Tuesday, October 29, 2013


One of my smarter liberal friends brought up this really good question, and it also came up at my IT dinner tonight: If NASA can do massive, incredible projects with multiple contractors, why is it so hard to get the ACA website working?

Me: I'm glad you asked. You do know that you can go to the Amazon.com website, and look to see everything you ordered 4 years ago, with hardly a delay? Well, try to do that at IRS.gov today- do a simple inquiry about the how much in taxes you paid 4 years ago.

Let me break it to you gently: you can't. Even though you might think that such capability would be obvious by now, it's simply not there. Try digging up if you are a naturalized citizen, or when you became a citizen, at the national immigration service website. Look to see how much is set aside for you at the social security website, and what your expected income will be. How much money has been collected for your Medicare account. To be sure, the data is actually there, at all these agencies; it's just not available at a moment's notice, nor is there an effective interface to retrieve it.

Now, healthcare.gov is supposed to be able to access ALL this information, from at least a dozen Federal agencies, and then combine that information with data provided by the states (eligibility pools, state mandates), and THEN with the insurance data entered by the individual companies - for EACH state(!). All this must be done in near-real-time. The fact is, our core systems are so antiquated, behind the times, with poor, silo-ed interfaces that make collection, reconciliation and presentation of this data virtually impossible.

This is just a massive undertaking, which failed outright because of the hubris of people who thought, "isn't it JUST bringing all this data together?" without thinking through what all was involved. To just START to be able to achieve the goal of Obamacare, these core systems need to be cleaned up and made available to the public in a manner that can THEN provide accurate data for insurance pricing, not to mention the ultimate collection of your medical records. Maybe the systems will be better integrated in 10 years. It definitely won't be ready by Jan 1, 2014.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Yesterday, Hillary Clinton essentially fell on her sword to take the blame for the poor security and failures leading up to the Benghazi attack. In an interview with CNN, she insisted that insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions.

As I commented on a friend's Facebook post earlier today, it is conceivable that this entire episode is being setup as a "Rope-A-Dope" strategy. Hillary comes out, accepts responsibility with the statement that the VP and Prez have not been involved in security issues. Well, back in April, a bomb had already been lobbed at the embassy. If the President had been involved in the Intel briefings, LIKE HE SHOULD HAVE, he should have been kept actively informed of security efforts there, since that event. That is my predicted line that will be presented at the debate tonight, either by Romney or one of the questioners.

Here is where the "Rope-A-Dope" strategy clicks in - after getting what should appear like a tough question, Obama can then step up and say something like, "yes, I know Ms. Clinton has accepted responsibility. And it's clear that as a State Department issue, she has a role in the matter. But the buck stops with me, and I do take responsibility. I am shocked, saddened (blah blah blah) at the entire episode. Mistakes have been made, and I will do all I can do identify and correct them."

It will all sound so powerful and presidential, and the press will fawn all over it. And if it happens, I guarantee that Hillary set this up, because Obama is not politically savvy enough to come up with it himself, let alone have the humility to play it that way. However, Hillary is more than savvy enough to play this simple Jedi mind trick.

If I'm right, you'll see me high-five-ing myself all over the place. We'll see. It's interesting to note that while walking to a debate prep session, reporters shouted out if he thought Hillary was to blame for Benghazi, and Obama didn't answer.

We'll see tonight.

Thursday, September 06, 2012


I watched bits and pieces of the events on Wednesday evening.  The most amazing part was the amendment vote to restore “God-given potential” into the Democratic platform, and establish that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.  After some contentious procedures to get a reliable vote, it passed the convention assembly by voice vote, but the boos from amendment opponents were loud and clear. 

Republicans, including Mitt Romney, were quick to jump on the chaos surrounding the controversy.  Reports began to come out that Obama had no problem with the “God-less” language, but then acted swiftly to put everything back when Republicans began to make the issue a major talking point. 

To add to the fracas, the DNC played a “Welcome to Charlotte” greeting from the host committee, which included the line, “Government is the only thing we all belong to.” I suppose that would play really well in China, but in America, it’s the other way around:  Here the Government belongs to US.

