The ISIS Attempt at Terror

Posted on February 3, 2015. Filed under: General | Tags: , |

ISIS, which has been terrorizing the Middle East region and doing its best to cause great discomfort to the West by beheading its prisoners; took it a step further this first week of February 2015 to burn to death a Jordanian Air Force Pilot Muath al-Kasasba alive and filmed it so it could be shown on the Internet. While their leadership seems to think that this will suddenly stop the bombing by the coalition forces; all it will serve to do is bring more anger and likely solidify the resolve of those involved to hunt down and execute every single member and soldier of ISIS. ISIS seems to try to bring forth threats with relish, while hiding as much as possible. “Jihad John”, the cowardly British fellow who loves taunting us and even President Obama likely knows the noose will close quickly once his location is found.

The leadership seems enthralled at the bloodlust they are causing; but it takes little trouble to find on YouTube the videos of US Armed Forces flying Apache Gunships killing ISIS soldiers by the dozens. Given that the videos are very disturbing; I decline to post links as I prefer to keep this blog PG, though if I hear of “Jihad John” taking a bullet to the head I will gladly provide a link so others can watch that coward and mass murderer die like a pig he is. (What is that “Jihad John”? Don’t like being called an unwashed pig?) Too bad, you are one but you would not be worth being skinned; instead a good dousing with gasoline and diesel will help send you slimy remains to hell in an unmarked grave.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State formally ISIS or ISIL though I still prefer to call them ISIS will likely have to be killed along with any relatives to put an end to his heinous reign of terror. There will be few places he can hide, and there will be literally no country that would even risk trying to shield him because of his horrific actions.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has already now signed a mutual understanding of aid with the United States and has vowed revenge for the killing of his country’s pilot by being burned alive. Jordan at the time of this writing is preparing for immediate execution of all terrorist prisoners in their custody including a woman, Sajida al-Rishawi an Iraqi woman facing the death penalty in Jordan for her role in a series of bombings in 2005 that killed dozens of people at hotels in the Arab kingdom. It is likely she will be executed by Tuesday or Wednesday of February 3 or 4, 2015 as the result of the pilot’s gruesome death by being burned alive.

What will have to be done in the short term? In Iraq, the pockets of ISIS will have to be located and exterminated with extreme prejudice; as there cannot be trials to determine the guilt or innocence of ISIS members. You joined ISIS, you are pretty much going to die and oddly as many are finding out the hard way that if you do join ISIS there is no leaving them so one will die one way or the other; be it by the bombs and bullets of coalition forces or the coward “Jihad John” or his fellow unwashed pigs and fellow cowards. Meanwhile we do have some ISIS cowards in Libya which unfortunately is a bit in turmoil with no real organized resistance to them in Tripoli or Benghazi and three other smaller cities.

This will have to be dealt with in sufficient force and the members of ISIS will have to be executed and terminated with extreme prejudice to send a clear message; that violence is not the way. Ruling peacefully will get your further than will being a terror to people who have no ability to fight or defend themselves.

As for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his fellow coward jihadists, their times will come and hopefully a nice 2,000 pounder will find his head and send him to join Osama bin Laden in his bath of fire too.

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Observing and Reporting: Pieces of a Puzzle

Posted on June 27, 2013. Filed under: Blogroll, General, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

    With Ed Snowden’s release of crucial information to the public, which has now setback the Intelligence gathering community for a number of months we have to look at the how and why this was done. Intelligence gathering consists of putting the pieces of a large puzzle together. Ed Snowden who as a contractor was able to get access to information and critical files was a brainless idiot for doing it. Perhaps he perceived himself as a hero; but in truth Snowden at the time of this writing who is holed up in a Moscow Airport is nothing more than a yellow coward and traitor whose 15 minutes of fame is soon to be expiring.

    The damage aside, what was being done was focusing on certain patterns. Clearly Snowden had no business in the Intelligence Community at all. The most importing thing to remember is that if you keep it out of the news, it never happened. How many attacks were prevented is an actual guess. That is why the United States has to do what it does; so that we do not have another “NINE-ELEVEN”. I ponder if Snowden is prepared to have the blood of the next terrorist attack victims on his hands? His mindset of being a hero falls far short and as for Mr. Julian Assange who is bird-in-feather with Snowden and whose organization seems bent on releasing more information that for the moment should never see the light of day; I wonder how Ecuador would react if there was a terrorist attack on their soil and that Snowden and Assange could be implicated for being responsible for crucial information not being linked together to stop it?

