [read more]

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Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Come-back Plan for the Democratic Party

In the wake of the Democrat's hemorrhaging in the last elections, James Glassman, at Tech Central Station, offers the following prescription for saving the Democratic Party:

1. Nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in 2008. A Northeastern senator will be a big advantage this time around as Americans tire of Southern hicks. Sure, her negatives are already 44 percent, but Hillary will resurrect government-run health care, a sure winner. Also, she'll get the support of the New York Times -- the key to the White House.

2. Be honest about the so-called terrorist "threat." As Democratic leaders know, it doesn't exist. If it did, then why hasn't there been another attack on American soil in more than three years? The platform should advocate disbanding the Homeland Security Department and banishing those screeners who make us get to the airport so early.

3. Fund a new Michael Moore documentary blowing the lid off religion in America. Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, hailed by Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle (whoops, soon-to-be former leader), nearly won the election for Kerry. The new movie will mock those kooky "born-agains," rendering them too embarrassed to show up at the polls.

4. Involve Hollywood more in the campaign. Kerry failed to make enough use of high-IQ stars like Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Ben Affleck. Whoopi Goldberg's brilliant speech at Kerry's Madison Square Garden fund-raiser galvanized America, but she dropped from sight. Use the woman!

5. Two words: "Gun Control." Why didn't Kerry emphasize gun control more instead of killing geese? Americans hate guns and understand that criminals do not shoot people, guns do. Ms. Clinton should push for a ban on the hunting of defenseless animals and a repeal of the Second Amendment, that antiquated guarantor of the so-called "right" to bear arms.

6. Reinstate the draft. America's military has become far too professionalized. Democrats understand that the best way to fight a modern war is with citizen soldiers. Also, do not hesitate to criticize our troops, who have botched the job in Iraq.

7. Bring foreigners into the Cabinet. The best way to improve relations with our European allies is to ask them to join the next Democratic administration. Jacques Chirac, for example, may soon retire as president of France. Why not ask him to become our next secretary of state? There's nothing in the Constitution that says he can't. Look it up.

8. Make George Soros chairman of the Democratic Party. Sure, it will be difficult to replace a genius like Terry McAuliffe (and let's not forget the help provided by Harold Ickes and Joe Lockhart). But Soros is a billionaire with a common touch, a rare ability to connect with Middle America (probably because he's from Mitteleuropa). He cleverly compared Republicans to Nazis and judiciously spent $24 million of his own money in efforts that came oh-so-close to beating Bush.

9. "Vote or Die." Use P. Diddy's catchy slogan, which turned out hundreds of millions of young first-time voters in 2004, as the main theme of the 2008 campaign.

10. Raise taxes across the board. Of course, fleece the rich. That's normal Democratic policy. But lower-income Americans will feel a stronger sense of community if they, too, contribute more to government. And, goodness knows, Washington could use the money.

With a plan like this, how can the Democrats possibly lose in '08?

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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Soylent Green

Every morning, I drag my skinny butt outta bed and chase away the previous night's fermented chugalug with a soy protein drink mix. But with all the old bad press about soy protein, I had doubts about continuing this breakfast restorative.

My wife recently received some medical information on the Shaklee protein supplement that I've come to know and love and helps to buttress by faith in soy, my favorite dietary staple.

This information was offered by Dr. Nasr (they didn't give his full name). Dr. Nasr has a B.S. in Agronomy; M.S. in Biochemistry of anti-oxidants and a PH.D. in Pharmacognosy (science of bio-active products). He received his M.D. from Rush Medical College in Chicago, followed by Internal Medicine and Cardiology fellowships from Chicago Medical School. He is a member of the American College of Nutraceuticals and the American College of Preventive Medicine and is Director of the Medical Care & Diagnostic Center, Lake Villa, Il 847-356-9009. Contact Dr. Nasr for the actual research studies. He uses Shaklee Soy exclusively because it has the very best and most complete soy protein and isoflavone content.

Below is a synopsis from Kay Beers' notes.

1. Optiflora and Soy Protein increase the absorption of protein, decrease gas and discomfort and decrease cholesterol by 23%

2. Sixty (60) studies have been conducted showing soy protein increases bone density more than just Calcium Magnesium does.

3. Two studies show that soy and vitamin E, together, decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) by 40% and that is 17% greater decrease than Zocor and Lipitor.

4. Four studies show that soy protein inhibits oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol) by 40%. When cholesterol oxidizes, it becomes "sticky" and in this condition is when it can attach to blood vessel walls.