The big question of the evening seemed to be the one the Obama Administration has been most afraid to address:  Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?  And Bill Clinton appeared at the podium tonight to answer that question, goading the convention hall to respond with a resounding “YES!!!!”  I suppose the answer is yes if you are a government employee who has managed to get a nice pay raise, but for the worker bees like Yours Truly, I can definitely say NO.  And I’m pretty sure there are at least 23 million people out there who would agree with me. 

Clinton was clearly the best speaker of the evening, and he started on an upbeat, bi-partisan vein.  He stressed the need for Democrats and Republicans to work together for solutions.  Totally agree, and consider it the hallmark of this speech. But it went downhill from there.  For someone seeking bipartisanship, you don’t start trashing the other guys, especially when you television audience (not the party faithful in the convention hall) are not completely decided about who to vote for in November.  He threw out barbs left and right at the Republicans, particularly at Ryan and Romney, and left little ground to draw some form of line in the sand to establish consensus.  It was clearly a lot of red meat for the party faithful, and they ate it up eagerly. 

Clinton’s speech was full of statistics and numbers, and frankly, I couldn't take notes and keep up with it all.  All I can think about is the old saw, “80% of statistics are completely made up, including this one.”  I’ll leave to the fact checkers to figure out what was true and what wasn’t in the morning, but to see Clinton act so wonkish was a bit strange.

He took special care to single out the ‘fiction’ of the $716 billion cut from Medicare, trying to explain that money cut from Medicare actually meant that Obama strengthened it.  Not buying it, and even liberal pundits have verified that one.  He then cited the efforts of the Simpson-Bowles commission to cut government spending, though Obama has yet to take any of the suggestions from the commission forward.  Clinton also played the race-baiting game, knocking voter ID as a Republican tool to prevent minorities from voting.  But as I noted on Facebook, every idiot in that hall needed an ID to get in; yet Clinton insists that asking for an ID to vote is oppressive.

Guess I should wrap this up.   I think I’m going to need a lot of energy to tune in Thursday night.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Now the Republican National Convention is over, and WOW.  Great run and finish by all of the major players, and it was very impressive.  The surprise speech by Clint Eastwood nailed all that is wrong with our current administration today, and Mitt Romney did a good job of bringing it home. 

I admit it, I was underwhelemed with Romney.  I knew he was a governor of Massachusetts, and has pushed "Romneycare" there, but didn't think he had true conservative credentials.  I have been looking for a candidate who knows that our country, and our economy are in seriously awful shape.  Now that facts are coming out about Romney, facts that make me wonder, "why haven't I heard about this before?"

The most striking story was the one about the missing girl in New York City.  Back in 1996, the poor father, a partner at Bain Capital allowed his daughter to attend a party in NYC.  And she just disappeared. 

Romney didn't have to do anything.  A good boss would have said, "go find your daughter, don't worry about your place here."  Romney did more than that.  A LOT more.  He shut down the office.  He flew dozens of employees from Bain Capital into New York, and set up a command post there.  He hired private detectives.  They set up a hot line for tips. He called Bain partner companies, like the accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, who went to action putting up posters and getting involved in the search. Bain employees were literally stopping people on the street and asking if they recognized the girl. 

The story reached regional attention, and someone called into the tip line, asked if there was a reward, then abruptly hung up.  Police traced the call to a house in New Jersey, where they found the girl shivering in the basement and suffering from an Ecstasy overdose.

Now this is impressive, but this was not an isolated incident.  Romney has participated in a many, many acts of charity and goodwill, and most of these stories have been kept quiet, understating his humility and compassion.

Meanwhile, the Mainstream Media sneer and go on about how "greedy" Romney was at Bain Capital.  This story just blows that narrative away.

I know about Bain Capital, because I worked at one of their client companies where Bain was involved. Of course, I didn't know Mitt Romney and was never directly involved with the Bain  management team but I was helping to implement their solution (quite successfully, I might add). 

The fact is, if Bain Capital happened to walk into the door of your business, your business was already in trouble, perhaps about to fail.  The worst case, either way, was that you were going to lose your job and pension.  For businesses like Sealy, Staples, Domino's Pizza and Steel Dynamics, under Bain's leadership those businesses thrived and grew. 

Now, I can go on all day about Bain Capital, talking how the business works and what it means to the rank-and-file of an impacted company.  But right now, I want to contrast Mitt Romney with our incumbent president, Barack Obama.