    Sometimes when observing and reporting, when it is done and how the information was obtained may outweigh the privacy of citizens. Now that the argument for stricter controls on intelligence gathering is made; we are risking putting restraints on the very group of organizations involved in solving a puzzle. It could be a phone number getting an abnormally high number of calls from cell phones belonging to or linked to terrorist cells operating in the Middle East. The person could be identified, watched and monitored. Are they going to areas that could be considered a high value target? Nothing worse than having a large gathering for the 4th of July and in the middle of the grand finally while the celebrants are distracted by the colorful explosions above and the music surrounding them; they are stuck from ground level by massive and well placed suicide bombers or other means of explosive placement that would be devastating.

    I would hope that the use of outside contractors be eliminated, even if it means it may cost more to do business; one could hope a more vetted and well trained individual would be a better fit than that twit Ed Snowden. I am concerned about the men and women in uniform who depend on intelligence to give them some sense on what to prepare for and yes look for out in the field. Intelligence is tedious and even with massive computer farms the size of a Nimitz Class Aircraft carrier; it still requires a human to discern and make that match that a computer program would overlook. As the old saying goes, “Stupid stuff in can mean stupid stuff out,” of a computer system. Snowden would have never even cut it as a Security Officer or even a Police Officer and I doubt he would have passed a psychological evaluation for a Police Officer in the first place; and that I think would and should have been conducted. A normal background check for work in the Intelligence field just does not cut it.

    Information gathering can take many forms, and while Ed Snowden is now the temporary guest of “NYET” Putin, (sorry but I just cannot give Putin his due so instead of President he gets the title of “NYET”) who has decided that Ecuador can prepare the paperwork for Snowden’s eventual travel to Ecuador via Cuba we have to depend on the more riskier “Boots on Ground” option of putting operatives into areas where there is a likelihood of getting crucial information that could stop terrorist attacks. While we have lost the element of surprise and efficiency of gathering certain data; we have to hope that any operatives that were deeply embedded in a cell of a terrorist group have not been compromised. I am sure “NYET” Putin would be keen to know if he has any leakers in his inner circle so while Snowden sits in no man land of the airport entry area I wonder how the copying of the computers are going? Snowden reportedly took three laptops with him and likely had other data holding devices such as DVD or even backup drives so there is no telling exactly how many intelligence gathering operations have been compromised.

    I would make this breach the equivalent of a major company who has employee’s use laptops for convenience. What if the employee’s leave the key to the laptop dock lock in place and an unscrupulous employee takes those laptops and does a bit of industrial espionage to get information for another company that helps an opposing company make a breakthrough. In the end it would be the word of one company over another when the challenge to a patent was being made. In this case of data loss and breach of security for the United States, it is like leaving the key to your house in the door or in the ignition to the car.

    Of course while Snowden was in Hong Kong, we can only guess how much data was “borrowed” there. While many countries in the world have a dim view of the United States at the moment and laughing too; we of course know that secrets can be fleeting. If you are planning on visiting Hong Kong and may be carrying sensitive company information one should likely consider Hong Kong a place for the Chinese to siphon any information they can lay their hands on in order to succeed at the next endeavor. So be wary and cautious; since it is likely little would be done there to help you.

    The next interesting point is how the United States would respond to a major incident in any country that has allowed Snowden to pass through. The mess with the Boston Marathon Bombing and the lack of communication screwed up the observation and reporting on the two suspects in the bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev which had there been better communications and organized sharing it might not have happened. However now with the traitor, Snowden now ensconced in a Moscow Airport with the apparent approval of “NYET” Putin we have lost an important pathway for information sharing.

    Should there be a bombing in Russia with perhaps a suspect from the United States will we cooperate with any information that they will need? More than likely yes we will. Why, it is because we are Americans and will do what we can even if it is a sworn enemy. Remember to report anything out of place, or suspicious. It may result in the inconvenience of some; but in those few cases that it could be real someone’s observations can save a life.

Stephen E Sauls

Chamblee, GA USA


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The Back Check and Where’s that Murmur

Posted on February 13, 2013. Filed under: Blogroll, General | Tags: , , , , , |

Well as I look forward to finding out about how the problem with my lower back issues goes, I have an appointment for the heart murmur found during my yearly health exam back in November of 2012. The results for the back issues when it comes to being determined if they were service related all comes down to hoping the ship’s medic recorded the incident after I had fallen and made the report to him. The examining doctor stated it would be about six months before I might even hear anything. Mind you, I applied back in April of 2012. My exam was the first part of February, and I had even more X-Rays too.