5. Soy prevents gall stones. It doesn't dissolve them but it prevents them.

6. Soy prevents kidneys from damage. Lots of animal protein may be hard on the kidneys, but soy protein protects the kidneys.

7. French fries at major fast food establishments are crispy. That is a value for the store. Some french fries are coated with a protein substance that when combined with the sugar in the potato and then heated, give them added crispness. Unfortunately that combination of sugar, protein and high heated fat produces a carcinogen. Probably a good idea to avoid all French fries.

8. Shaklee's protein includes valuable protein and isoflavones that are not present in other soy proteins produced with heat or chemicals. Shaklee's low heat - water wash process keeps the isoflavones in the protein. Isoflavones are natural cancer fighting ingredients that occur naturally in soy.

9. Soy's protein and Isoflavones inhibit the mutated cell's ability to make an enzyme that would cause the cell it to reproduce.

10. Soy inhibits the cancer cell from making the body provide it with additional blood supply (additional blood supply is called angiogenesis).

11. Soy increases the killing effect of the white blood cells (phagocytosis).

12. Soy's amino acid Lysine when combined with Vitamin C decreases Colon Cancer by 90%.

13. The flavanoids (like those in Shaklee's Flavomax) when combined with Soy Protein are synergistic (they work even better together) and decrease breast cancer 10 fold.

14. Beta carotene (like those in Shaklee's CarotoMax) when combined with Soy Protein and Calcium with Vitamin D are 10 times as effective at preventing cancer cells from getting an addition blood supply.

15. Women in the Orient get about 80mg of Isoflavones a day; women in US and Europe get about 1.0 mg. That's an 80% negative difference for US and Europe.

16. Soy protein helps the differentiated cell (bad cell) convert back to a normal cell.

Dr. Nasr also listed the several forms of protein and the length of their chain of Amino Acids. The shorter the chain, the more quickly the Amino Acids can be absorbed and utilized.

1. Soy has the shortest chain and takes less than an hour.

2. Fish is next.

3. Chicken takes about 4 hours.

4. Beef takes about 5 hours.

5. Pork takes about 6-8 hours to digest.

Yea verily, soy is still green!

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Mailbag: How to Troubleshoot a Gas Dryer with No Heat

Kenmore gas dryer-Mod.#11077694100

No fire--replaced ignitor--still no fire--checked for voltage to valve assy.--none--checked safety switches on fire box & vent--normally closed condition okay--how do I check the centrifical switch & pressure switch for proper operation?

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your HumanClicked site.

Message sent from IP:

How 'bout instead of guessing which part might be bad, we use the dryer's schematic diagram to determine which part is bad based on actual measurements? Sound like a plan? 'Course it is: I am the Samurai.

Here's a typical schematic diagram for a Whirlpool / Kenmore gas dryer (Note: the diagram for your dryer may be significantly different depending on features and model. Always endeavor to use the exact diagram that came with your dryer.)

gas dryer schematic -- click for larger view
Typical Schematic Diagram for a Whirlpool / Kenmore Gas Dryer (lint filter on top panel)

Are you still with me? Ok, recalling your statement that the gas valve coils were not getting voltage, I see four components in the example diagram that could break the circuit to the gas valve coils: timer, hi-limit thermostat, operating thermostat, and thermal fuse. Any one of these can fail open and break the circuit to the valve coils.

Pop Quiz: What test would you do to test each component? Discuss amongst yourselves...

Finished already? Ok, survey said? Ding, ding ding! That's right: continuity test--you're a quick study!

Bonus question: how do you test continuity?

Tic, toc, tic, toc, tic, toc...

Done already? Let's hmm, hmmm, yes: set the multimeter to the lowest ohms scale and remove at least one wire from the component being tested to isolate it from the rest of the circuit, then you test the component like this. Yes, good work!

Armed with this sacred appliance wisdom, you may proceed with diagnosing and repairing your insolent appliance. Buy the parts you need here.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 01:23 ET.  [permalink]
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Friday, November 12, 2004

Why Republicans Suck

Anthony Gregory explains why Republicans, who deceptively masquerade as libertarians, suck out loud:

The Republican Party is an institutionalized lie. The Bush administration is the embodiment of modern political deception. Unfortunately, some of the people that should know better and should see through the Republican lie don't. I'm talking about fellow libertarians who still consider the GOP the lesser of two evils.