Obama has no human interest stories to share, nothing that indicates where he stepped to help anyone.  Not even with his own family.  Just a week ago, author Dinesh D'Souza was approached by Obama's brother George, who needed $1000 for medical bills.  Apparently the President of the USA was too busy to be bothered.  In fact, George can't even get a visa to visit the US. Obama has family members living in literally 3rd World Poverty levels, yet he won't lift a finger to help them.

Meanwhile, there is the time when Romney delivered Christmas gifts to two sons severely injured in an auto accident which left them crippled.  In addition, he paid for their college educations and participated in fundraisers on their behalf.

There are other stories.  The difference is clear, and it makes me more certain than ever on which level to pull in November.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

As you can tell, it's been almost 3 years since my last post. I've been busy! In the last three years, I have expanded my consulting business, worked on projects in Japan and Europe(!) and got a little more involved in Facebook than I probably have time for.

Meanwhile, a lot has happened in the political front. In spite of my reluctantly hopeful assessment of President Obama, things have definitely gone downhill. GW Bush's $100 billion stimulus didn't do anything measurable for the economy, so Obama shoved out another $800 billion. And things still got worse. Well, Keynesian methods of "priming the pump" are now officially disproved, although there are a few folks out there that believe that it's only because we still didn't spend enough money.

Anyway, more to say but it's late and I still (thankfully) have a project. Later, all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

From June 2008:
"I can think of no better reason to vote against Obama than the prospect of an administration where any criticism of the President is treated as racism."

Sunday, June 07, 2009

"US Loses Most Jobs At Fastest Rate in History Under Obama"

Link here. The graphs are actually...terrifying.

I generally kept quiet because I didn't know how much to blame Bush for our current economic mess, but it's now obvious that the "stimulus" package is an economy-killer.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Woman sues Cap'N Crunch cereal because "Crunchberries" aren't real berries.

Fortunately, logic prevailed, and she lost.

Link contains funny comments about the story.

UDPATE: More on Grape-Nuts here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I have a Twitter account, which apparently a LOT of people swear by as the "next big thing." I approached it with a more jaundiced eye. Anybody can check it out at http://twitter.com/halscrawford, but don't expect any more insights than I would put out here - at least not yet.

One wag I read about said "it's a great chat utility." Oh, really? I guess so, but it's a chat session that unless you mark your account private, and KEEP IT private, anybody can it check out. Forever. Those suckers just don't have an erase button.

So, Twitter is a brick wall that you can spray-paint your musings for anyone to see - except unlike that brick wall, there's a permanent pointer going right back to you. One poster, apparently a grad student, posted this message for all to see:
Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.
Now, as an email sent to your friends, this message is quite innocuous. However, as a Twitter post, well, it was more than a little careless. Cisco employees, who like to do Twitter searches on the word "Cisco" to see what's going down, weren't so amused. The Twitterer got a reply:
Who is the hiring manager. I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.
Ouch. Apparently the offer was rescinded. The Twitterer tried to do some damage control by backpedaling on her website, but the damage was done.

I don't do a lot of posting to my own blog - it comes in fits and starts, but I'm not blessed with a lot of spare time. But I love to write and like to put my thoughts on the Internet. I'm a consultant, and I do a lot of traveling. It's not hard for people to go through my website, my blog, and my Flickr account to see where I've been. But I generally don't talk about my clients, out of respect for them. You saw my post about Des Moines yesterday; it was a generally upbeat piece. I don't want to trash the places where I work, unless I have a really good reason. (Dayton, Ohio might be the lone exception.) But it is amazing how people can get offended by the smallest slight.

The only real fear right now is that I also like to talk about politics. I make no secret that I lean conservative, and in the age of Obama that may be a dangerous thing. It's been hard to find work in this economy. And while the clients I work for tend to share my political leanings, that doesn't mean they can sit back and let me go on a right-wing rant. Banks can be a potential client, and if I happen to land a project with a bank that has received "stimulus" money from the Obama Administration, there might be some understandable reluctance from my client to let me go on a tear about stimulus packages. Do I bite the hand that feeds the hand that feeds me? It's a tough call all around.

Well, I'm not working for a stimulus package recipient, but it is sad that one has to think of these things in a free society.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tonight I’m at Java Joe’s, a coffee bar located in downtown Des Moines, where my current assignment is. This is Irish Music Tuesday, and several musicians are playing Irish reels and other selections.