Up next on the list is the murmur, and that is for February 14th, of 2013 kind of ironic it being Valentine’s Day and what not. My own mother who is 82, she too has a heart murmur the cause of which is a heart valve closing too fast. As for mine, the Doc was not sure which part of the heart it was coming from and had ordered an ultrasound shortly after the discovery it was at that point I was given an appointment to see the cardiologist. Unlike those who have great health insurance or members of Congress who if they get the sniffles; which all the stops are pulled out to make sure they don’t keel over and croak while besmirching us lowly folks in their chambers, we have to take a number.

If you got great health insurance, very low deductibles you will get the great service and you can even set the day and time for your treatment date etc. all the while we lesser folk wait for our turn patiently. Veterans have to be patient, there are a lot of us out there and with the drawdown that Congress seems to be howling about there will be even more since a lot those troops who are likely not needed will be getting out of service to find jobs and will fall under the care of the Veterans Administration which is already overloaded. Congress wants to spend, spend and spend without raising taxes all because they want to have shiny toys made in their districts.

The drone program which has been successful is itself facing cuts, since it costs a lot to keep those things flying. Maybe we can repurpose those machines and turn them into air traffic control aircraft for cities, perhaps putting some over Washington D.C. so when a member of Congress gets the sniffles; we can have it help cover the breaking news of the sniffle outbreak. Even better, give that money to the Veterans Administration so they can treat more Veterans. You have to spend a day at the local Veterans Hospital in Atlanta to understand why there is such a backlog. There is not enough staff, equipment, and space to fit the current number of Veterans who need treatment on a daily basis.

One thing the Veterans Administration is doing and that is embracing technology. I use the MYHEALTH feature on their website; the link will take you there where if you are a Veteran you can register for the site and once verified you can access your treatment records, prescription information, and upcoming appointments and even test results too. We take the appointments given when available; generally the folks are kind enough to note which days are the best for us so we don’t have to miss any work and get us into the system somehow. You got to respect the work that those men and women do, given what they have to work with. It would be nice if that wonky no action Congress would get off their ass’s and send more money to the Veterans Administration. Maybe if they had to take a number to get their sniffles looked at, say the second Tuesday in May of 2014 and their sniffles were found in February 13, 2013 they might do something. But then again Forty-Seven percent of Congress are multimillionaires, so taking away their quick service healthcare likely would not be a bother.

Another thought at helping the Veterans Administration would be to have civilian healthcare facilities help take up the slack when processing treatment needs for the Veterans. There are those that are already howling at that idea, but remember we have hospitals in many states that are several underused and who do need patients. X-Ray’s, CT SCAN’s, MRI’s could all be carried out at facilities that have the abilities to serve and yes help create jobs. Wonder how many Congresspersons would salivate over the word jobs? But then if you mention Veteran’s that drooling would stop pretty darn quick and they would walk away mumbling, “Maybe later.”

Veteran’s served the country, with no expectations of becoming famous. When you serve, you take the risks. Putting on the uniform, you expect that you can be on the receiving end of some lunatic who thinks they will get ninety-nine virgins for killing you. In reality, I think the lunatic gets one butt-ugly looking hag with the clap for his trouble. We take the bumps, bruises, scraps, broken bones, bullet wounds and concussions, and everything else that can happen with the military career and grin and bear it without thinking about a medal to show for it. One weird accident that happened to me while serving on a Navy Guided Missile Destroyer, the USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23) was while we were transferring ammunition from the aft magazine to the forward magazine.

I was carrying a 75 pound five inch shell, High Explosive, when I approached the ladder well to go below deck. Mind you that the ship IS underway and we are going through some troughs when I set foot on the top step. When I woke up, I was at the bottom still clutching the shell while fighting some guy who wanted to take it. The Weapons Officer, found me out cold and ripping the shell from my arms raced back up topside and chucked the shell overboard. My brand spanking new boondockers had “lost” their heels while I was standing on the top step and to say the least the rest was history. Embarrassing to say the least and that added to my back woes. I suspect that was the final culprit that eventually did my back in years later. It was a great ship to serve on, but damn falling down hatchways was not my favorite method of getting around ships. Shipmates on later ships wondered why I had a healthy aversion to certain types of ladders and ladder wells, and guy’s is why I hated certain ladders designs.

