Saturday, January 31, 2015

You "Right for Lifer's" just don't care about your cause enough....


Last week I posted a photo and article regarding the low and even non existent coverage of the recent “March for Life” walk in Washington D.C. With over 200,000 people attending. This article showed that many of the mainstream media outlets such as ABC, CBS, CNN, etc disregarded the march altogether

I have a ongoing conversation via email with a co-worker who says there was no or little coverage because the “Right for Lifers” do not care about their cause enough so they do not get the coverage in the mainstream media.

“They got about as much coverage as they deserved. It was a peaceful rally. They filed their permits and went home. They didn't care enough to engage in civil disobedience. I don't think they care enough to generate the press they want. They also don't have the numbers”...

This is what I get when I work with younger 20 to 30 year old's and several “Progressives”...

At times in the company board on the computer we have an area where political issue are discussed and it's about a 3 to 1 ratio “Progressives” to “Conservatives” so needless to say there are many times where you are discussing a issue that the other person got their information and viewpoint from the Comedy Channel via Jon Stewart. Frustrating at times but I was once reminded by a 24 year old co-worker who I was debating a 9-11 issue with that he was 10 years old when it happened.

Here I am old enough so at the time of 9-11 I had the knowledge of history and knowledge of the attack on Pearl Harbor to compare this attack to. In comparison my co-worker had the history and knowledge of the Teenage mutant turtles......

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Catherine Furnace and the Library.....











Took a ride over to the Shenandoah Library, which is only open 3 days out of the week and have missed it several times, to do some research on the Shenandoah River and Iron production during the 1800's. Was not able to locate a book that was listed in the online catalog and which only this branch of the library system has a copy. The librarian said "oh we have that but it's not kept on the shelf it's in a special place". She then proceeded over to her desk where the desired book is kept in a cardboard box under the desk (High security).


   
The book was well worth the wait and was full of some great information concerning the Catherine Furnace that I just visited a few weeks back and history of transporting Pig Iron down the Shenandoah River to Harpers Ferry.




One of the more interesting things found was when it came time to leave the Librarian asked if I had seen the model of the Catherine Furnace that was in the library. It turns out several years back a relative of somebody who actually worked the furnace back in the 1800's made this model and it shows the layout of the site in detail.



All that remains now is the actual furnace structure as well as several stone walls that supported the roadways and other foundations. Above is a photo that includes Red lines that I drew in to show the span between the top of the furnace to the Wall\roadway nearby. The Iron ore would be dumped into the top of the furnace along with the charcoal and limestone. Along the nearby water stream would be a large water wheel that powered a large air-bellow that fed forced air into the furnace to get the heat needed to melt down the ore. This Iron would run out the bottom of the furnace into troughs and into individual bars called "Pig Iron". 


This photo of the model shows in detail what the ramp would have looked like and puts the whole project in perspective. There are many foundations and stone walls in the area and a return trip is planned for some looking around time.....






*There is a local legend that the handprint that can be seen in one of the iron support arches above one of the furnace openings (you must look up while standing under it) is Noah Foltz's handprint; he having been forced to put his hand, along with a rat's tail to show his betrayal to the Confederacy, before the iron cooled.


.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Free Two Years of Community College "Bone"....


This past week President Obama came out with his newest idea of giving away two years of free community college to any “responsible” student. Interesting how he announced this prize idea on Facebook as compared to going in front of the mainstream media who might actually come up with a coherent, well thought out question, (Who pays?) but I will get to that in a bit. I think Rush might have hit it when he said that Obama is throwing this “bone” to his simple minded (economics) base because many do not know or understand, the hit they are about to take at “Tax Refund” time…

Rush predicts that many who took advantage of the subsidy money they took to buy into the “Obama-Care” program do not understand that is “taxable” income and will affect their tax-returns. Again, many of the simple minded (economics) base that Obama counts on, look forward to a large tax-return as a “bonus” when in fact all year long they paid too much taxes and the government is simply returning the overage without interest. The expected “bonus” tax return might just be greatly reduced or eliminated this year because of “Obama-Care”. Makes sense why Obama announced this “bone” via Facebook video and post…

Fact is much of “community college” is already financed by the government in forms such as “Pell grants” and other programs and are obviously counted on by these colleges. I recall when I lived in the Florida Keys and decided to take some marine biology courses since I was working on a sportfishing charter boat for a living. I had no intentions of becoming a “marine biologist” but took the courses to increase my knowledge in the area I worked in. I went in to register for my first introductory course at the registration office and when it came time to pay I pulled out cash to complete the transaction. The woman behind the counter looked at me with a funny look and asked if I was really paying with cash. She then said she had to find the cash box to make change and this took several minutes and help from another worker to locate the box. They then had to go into their own purses to make change for me to complete the transaction. She then asked me why I was not using the Pell grant program, which I could have since 80% of my income was cash and could easily be hidden, but I said I was paying straight out. Guess what happened when I went to the bookstore to buy my textbooks and paid with cash?....

Unfortunately many expect and take advantage of government programs to “do for them that which they could, and should do for themselves”…  Obama will once again take advantage of this…..







.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"We" are John Galt.....


This past Tuesday night I had the opportunity to listen in to a small scale radio talkshow coming out of New Jersey where one of the three members making up “On-Fire Radio Network” and I have a mutual friend. This is the third time I have listened in and this two hour show (8:30-10:30) felt like maybe 45 minutes for the topic and discussion was right on with what is going on with our country right now.