Today at lunchtime I got my shoes shined. As I sat down, I asked him how he was doing, and he said, “Well, I have to tell you. I’m doing great for a man of 95.” I was amazed – first because I wouldn’t think he was older than 75 or so, and second that he was still working at his age. But he did a great job on my shoes. He started shining shoes at the age of 18, and charged 10 cents back then (he charged me $7.00 today). I remarked that you couldn’t buy anything for 10 cents anymore, and together we listed things that used to: candy bars, phone calls. He had lived in Des Moines since 1938, and done nothing but shine shoes all these years.

This is my second visit to Des Moines – but my first visit was in the early nineties, when I was visiting Meredith Corporation. I really didn’t recognize the town. You can walk all over downtown without ever getting hot, cold or wet, because there are a series of skywalks that move through most of the buildings downtown. It’s three blocks to my client, and all covered by skywalks.

It's not Florida, but it's certainly pleasant enough.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Surprising no one.

Don't let the Republican door hit you on the way out, senator.

Will the Democrats sing "Consider Yourself," like they did to Jim Jeffords? (gee, where is HE now?)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bill Whittle has an excellent analysis of the media bias rampant today.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Man goes berserk, and kills 4 police officers before he goes down.

A candlelight vigil has been held.....

...for the cop killer.

The world is a little bit crazier.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Speaking of the news, newspapers have been on the skids for years now. Part of the problem has been the decline of quality, accuracy and fairness that newspapers are supposed to uphold.

But with the rise of the Internet, and the means of getting your news for virtually free, the old standby sources of information have had to struggle as readers depart for other pastures.

It’s nice to have a newspaper to read on a bus or plane, but more people than ever have iPods, laptops, and Blackberrys that can access the news no matter where you are.

Now, there’s talk of a -- wait for it – bailout for newspapers! Please please please, no. Where were the government bailouts for buggy whips and trolleys? Who misses those things, today? Politics aside, I can halfway understand throwing a few bucks at the auto industry – the automobile is not going away anytime soon, and transportation is an important component of our economy. But newspapers?

Let’s look at the Gray Lady: The New York Times. They’re over a billion dollars in debt. They’re going to mortgage their own building just to keep afloat (fat lot that’s gonna get them, in today’s real estate market). But the editorial staff is a shambles. They’ve been the source of flawed coverage of critical stories for years. They’re practically the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party. They’re the Air America of print news. And surprise! Not everybody wants to read about the glories of the Democratic Party every day, or how Republicans are always screwing up the country, or how nobody can find WMDs in Iraq (even though some articles in their own paper say there are).

Why would I want to ever support throwing government money at newspapers? Isn’t the media supposed to be the “fourth branch” of government? Aren’t they supposed to be government watchdogs? If we give them money, will they be fair and balanced – like NPR?

If the silly notion of giving bailout money to newspapers takes root, I’m writing my congressman and senators. Sigh. Again.
Patterico has a summary of all of the reviews he has done of the LA Times. What an ugly mess.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

And goodbye to 2008. Not a terrible year, but certainly plenty of ups and downs. 2008 was my first full year as an independent LLC consultant. And business hasn't been bad. The economy looks very daunting for 2009, and I hope things go well this year as well. I've got one daughter in college, you know; and having to save for the second one as well.

And I have a lot of friends who are looking for work (if you know of any openings for mainframe operations gurus, or BI-ETL consultants, email me). And I see no real evidence that the economy is going to pop back up anytime soon. We have a new President coming into office in a few weeks, and while he's not from my preferred party, he seems to be making sensible Cabinet selections, so there may be hope for us, yet.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

You can get your Festivus Pole here.

Instapundit: "Ah, there’s nothing like seeing the little kids’ eyes light up when you bring one of these beauties into the living room. . . ."

Yeah, I didn't know what Festivus was, either, until I clicked here. And here. Oh, and here.

Monday, December 01, 2008

This site lists ships that are anywhere in the world, where they're going, plus lots of other cool information. They are ships equipped with AIS (Automatic Identification System), and they are used for collision avoidance and emergency locating.

There is a downside - pirates out of Somalia are also using the system to pinpoint their targets, using the same technology. Hanging is too good for some people.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time Magazine is just gone gone. Here are the first words of reporter Nancy Gibbs defining the Obama Victory:
Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope.
Other Democratic spokesmen have talked about how Obama will 'rule' the United States.