So yeah, Veterans no matter what branch they had served in could and did get banged up and years later we are paying for it as we age; but then there are moments that make all those things that happened to us worthwhile. A video taken at the Whitehouse before the Medal of Honor ceremony to award Clinton Romesha, a US ARMY Veteran the Medal of Honor showed his young son playing around the presidential podium. If you find it, you will understand my feelings and those of other Veterans when it comes to moments like that. Veterans have given their all, many made it back and many did not. We are still glad to have served, missing friends and family birthday’s, Christmas’s, weddings all because we chose to don the uniform knowing the dangers that are inherent with it.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Stephen E Sauls

Chamblee, Georgia USA

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The Long Road to Now

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: Blogroll, General, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

In late March of 2012, I had visited the Veterans Administration Hospital Clinic in Decatur, Georgia where my doctor after hearing my complaint about a lower back problem ordered a battery of tests and other exams at the main hospital. After X-Ray’s, MRI’s and additional X-Ray’s there was no doubt I had a mess of a problem in the lower back. My back end got mangled after a nasty and rather frightening fall aboard a US Navy Guided Missile Destroyer in 1980; that was estimated at about 22 feet. I as a young seaman had walked across the forecastle and had stepped into some liquid, which to my dismay as I later found out was diesel fuel. Some enginemen, while refueling the emergency diesel generator had spilled it but had not cleaned it up; and I stepped in it and as I entered the scuttle which is a small hatch on the top of a larger hatch ended up taking the express route to the bottom.

My butt, smacked to last two steps of the ladder at the very bottom before I slammed feet first into the deck and then bouncing into the anchor windless room of the Charles F. Adams class Guided Missile Destroyer, USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23) where I found myself face first on the steel deck pondering just what the hell had happened. A fellow shipmate found me, and helped me to sickbay where the ship’s medic gave me the once over and some aspirin and sent me back to work. So much for that treatment and I would over the years continue to endure the painful reminder of my crash landing on a steel deck that amazingly did not break any bones.

I decided after an additional visit to put in for limited disability compensation, as it was frankly becoming more and more difficult to deal with the pain. I have ended up seeing a pain doctor at the Veterans Hospital in Decatur where I am getting injections to help alleviate the pain. You have not had fun until, you get needles stuck in your spine though once the doctor who is doing the injecting gets done it will at least keep things back there down to a dull roar for the next three months. I put in for the disability in April of 2012, and finally got to see an independent examiner who in February of 2013 took more X-Ray’s, had me try to bend and flex every which way.

Bending and flexing is no longer much of an option nor is heavy lifting the order of the day either. If I have dropped something it is go to the knee’s and hopefully reach it if possible or if at home use the handy-dandy picker upper grabber which unfortunately I can’t carry around one at work so in short it can be a real pain in the back side if I drop something. Being limited now to what I can do, I have not been able to do what I love to do and that is gardening and general yard work. It is hire the local yard work folk and pay them to do it. My trusty John Deere, I have not run in nearly two years now because of the back problems as the pain from man-handling the mower which is self-propelled became too much.

As a Veteran, I am not alone with issues; as other veterans seeking to get disability payments to help with life’s general issues have to go through a long wait and see process. I was told to expect another six month wait for any decision, and there is no guarantee that I will be able to receive the payments. I will have to still endure the pain and get by as best as I can.

I am thankful I am not taking hardcore pain killers, the ones I am taking deal mainly with the nerve and joint pain that is associated with the back issues. Remember the impact that I wrote of? That same impact affected the hips too, and the right side is showing that too now that I am aging. Those that are young and get away with what they think are bruises at first; will be like me when they hit their 50’s. What was I thinking when I did something stupid like that.

    What is next for me? Well I am experiencing both numbness and locking finger joints in both hands, so there is a doctor appoint for a surgeon to examine my hands and arms. I have already had X-Rays too, so problems with my right hand that are growing I have been practicing writing with my left hand. I truly feel like I am back in kindergarten again; trying to write something legible. The results are awful to say the least. Of course as Veteran’s like me age, we face other issues too. Having a heart murmur discovered during a yearly health exam in November of 2012; I had to wait for an exam appoint in February of 2013 to see a specialist. Unlike those who may have insurance that is well off, Veteran’s like me who are now depending on the VA for help have to wait in line.

    As we go forward into the New Year, the government has to of course cut costs. Those that are in Congress are now bitching about those cuts, are the ones with pet projects in their districts. A lot of them seem to forget that Veterans are seeing less support, while the shiny and a lot of times wasteful projects that are being constructed or improved upon seem to be sucking a lot of money away from other issues that need to be addressed. I will hope to see that the wasteful projects are cancelled and the funds being wastefully spent be redirected to the Veterans Administration to help the millions of veterans that need the help. Frankly new and shiny does not always work too well and if the crap costs a Billion Dollars a copy and you want 500 of the stupid things that don’t really work too well at all, then we can send some real estate agents to the Hill and sell them boneheads some beach front property in Nevada. That is of course after we sell off California and break it off at the San Andreas Fault, and the buyer would be China of course since they likely own ninety percent of it already.