Pending a Watergate-type miracle, we have four more years of this monstrous administration, four more years to test our resolve for the cause of liberty and to refuse to fall for the Republican deception ever again. [read more]

Recommended Reading: Why Democrats Suck

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Why Democrats Suck

Bob Smith, at No Force, No Fraud, explains why Leftists and Liberals of every stripe (collectively referred to as Democrats) suck:

The point I want to make to those who feel defeated by the election results is this: when you seek to gain by the use of force, don't be shocked when others turn it around on you. When you look to government and seek the enforcement of your preferences on others, you invite others to respond forcefully in return. When you urge government to implement your "programs", you're granting the use of force against those who don't agree with you. That attitude is now coming back to haunt you.

I've said it before and I'll say it again now when it should be even more obvious: Democrats, liberals, progressives, socialists, (however you identify yourself)... have, more than any other body of citizens, sought constantly to increase the power of our government in order to force your will on others. You self-righteously demanded that your social programs be implemented through government, by force, funded by money stolen from all of us, whether we agreed with those programs of not. In so doing, you granted to government the power, and the ever-increasing funding, to do with us what it would. [read more]

Recommended Reading: Why Republicans Suck

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Mailbag: DCS Range Parts

Dear Samurai Appliance Repair Master,

I humbly submit my question to you: I bought a house two years ago, and it came with a really nice stainless DCS range, but lately the spark igniter for the top burners has stopped working. First one side went out (two burners) and a couple months later the other side stopped working too. It makes a click-click sound but the fire does not light. A match lights it just fine, but I'd like to fix it. I am guessing I need two new igniter gizmo's, can you recommend where I can buy this part and does it come with installation instructions?

Many Thanks,

Paul LeMay

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your Timpani site.

Message sent from IP:

Sounds like you're referring the white ceramic spark electrodes by each stove burner. You can buy parts for DCS appliances here. The parts usually don't come with instructions but, in this case, you don't need 'em--it's plug n' play.

Fun Fact to Know and Tell: Fisher & Paykel recently acquired DCS.

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Mailbag: What Washing Machine Would the Samurai Buy?

Hi Samuri,

I have a question for you...

If you had to replace a washing machine, and wanted to spend under 1 Grand (gotta save some for beer) what would you buy.

Oh yeah, I need a big tub, my wife has big comforters, but thats another story!

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your Timpani site.

Message sent from IP:

If you really want a cheap-ass, water-pig, electricty-hog, top-loading washer, then buy a Whirlpool direct-drive washer. Get the cheapest one you can find, preferably with all mechanical controls (but they're getting harder to find as the all the manufacturers are going to the crappy electronic controls which are guaranteed to fail early and often). Plan on fixing it every two to four years.

If you can save up a few more shekels, your money would be better-spent on a Staber washing machine. These are horizontal axis washers, meaning they work like a front loader and have all the advantages: much less water usage (12 gallons of water per washer vs. 56 gallons in a top-loader), use less electricity, much gentler on clothes so they last longer, and use less detergent (so you're not wearing detergent on your clothes). As if that wasn't enough, these washing machines are 100% made in the USA and use all mechanical controls--none of the electronic garbage so in vogue with all the other manufacturers.

Now you can buy the Staber washer freight-free (within the continental U.S.) if you order directly from me.

Recommended Reading: Washing Machine Shootout: The Staber vs. Whirlpool Duet

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Mailbag: Oven Pilot Flame Goes Out

Greetings Samurai;

My oven and I have shared many wonderful memories over the years and I have miraculously managed to repair the occassional problems that have come up. I can't part with her now..sniff! But I always keep in mind the wise old saying " A little knowledge is dangerous" (especially with a gas oven). The problematic one is a Century Welbilt free standing gas range/oven. The oven has a spark ignition pilot which does not work, but I have always just lit it with a match. No problem. While cleaning the oven recently, I managed to crack the thermostat sensor/ cappillary/thingy. It was replaced but now, after the oven gets up to temperature, the pilot goes out (but not the gas). I tried taking off the oven control knob and adjusting the pilot flame, but it's as high as it can go. I wish to glean a few crumbs of your infinite appliance wisdom Exaulted One!



The above message was sent when you were offline, via your Timpani site.

Message sent from IP:

Focus your laser-like gaze upon the pilot flame. It should be predominately blue, like this. If not, and you see a mostly yellow flame, then you need to clean the pilot assembly. Warning: some disassembly required.