Banana Republic, here we come.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I don't need Barack Obama's help to "spread the wealth around." I spread my wealth around every time I hire somebody, expand my business, or just go to the general store and buy a quart of milk and loaf of bread.
Note that he's talking about spreading the wealth to people who earn it. Read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I never liked the colors of my blog, and it was time to freshen it up. Also, I now have ads! Please check them out from time to time, and if you're interested in what you see, please click on them!

Maybe this will get me to post more often.

And no, no comments allowed (yet). I just don't have the time to keep up with them, and I'm easily baited into comment 'debates'. In the meantime, if you want to comment, just send me an email.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Well, surprising no one, Barack Obama is our President Elect. Congratulations to him and best of luck to his administration. He will be inheriting a struggling economy, and a rising tide of Islamo-fascist terrorism in the Middle East and Europe. With 51% of the vote, he doesn’t have a mandate. But he’ll have a compliant Congress ready to do his bidding.

I’m not happy about some of the way he handled his campaign. There are clearly fund-raising and get-out-the-vote irregularities that really need to be investigated, but they won’t. I’m pretty convinced that Ohio was stolen. But other states weren’t, and McCain didn’t do what was necessary to get his message out to the voters.

Without question, Obama will be the most politically liberal man ever to occupy the White House. He will certainly allow the Bush tax cuts to lapse, which in combination with his redistribution agenda will certainly drag down the economy even further. Iraq better be ready; he will almost certainly pull troop out and if he keeps his word will cut military spending 25%. And while I don’t expect universal health care to have that much traction, expect no improvement in the health care area.

With gas prices returning to a semblance of normalcy, energy issues will be less prominent, but ‘cap and trade’ policies will hurt energy production and increase prices. And if he embraces Kyoto and other global warming protocols, we can expect unprecedented economic challenges.

Republicans put themselves in the wilderness when they acted like drunken teenagers with Dad’s sports car in the 2001-2004 Congress. They abandoned the conservative principles that swept them into office in the first place, and it cost them. The Democrats haven’t been any better, but with a compliant media they don’t have to be. Until the Republican party and it's leadership can embrace a conservative methodology and focus the voters with a solid message, we can expect them to be out there for a long time to come.

Until that time comes, how much can Obama do? As a Marxist (by his own words), quite a bit. Look at Venezuela. It was a free country when populist Hugo Chavez took power as president. Now the country is a basket case, kept alive only because it sells oil to the U.S. He shut down newspapers and TV stations. Nationalized the oil industry. Can Obama do that? We got a taste of what he is capable of doing when he sent his operatives to Missouri, and his response to the Orlando TV station when they didn’t do the usual puff piece on Joe Biden. Now there is talk of reviving the “fairness doctrine,” which will stifle free speech in the radio markets, and there may even be moves to shut down political speech on the internet (including this feeble site!). The Democrats have power again, and we’ve seen that they will do what it takes to keep it.

It’s going to get rough.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hardly had to wait, too. I call in about every 5 years, so it was time. I wanted to talk about the Democrat-backed bill that would create unions from open elections. Currently to become a union, there is a secret ballot. Union organizers want to do away with all that stuff. Intimidation factor? Nahhhh....

Anyway, here's how I opened with Neal:
ME: Hi, Neal. You should know that if Obama wins, I'm moving to a more conservative country - like, France.

NB: Oh, do like Alec Baldwin, huh?

ME: Exactly.

NB: 'A conservative country like France...' heh heh....
I'm gonna vote for Palin and that other guy.

Heh: "Vote for McCain, he may win."

UPDATE: My polling precinct is PACKED. Gonna try after lunch.

Another heh: Mark Steyn reports that early results are in.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama will explain how he will spend the $700 billion bailout money, on Wednesday. Ben Smith has the details.

Also up, on Wednesday, Obama will solve the global warming problem, establish peace in the Middle East, and establish 100% employment in the U.S.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

After some questionable performances, such as engaging in an interview that finally asked some straight questions about Obama and campaign, and after well, talking without a script, again, VP candidate Joe Biden has been leashed.

I think if I knew Biden personally, politics aside, I would like him. As a politician, though, he's a bit clueless.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quite a few folks say, well, no:

Summary: Philip J. Berg has brought a lawsuit in Philadelphia has not proven his American citizenship and is therefore disqualified from running for office.