    I will keep you posted on my future adventures with the disability issues. The one thing I do want to point out is that surgery is my last option; since the area of the spine in question is the L3 and L4 with a large and nasty cist sitting in there between them. I would have to get full disability just for that option to even be considered. Not a fun thought at the moment.

Have a nice day folks and when you see a Vet, say thanks.

Stephen E Sauls

Chamblee, Georgia USA.

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2012 in review

Posted on December 30, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, General |

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Enterprising Young Men and Women Too

Posted on October 29, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, General | Tags: , , , |

In J.J. Abrahams 2009 movie Star Trek, which rebooted the franchise it gave us some hope of new adventures and some even new music that has proven to be inspiring. The following link YouTube is of what is undeniably has become the new music theme of Star Trek. If you go to YouTube and enter the search term “Enterprising Young Men” which was scored by Michael Giacchino; it will return a number of results that range from high school bands both stationary and of the marching (the marching performances are interesting) to semi-professional performances including competitions where its performance garnered the performers awards it has proven to be inspiring.

Can we the people inspire those in Washington D.C. to get their act together no matter who wins? Frankly, with divisiveness as Congress and the White House have been of late say the last four years I don’t see improvement no matter who wins, loses or gets tied. It may be that we have to start yanking the Senate and Congress members by the short hairs to get their attention. Of course, since it is an election year everyone who is running for reelection will say what we all want to hear and walk the walk; but come time to do it the winners and the sore losers will butt heads again and we just might be stuck yet again with stop gap budgets and finger pointing while the Super PACs, besides themselves will ramp up for the next election in 2016. So far the candidates have spent 2 Billion US Dollars in this election year so they can either win, lose or get into a very embarrassing tie could result in the election being settled by Congress which will leave a lot of angry voters. (Congress and Senate members should make sure their life and health insurance is paid up if that happens; because people will be angry.)

It may take some enterprising moves by people who are represented by the current incumbent’s to make them actually act accordingly. It should be all done legally and ethically with no threats of violence or harm though I am sure there will be some towing the tar trailer with a bag full of feathers to use on their respective representative if they don’t get off the soap box and do what needs to be done. Finger pointing is useless, hence I don’t want to point them at any one group or party but each party the Democratic and Republican along with the myriad of independents have not acted in the best wishes of the people they represent. An old saying comes to mind, “Divided We Fall, United We Stand” is well worth being said to those who represent us. I hope people will send an e-mail, hand written note or even a fax to say that to your representative; so that they do understand that we need to start working together because four more years of inaction will result in more failures.

There are numerous young men and women who are working to bring the divisiveness to an end, they are wanting get the communication across the aisles going again. That is what we are lacking at the moment; communication. It is for most to conceive then task at hand by both the President and Congress in getting on the same track and page. The gerrymandering, the accusations only work to divide and do nothing to solidify the goals at hand which is bringing back the jobs that is needed to help get the United States on track to prosperity that the politicians claim they can do. They claims are baseless if they fail to negotiate and come to a mutual agreement and this means not kowtowing to the numerous lobby groups that can be found on the capital grounds at one time or another.

Remember inspiration comes in many forms and no matter how it happens; one will hope that the enterprising men and women working behind the scenes will get things jumpstarted this election year. Please if you have not early voted, do so or go to the polls on Election Day and ignore the idiot talking heads on the news coverage that Election Day if they say a certain person has won. You can help decide the vote, and yank by the short hair any electoral college participant who wants to change their vote when they don’t agree with the voters.

Have a great day.

Stephen E Sauls

Chamblee, GA USA

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Politics and Fair Trade, Politicians could Learn

Posted on October 20, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, General | Tags: , , |

Fair trade in the world today is unbalanced. It comes down to consumer to be the ones to support the companies that ensure the practice takes place without political agendas or even backstabbing. In the month of October, which is designated Fair Trade Month a favorite company of mine which makes some nice coffee’s; Green Mountain Coffee teamed up musicians Grace Potter and Michael Franti to take them to Fair Trade farming communities in Columbia and Sumatra. It is from these communities that produce the Green Mountain Coffee beans that eventually find their way into bags of coffee, and the K-Cups.