   On Fire Show:    http://hamiltonradio.net/index.php/component/content/article?id=334

Topic was “Who is John Galt” and the Atlas Shrugged book & movie. Discussion went several different directions for each of the host members, and numerous chat room participants, each described how the govt control has and continues to control all of our lives. It was interesting for some had never read the book, one read it many years ago, some had and had not seen the movie, but everybody had an example of how the “John Galt” theory effects us all.

I myself was one of those commenting in the Chat room and when not directly discussing with those on the radio show via chat comments, had an ongoing discussion in the chat room. 

Personally I have seen the “Atlas Shrugged” theory applied many times over the years and even regionally in Virginia vs. New Jersey vs. Key West. I have a friend in New Jersey who took a large part of his retirement fund to start his own Turf business only to battle a State government looking to restrict and regulate him at every turn while he tries to build a business, employ people, and build a service to his customers. In fact the NJ government was nice enough to even audit his tax return after only one year of operation. Then there is the friend who is a charter Sportfishing boat owner\Captain in the Florida Keys who has to deal with regulatory and restrictive environmental policies that are not always based on realistic data but instead “feel good” environmental agendas…

Both of these friends are risking their capital to create business and services to improve their lots in life and to benefit their families. Instead of being encouraged  and supported by their government they are questioned and regulated, and if they are a success they can count on a “progressive” tax structure that will take an ever increasing share of their profits…

As in the Atlas Shrugged book and movie, the overall objective is for the government to step in and make it “fair for all” involved which would indeed be nice if everybody contributed the same. The fact is not everybody contributes the same weather it’s because of their ability or their ambition to risk and succeed. But is it the position of the government to regulate and restrict those who strive & succeed to make it “fair for all” or as our President says “You didn’t build that”?...

We have all seen this form of “fairness for all” over the years and especially by the current President, his administration, and the democrat party.  “ObamaCare” and the increased growth of enhanced entitlement programs, has resulted in a very large increase in the number of citizens, and non-citizens, now more dependent on the government to “provide for them that they should provide for themselves”. Our politicians have learned that votes, and power, can be bought with many of these programs.

I do not own a company but work for a large corporation for the last ten years where I have seen the incentives and individual rewards for the striving employee diminish in favor for a “fair for all” bonus plan. In the past a person who applied themselves and strived to do more business, as well as better customer service, could influence their paycheck. Now we have a bonus structure where the entire employee staff benefits, or suffers as one no matter what the individual contribution is.

But what happens if, like in Atlas Shrugged, those who produce and see their efforts and profits confiscated for the benefit of all to make it “fair for all”? What happens when the guy with the Turf company decides it’s not worth the returns to risk his savings and existing business to grow the business and hire more people? What happens when the sportfishing Captain\owner does not see the benefit in adding another boat and crew to his fleet? What happens when the “one of many” corporate employee decides it’s not worth the effort to take on extra work and responsibility?

What happens when those who risk, strive, and produce disappear from the picture?

“Who is John Galt”?.....




Listen to the show. It's on Tuesday nights at 8:30 to 10:30 and join in to the Chat-room...

Hamilton Radio at: http://hamiltonradio.net/index.php/component/content/article?id=334


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Florida Keys Extension Railroad "Dogbone" Artifact.....


Back during the 1990's I was contacted by Dan Gallagher who was with the Pigeon Key Foundation in the Florida Keys regarding some old bottles that had been found around Pigeon Key. I took a ride up to the Key and spoke with Gallagher who showed me several cases of bottles collected and had a nice visit of the museum. Gallagher was a very interesting man to talk to and had much info on the Seven Mile bridge that ran over Pigeon Key as well as the Florida Keys Extension Railroad that ran from Miami to Key West. The 128 mile railroad was built back in 1905 to 1916 by Henry Flagler and linked the mainland to the Keys and Key West...


During my visits with Gallagher at Pigeon Key he advised me to keep and eye out for small cement artifacts that looked like "Dogbones" that were used to test the strength of the concrete used in the construction of the bridges. At that time Gallagher did not have any examples of this artifact for the museum and could only describe them to me... 


Since that time Gallagher has written several books on the construction of the railroad and the work camps that housed the workers. Above is a page from his book showing the "Dogbone" artifacts with description. 


During this recent trip to the Keys I had the opportunity to dive the area again looking for old bottles known in the area. On my first dive I descended directly on two of these "Dogbones" sitting in the sand. I had hoped to find a few broken pieces for my collection and was happy to find a total of three intact specimens...


Specimens that have been submerged in saltwater over long periods of time must be soaked in freshwater for extended periods to leach out the salts. If not many artifacts like porous cement will deteriorate once exposed to air. Here are some of the artifacts soaking in a dish where the freshwater is easily changed daily. Both specimens are covered with marine growth and have been soaking for weeks at time of this photo...


I took one of the artifacts and cleaned it down to the bare cement to show the exact shape of the "Dogbone". This specimen will be allowed to dry out completely and then will be sealed in polyurethane for protection...


Research found that this type of testing is still in use and is used to determine the "Tensile" strength of the cement used in the concrete for projects. I found this photo of testing equipment recently...


Now that we have pinpointed a very productive site for these artifacts I hope to get back down to the Keys soon to continue the "Hunt"....





.