Now, Mr. Berg has his own issues, and I'm kind of in the crowd that might be willing to give Obama the shadow of the doubt, but there are lingering questions. However, the case was dismissed on Friday.

The reason: Because Mr. Berg "lacked standing", and any harm that would come from an ineligible candidate was "too vague and its effects too attenuated to confer standing on any and all voters."

Lacked standing? Other than being an American citizen, how can one not have standing to demand that a candidate prove their citizenship as required by the Constitution???

Also, that judge (who was appointed by Clinton, BTW), indicated that any potential harm from an ineligible candidate was "too vague"? So, the natural born requirement is unenforceable?

This stuff is just bizarre - all around.

UPDATE: Even Michelle Malkin isn't touching this one, considering the evidence (see this link). I'm willing to move on, too.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Who is Neal Hefti, you ask? Why, none other than the composer of the most memorable song of my childhood: The Batman Theme!

In the LA Times' Obituary (linked above), he says it took him a month to write the theme. Must have been one hell of a case of writer's cramp. Let's go over the lyrics of that unforgettable classic:
(dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum -- dum dum dum dum dum dum dum)
BATMAN! (dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum)
BATMAN! (dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum)
BATMAN! (dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum)
BATMAN! (dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum)
BATMAN...BATMAN...BATMAN! (well, you get the dum-dum part)

Interestingly, he also scored the Odd Couple theme. Passed away, age 85.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A great piece from Jim Manzi on how Wall Street works, and what's going on today.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Yeah, I caught it, while waiting on a new battery for my car. The most inspiring words since Jimmy Carter told us to turn down our thermostats from his fireside chats.

I don't know, I guess I'm still just MASSIVELY ticked off about this bailout. "The Federal Reserve has injected hundreds of billions of dollars into the system...?" And if this is such a great idea, why did we wait for a crisis to do it? I'll tell you why: to prevent inflation.

The REAL question is, are the credit markets reticent because there is TOO much money in the economy, or not enough? Too much means inflation is on the way, enabling banks to be repaid with dollars worth less than what was lent out. Not enough means that the economy is contracting - and banks don't want to put money into business or ventures that won't pan out or repay them. You know, like the real estate market. Either way, Wall Street is now on shaky ground.

I know if you took all the economists in the world, and laid them end-to-end, you will never reach a conclusion. But fiddling with the marketplace with this bailout just messes up the financial cues that the market relies on to prosper.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Check this out!

A New York Times article from 1999 sets the stage.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Thanks for nothing, Congress (and Mr. President). In spite of Rep. Linder's efforts, a pork-laden bailout plan passes Congress - and President Bush signs the bill quickly. Totally ignoring my warnings (see below). Wall Street, knowing that bending the rules of the Free Market and Economics 101 doesn't do them any good in the long run, reacted accordingly.

Meanwhile, AIG has a little celebration.

Friday, October 03, 2008

No, I didn't watch them - I'll review excerpts later. But the reviews are coming in.

A USA Today editorial calls the debate a draw. In MSM-speak, that means it was a TKO for Palin.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

This article got me mad. So I wrote my Congressman:

Dear Representative Linder,

It is a rare moment when I am moved enough to write Congress, so please understand the sincerity of my words when I say that the Bailout bill, as passed by the Senate yesterday, is far worse than the original bill that you voted NO on earlier this week. (Thank you, by the way.)

I completely agree with you that some form of relief must be passed. However, the Senate bill, laden with projects and spending that are not germane to our financial crisis, does not approach addressing the problem.

I am not naive enough to believe that the final cost to taxpayers will be $700 billion. In addition, the infusion of cash from the US Treasury will distort the financial markets, increase the risk of inflation, and does nothing to prevent this fiasco from happening again.

I have every confidence that you agree with me on these points. Please communicate to your fellow Congressmen (and our Senators) that any solution must include a fresh look at the government relationship with our financial institutions, the current regulations that facilitate graft and market distortions, and hold those who caused this mess accountable.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, which collapsed last year, has already reopened. Months ahead of the planned Christmas Eve date, which detractors said couldn't be done. Read the article to see how it was done. Anyone who has responsibility for heavy-lifting projects like this one should pay attention.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Kennedy: I propose that we send a man to walk on the moon.
Science Advisor: But that will take 10 years to happen!
Kennedy: Really? Oh, never mind, then.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I think this is kinda cool:

It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center .