In the coffee world that I have experienced, there are the blah coffees, the coffee that should have never left the roaster factory, and then there are the enjoyable ones. I have tried the Starbuck’s and honestly it is overrated, expensive and still no matter how you purchase it; in the bag, K-Cup, Pod what have you. It still has that burnt taste and is too overpriced. As a comparison, I can usually get 18 K-Cups of Green Mountain Coffee which supports Fair Trade and returns benefits to the farmers that are their suppliers by giving them fair prices, ensure that the working conditions are adequate and if not works to improve them while protecting the environment and adding in getting new roads, schools, health clinics and of course much needed safe drinking water.

I have not seen that much in support from Starbucks for such projects and frankly which I can get only 15 K-Cup’s that cost as much as $3 more even with a rare coupons, I end up selecting the Green Mountain Coffees for their prices even without coupons and their broader availability is stores. You can get both coffees in the bags, ground or bean but storing them over the long term could be an issue unlike K-Cups; which you can store on the nifty storage racks and rotate to select the particular K-Cup you would want for that day. The worst place to store coffee is in fact in the refrigerator, as with any bagged or canned product long term storage inside can result in what I call the “cold brew” by the build-up of moister inside no matter what brand. I found the bitter and burned aftertaste even stronger in the Starbuck brand of coffee over the long even with beans ungrounded it resulted in significant increase of bitterness from the build-up of moister.

Going back to Green Mountain Coffee and its support of Fair Trade, politicians could use their program as a learning tool and a way to help others who could be encouraged by such a program to offer their wares and get the fair market prices that they deserve and not undercut by profiteering and greedy companies driven by the bottom line. Balancing out trade and removing harmful tariffs could help the overall world market no matter the product that a consumer uses. When the prices balance, the profit sharing utilized properly; people can enjoy life styles of their choosing.

I am of course a coffee guy who has had the chance the experience the various styles of coffee around the world and even how they are brewed; though honestly the one place I never got to was Japan which has some rather nifty coffee brewing systems like a siphon vacuum system that would take a rather lengthy period just to describe its operation, to a stoneware brewer which uses a simplified hot water system which instead of being automated, you become the one who pours the hot water from the tea kettle.

Remember those percolators? The ones on the stove tops and yes in the camp fires of old, I still have a pair. I used one in a camper that is now long gone and the other my late father used when he fixed the coffee. I still use it from time to time and yes even in a taste test I still find that the Green Mountain Coffee is still better that the Starbucks whether it is freshly ground or already ground. I like consistent tastes and flavors, that give satisfaction and easy on the wallet. As for the vacuum coffee system, I eye balled the price for one of those fancy machines and decided that unless it was street legal and could be driven; it was really out of the budget.

Now before I go, I wanted to pass on a coupon offer for Green Mountain Coffee that includes some nifty coupons that can be found on Face Book.

The link I provided also provides more back ground on the Fair Trade Practices supported by Green Mountain Coffee and features Grace Potter as she tours several villages’ involved in this wonderful program.

Have a great day.

Stephen E Sauls

Chamblee, GA USA


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Cooperation in Game and Real Life Too

Posted on September 5, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, General | Tags: , , , , , |

When we work together, we can achieve a common goal. In the game Star Trek Online; players who work together can complete the mission at hand whether it is working towards defeating the Borg and getting that rare drop or helping out a struggling player. When Season Six launched it introduced the Fleet Starbase’s which would allow for a social hub for fleet members to meet each other, purchase items from the starbase vendors and of course participate in projects that increase the functions of the starbase itself. The projects that are part of building the starbase vary but the purpose is to help stock and provide items that can be purchased by fleet members using Fleet Credits earned by contributing to the very projects.

We have seen the effect of non-cooperation in the real world; where Congress which has yet to really give us a balanced budget because of their fear of losing their seats translates to being childish. It seems both parties are locked in to attacking each other’s candidates for the nation’s highest office while the people’s issues are ignored. When you ignore an ongoing issue say inside a game during a mission where for example one has to keep 10 probes from passing through a gate into the past; you can have mission failure. It goes back to people who are still trying to get President Barack Obama thrown off the Democratic ticket because they are so entrenched into believing that he was not born in Hawaii. The only ones benefiting at the moment in that non-issue is the lawyers who happily file the motions while charging idiots considerable sums of money; that after the repeated attempts one sitting federal judge fed up with the stupidity finally began dismissing the cases with the words “Dismissed with Extreme Prejudice” to end the filings themselves. Consider it a self-destruct button, once you press it things go kaboom and you are done for the moment; however in Star Trek Online we just respawn and have at it again.