You'll need to disassemble the pilot assembly and clean it out with isopropyl alcohol (you know, the rubbing kind) and blow it out with compressed air, 100 psi works well. But this is just my preferred technique that I've found works well and results in a nice blue flame when I'm all done. Remember to leak check all connections after working a gas system!

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Mailbag: Washing Machine Help


I wanted to thank you for the outstanding resource your website provides. My washing machine was leaking, and I knew nothing about washing machines. Now I know enough to understand how it works, how to take it apart find the problem! Thank you very much for your efforts to help lowly home handymen.

Tim Massey

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your Timpani site.

Message sent from IP:

I live to serve, Grasshopper. Many domos for your email. If anyone else seeks washing machine help, come find wisdom in washer repair revelations, common washer problems, or the washer diagnostic guide.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 01:36 ET.  [permalink]
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Mailbag: Gas Stove Burner Ignition Problems

When I turn on the element of my gas stove the gas ignites, but the spark continues to click on all 4 burners. I can't stop it. We clean in and around the burner and this eventually stops the problem, but I would love to know exactly where the flame sensor is loacted so we can fcus on cleaning just that one spot. Your help will be appreciated.


The above message was sent when you were offline, via your Timpani site.

Message sent from IP:

The most likely cuprit here is a stove burner switch that either got wet or has grease-gookus built up on its contacts. Lots more detailed help on troubleshooting gas stove burner ignition problems here. Warning: some reading required.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Another Good Libertarian Talk Show

Found another good Libertarian talk show. The one is Libertasia and comes to us from WGNU - Radio Free St. Louis, AM 920,

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Heads: They win. Tails: We Lose

L. Neil Smith, of The Libertarian Enterprise, wrote a scathing wrapup of the election and a thank you to our excellent Libertarian candidate, Michael Badnarik:

In hindsight, this election yielded exactly the results one would have expected from 120 million products of the public school system. Half of the voters wanted Daddy to protect them from the nasty bad A-rabs. The other half of the voters wanted Mommy to protect them from Daddy. [read more]

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It's easy to say you love to drink beer, but talk is cheap. Do you love beer enough to steal it from the dead?

If they were good enough for John the Baptist, they're good enough for me!

Hey, fellow appliance techs, you think we have it bad here? Just be glad you're not an appliance tech in China.

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Friday, November 05, 2004

Samurai Radio for 11/05/2004

Topics: post-election wrap-up both nationally and in New Hampshire; who are the Libertarians; government programs never accomplish what they intend; educate yourself about Liberty. (13 minutes)

Your Hosts: Samurai Appliance Repair Man and Mrs. Samurai

Listen to streaming audio:

Download the MP3 file of this show here (right-click and select save to download the file).

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Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thousands of Spam Accomplices -- Revealed!

An article in the paper today announced that a brother and sister in Virginia were convicted yesterday in the nation's first felony prosecution of spammers. The brother was sentenced to nine years in prison! Like most people, I loathe spam, and thus felt no sympathy for these people. But then I read more. One of the items these siblings offered was a fraudulent "FedEx refund processor" that supposedly allowed people to earn $75 an hour while working from home. The article briefly mentioned that in one month alone they received 10,000 credit card orders for the processor at $39.95 each, then went on to other details about their conviction.

Hold on, there! 10,000 people ordered this junk in one month? This is why we have spam! This is why we have telemarketing! Because numnutzes out there actually buy the stuff from them! If spamming and dinner-time sales calls didn't bring in a profit, they would've stopped a long time ago. These are the people we need to target. Instead of spending all this money to prosecute one two-bit pair of spammers, let's get the customer databases from these guys and publish them in a "Don't Be a Dufus" educational campaign. I'd love to have the chance to let some of these people know how much I appreciate them supporting the spam industry.

Worst of all, to me, is the utter lack of critical thinking evident in the thousands upon thousands of people who keep these scumbags in business. They have the ability to purchase and operate a computer, but believe all of the bunk that they see on the screen. (Yep, our government schools are doin' a fine job.) Think of these people the next time you see a celebrity on TV urging "everyone" to go out and vote!

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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Samurai Radio for 11/02/2004

Topics: Live election day report in New London, NH; phoney election choices; rigged elections; is anyone really pro-Bush or pro-Kerry? 11 minutes.

Your hosts: Samurai Appliance Repair Man and Mrs. Samurai.

Listen to streaming audio:

Download the MP3 file of this show here (right-click and select save to download the file).

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Monday, November 01, 2004

Appliantology Newsletter for October 2004
Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 19:18 ET.  [permalink]
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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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