It is the fifth in a new class of warship - designed for missions th at include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines...

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the ‘hair on my neck stood up.’ ‘It had a big meaning to it for all of us,’ he said. ‘They knocked us down. They can’t keep us down. We’re going to be back.’

The ship’s motto? ‘Never Forget’

Let's see Kuwait come and get me.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Derek Lowe has published a series of short articles on "Things I Won't Work With," and after you read these technically detailed but humorous segments, you'll see why. If you eyes glaze over reading about anions, boiling points, and other fun aspects of organic chemistry, you may not want to check out this link. But the scientifically curious should go ahead and click here.
Human Tetris.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Good article from the Baltimore Sun. Javeed Akhter discusses how terrorists abuse the Islamic writings, twisting them for their own agenda:
Those who practice or sanction suicide bombing consider it a form of martyrdom. But suicide by any name is still suicide and is explicitly prohibited in Islam. Injunctions of the Quran and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad prohibit it in unequivocal terms. Similarly, killing of innocents is expressly prohibited. It is not collateral damage but callous murder.
Hope this is required reading at Gitmo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rule 1: If you skip out on a big bill, don't go to another restaurant, owned by the same Judo-trained manager, on the same night.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

I finally created a Flickr account, and I'm slowly adding pictures to it. You can view my work in progress here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Right now I’m flying over Cuba! Around 32000 feet up, barely six miles over this communist country. Hard to see a lot of details, because of partly cloudy skies, but I can make out farms, a few roads, and the occasional village. I see absolutely no traffic on the roads. Ah, the worker’s paradise.

I’m not stopping here, of course. I’m on my way to Jamaica for a quick project.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Star Wars quotes that are improved by changing one word to 'pants.'

Note: Don't waste your time past the top 20 or so....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Simple idea. Simple implementation.


Not that we're looking at the next Starbucks, but....still....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Jonah Goldberg of NRO brings up this amusing story: The largest theme park in Great Britain, Alton Park, had planned to host a "Muslim Fun Day," where the park is set aside for Muslims only. All alcohol will be banned, and separate lines will be set up to segregate male and female riders. There will be a strict dress code (burquas, what fun!) and prayer areas would be set up.

It's been canceled, due to low ticket sales.

Which is probably a relief to this couple.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's now war between, well, Israel and, er, terrorist organizations in Syria and Lebanon. I suppose that the idea of war between nation-states is all but a thing of the past - afterall, who pits ship against ship, plane against plane, and soldier against soldier anymore? The war on terror has been more about stomping cockroaches than destroying the other guy's army. In a way, we have the modern (liberal) media to blame - wailing over every 'civilian' death, and calling out for peace at every turn.

To be sure, peace is a great thing, but even as Americans we haven' t seen a lot of what could be called true peace. A terrorist organization has members without a political structure, the geographical boundaries of a nation-state, or even uniforms. They target civilian populations, because of the fact that if you set your sights on military targets you quickly learn that they can shoot back.

For years we've been making nice to Arafat and a slew of other terrorist-supporting organizations, with nothing more than wishful thinking that they'll think hey, all this killing is a bad thing, we should stop. This is a game that's been played for over 40 years, and I think I speak for a lot of people who are sick and tired of just hoping the terrorist problem goes away.

Israel's already been doing everything they can to avoid war and try to establish peace. The liberal elite says those poor people just want land, so Israel gives them land. They've tried to help Palestine become a reality. It's annoying to hear about how Arabs want to push the Jews into the sea. So when some terrorist goons kidnap some Israel soldiers, and Israel says, okay, that's enough, and starts shooting, I can only tell Israel, hey, go for it.

I think that terrorists should be hit back, and hit very hard. There are rules, even in warfare. Civilized nations try to follow the rules. Terrorists don't. And if Lebanon and Syria don't want to clean house, then they shouldn't complain when Israel does it for them.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Friday, June 09, 2006


Report from CNN. All I can say is, GOOD. Wouldn't want him to go without suffering a bit.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I really have been working on my website, www.halcrawford.org. Last month I added links to the Easter service at my church (where my daughter played organ and piano). This month I added photos and video from my trip to San Francisco. Feel free to check it out.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A report from the Amnesty International prepared for the United Nations declares that tortune and inhumane treatment are par for the course if you happen to be a prisoner of the US Government.