Of course in Star Trek Online, a question arose with regards to the earned Fleet Credits that one had obtained in contributing to Fleet Projects. What if the player decided to leave a fleet that was seeing little if any activity and joined another fleet; would their credits follow? Of course they would and many who had hurriedly formed fleets in hopes of having their very own private starbase soon learned that you have to have a lot of members to get anything done. As I had forecast to members of the fleet I belong to in Star Trek Online, Caspian Division would began getting new members within a month of the Season Six rollout. The main reason we kept hearing for them joining was the shear amount of work it would take; and having been part of the small and hastily formed fleets there were little if any help from individuals who after seeing the amount of materials needed were leaving the new fleets and joining well established fleets like Caspian Division or it’s Klingon Sister Fleet, House of Caspian.

Cooperation between the Republicans and Democrats would be recommended no matter who wins the election in November of 2012. Understand that sooner or later the people who are already fed up with the do nothing behavior will seek some form of action that will get notice from congress as a whole; because there is a problem that I have with people who make a promise that certain things will happen. Romney would do well to say I will “TRY” to create 12 million new jobs over promising that he WILL give the United States 12 million new jobs. As for cooperation with other countries, who like us are sharing in the pain of having no jobs; no matter who is president it will take cooperation with other world leaders as well. Great Britain too has high unemployment, Spain, Portugal, Greece, France (which has one of the weirdest employment systems in the world) too as is China which is now showing signs of a slowdown will impact other countries just as the United States has. Other Asian countries, Japan, Korea, Thailand (which suffered a major setback last year due to flooding) they all are struggling to stay in step and give jobs to their own people. It is after all a vicious circle for all of us.

Cooperation and lending a helping hand goes a long way whether in game or real world. In Star Trek Online, I had created a new character (this one makes number eleven) and I was cruising about in the game when I noted on the in-game chat that someone needed help with a mission. It did not matter if they were in another fleet or not; as I responded and teaming up with them helped out to complete a patrol mission in the Federation starting sector. That cooperation with that player helped them decided to join the Caspian Division Fleet. Republican or Democrat, it matters not. Lending a hand and cooperating to complete a goal is what we all need to do.

As for January, can we expect more of the same uncooperation from congress over the budget and other actions or more infighting? I would like to see cooperation, if not the voter needs to pigeon hole their respective representative and I mean in their face too! Of course write, flood their fax machines and blow up their e-mail; make your voices heard. If you are going to have to vote for a new representative of congress or the senate choose wisely. Just about the only way to get an entrenched member of congress to leave is either vote them out or they get reelected until they end up being carried out on a stretcher or wheeled out in a wheel chair drooling all over themselves while still trying to vote for their “paid” interests.

Cooperation means work and jobs; no cooperation means nothing will still get done.

Have a nice day.

Stephen E Sauls

Chamblee, GA USA

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The Treatment the Participation and Goal

Posted on August 25, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, General, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

It is frustrating for many US Military Veterans, when seeking treatment that it can take months to get into a specific treatment program. I have no insurance, so I depend on the Veterans Administration like so many other Vets. It still amazes me to see congress haggle over the latest and greatest military gear that in the end; costs a billion dollars a copy and ignore the needs of the men and women who have been in the military.

In Decatur, Georgia where the main VA Hospital is located you can bank on not finding a parking space after 9 AM; as the overcrowded hospital deals with around 5,000 to 10,000 vets PER DAY. Your appointments when you can get them are sometimes months apart that lead to frustrated Vets and families. Currently I am dealing with a deteriorated spine and a hip that is painful and is slowing me down. I love to work, and my job requires a lot of walking and thankfully my employer allows me to use a cane to get around.

Part of the issue of overcrowding is the lack of facilities; and Georgia is not alone in this. Recently the VA celebrated the opening of another treatment facility in Carroll County Georgia near the Alabama line. It is hoped that it will ease the crowding and the long trips to Decatur, Georgia coming from that part of the state.

Still we need congress to participate more in getting treatment for the Veterans. It matters not who the president is, when the call goes out to deploy troops to hotspots it is carried out; but again little forethought is given to the treatment of the wounded troops who are introduced to overcrowding in VA Hospitals when they are discharged from active duty. Congress, both Republican Party and Democratic Party members have to get off their ASS’s. It is that just plain and simple. Put aside the politics and start working together, even if it means alienating the cash cows in the form of lobbyists’ and big business. Call your congress person, senator person and have him, her or it (sometimes one will ponder if their representative is even human) and to look at increasing the number of treatment facilities for the troops that have served; and those that have yet to serve and will need the treatment and help once when they get home.

Now onto other matters; I play Star Trek Online and generally have a lot of fun. Participation is a must in a fleet and with the recent rollout of Season Six where Starbase’s were introduced as a social hub for Fleet Members. Prior to the rollout, players were scrambling to “form” their own fleets in hopes of getting a starbase of their own. As I had theorized with my Fleet Members in Caspian Division ( those players faced with the huge amount of material needed to even complete their base have been dissolving their fleet and joining larger and more established fleets. Crucial to any fleet in Star Trek Online is the participation of its members. There are some items in game that require the player to do missions to acquire these items.

Basically the goal of the fleet is to contribute to the projects when then add certain features to the starbase; whether it is the virtual bar and grill or the Fleet Bank and Personal Bank. One also contributes to projects that will add specialized items such as Fleet Weapons, Shields and Engines to specialized ground weapons. In the end the goal is to maintain the supplies of the fleet so that players can participate in the more sophisticated missions that are in the game.

Remember to reach a goal working together is crucial and whether it is in the real world or the virtual it takes participation.

Have a great day!

Stephen E Sauls

Chamblee, GA USA

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The Star Trek Online Experience and Future Changes

Posted on June 26, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, General | Tags: , , , |

As Perfect World Entertainment absorbs STAR TREK ONLINE from Cryptic Studio’s, it has not been without some really bad hiccups in the process. A big hiccup was the ease of linking the user’s current Cryptic Account to a Perfect World Account; which caused severe problems when Cryptic account holders of STAR TREK Online could not access the forums. Not helping matters were Perfect World Entertainment members deriding the complaints, unaware of just horrific things were beginning to get. It was not until nearly five days later that there was some attempt at a FAQ or Frequently Asked Question Panel put into place.

The FAQ page that was displayed, was not clearly laid out in a manner that made things easy to find for the Cryptic Account holders; resulting in more teeth grinding. It was not until a member of the Star Trek Fleet that I belong to, (CASPIAN DIVISION) that she and other fleet members were finally able to make headway. Please note that the following link is ONLY for Cryptic Studios Account Holders of STAR TREK ONLINE, and should not be used by current account holders of Perfect World Entertainment that have STAR TREK ONLINE Accounts that are considered Free to Play or (F2P). Use to link ANY Cryptic Studios Account to Perfect World Entertainment which is also includes CHAMPIONS ONLINE.

As STAR TREK ONLINE or STO begins the next big change of including Fleet Starbase’s there will be challenges for the players. The Starbase’s will require a group effort; one person perhaps with the idea of building his or her own base will find out quickly they will need a lot of help or seek out an established fleet with both a large member base, a lot of materials and good organization. Besides the materials and utilizing the Duty Officer System which will be required to “man” the base and have colonists to send out into the dark deep regions of space; the Fleet will have to take part in events to earn MARKS, a form of currency that will also earn the players Fleet Credits to spend as well.

I expect that during the week of either the 25th of June or the first week of July that the launch of Season Six may very well take place, so players of STAR TREK ONLINE are prepared stay glued to the forums of the game to keep updated on the next major group of disaster changes.

Next let’s address the issue of lack of planning for the changeover of accounts. There is still considerable turmoil as of late, and the way this was handled would likely prove to be a case study in business collages; on what NOT to do. There are rumors at the time that I wrote this blog that Perfect World is under pressure to perform better in terms of earnings. What was done is not the way to keep customers who do pay for stuff and the long time player base stable who in turn work to bring their friends into the game. You can advertise all you want, hype the new feature or I should say bugfeature and still not get or keep the current customer base.

I also expect the CBS Entertainment which licenses STAR TREK ONLINE is also watching what Perfect World Entertainment does, and has I suspect will if it comes down to it; yank the rug out from under PWE and shut down the game. They will want to protect the franchise and will not want further poorly planned events from screwing up what is in fact their customer base too.

This is for Perfect World Entertainment.

Get someone with organizational skills who has experience in setting up, planning and executing crucial events that when carried out do affect large numbers of people of all ages. Seek experienced players who have been observed giving helpful advice in forums and other venues on changes that may sound great and given thumbs up by the Entertainment Company that holds the rights to the game; maybe in reality a poorly designed creation or has been planned poorly.

Stop using the “YES” men and women. Someone needs to say “NO”, and be able to do that. I think Perfect World Entertainment has too many “YES” men and women. Get reorganized!

Enough said.

I am Stephen E Sauls

Also known as @BALLERMARIS of STAR TREK ONLINE and Life Time Member and long life Trekkie.

Chamblee, GA USA


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