Having followed Amnesty International’s reports for many years, this report shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Amnesty International’s politics have pretty much run anti-America on any issue of substance. Besides, look at the evidence. Investigators have been through Guantanamo and other centers for Prisoners of War in Afghanistan and Iraq. You have to look pretty hard to find ANY evidence of abuse anywhere. Guantanamo? The best they can come up with is that a Koran got flushed. Abu Ghraib? Some idiot soldiers got cocky and they got completely slammed for their actions. Secret detention centers around the world? Still just a rumor, but….come on. I’d still rather be a prisoner of the US Armed Forces than in a jail cell in North Korea, Saudi Arabia or pre-liberation Iraq. By comparison, a stint in Guantanamo is Club Med. Muslims have rights a Christian could only dream about in any Islamic jail cell.

It's unfortunate, because by lowering the bar for prisoner abuse here, they raise the bar in other totalitarian countries. Now try going after Zimbabwe's obvious abuses. "What do you mean, we torture our prisoners? At least we're not like big, bad America!!!"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Meredith Vieira is leaving the ABC show to replace Katie Couric on 'Today' - guess who's replacing Meredith? Rosie O'Donnell.

In a word? Arrrrrgggggghh! What's the matter, Barbra Streisand wasn't available???

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

...located here. (you have to scroll down a little to see it.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What ARE you thinking? What's the matter, too many American companies want to charge too much to manage our ports? Don't feel guilty enough taking on the Middle East? So now you want to turn over seaport operations to a state-owned UAE company? A Middle-Eastern country that has exported terrorists at that?

Michelle Malkin doesn't like this deal. (plus read this)
Neither does Neal Boortz.

Democrats, no surprise, are also opposed. But one Democrat thinks it's just swell:

Jimmy Carter.

If that ain't the kiss of death, what is?

Friday, November 11, 2005

But I've been too busy to say anything here - been wrapping up projects in Atlanta, trying to get new business in Richmond, working on presentations in Miami, mentoring a project rehabilitation in Ft Lauderdale, and prepping to train a class in Jacksonville (where I am right now). Really quick notes:

Harriet Miers pulls nomination - good news there. James Taranto notes that she and Karl Rove were in attendance at a Federalist Society gala and received a round of applause when her presence was noted at the event. Considering this is the Federalist Society, the fact that conservatives applauded her is worthy of note. My 'ilk' and I at NRO never said she was incompetent, just that she wasn't worthy of the highest court in the land given her background. So I thought it was a nice and gracious touch for her to get that consideration.

Paris burning - bad stuff. Most insightful comment to date is from Jonah Goldberg, who says it's too easy to just dismiss this as Muslim rage perpetuating a religious agenda. Still, it's getting easier to understand France's recalitrance about dealing with Iraq - fear of the Islamic base back home.

Scooter Libby indicted - while I have tried to suppress my instincts that this is just a left-wing hatchet job, the facts are coming out that Valerie Plame's employment at the CIA must be the biggest open secret in Washington. If her job wasn't secret, Fitzgerald has no case. I guess somebody had to be indicted to keep the blood in the water to a minimum, but stuff like this is ugly politics.

Having a nice little 'discussion' at this site with someone named 'forty-two' (my favorite Douglas Adams number!). 42's his/her own site, here. (There's a Bear plug for you, 42!)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hey, he's only trying to help:
...imagine the hearings. First she will have to pass an implicit competency test. As case upon case is thrown at her on national television, she dare not respond, as she apparently did to Sen. Chuck Schumer while making the rounds, that she will have to "bone up on this a little more." Then there will be the withering fire of conservatives such as Sen. Sam Brownback who will try to establish some grounds to believe that (a) she has a judicial philosophy and (b) it is conservative.

And then there will be the Democrats who, in their first act of political wisdom in this millennium, have held their fire on Miers, under the political axiom that when your opponent is committing suicide, you get out of the way. But now that Miers is so exposed on abortion, the Democrats will be poised like a reserve cavalry to come over the hills to attack her from the left -- assuming she has survived the attack from the right.

The omens are not good.
Nope, they're not.
"A political blunder of the first order."
I don't have time to provide links or better research, but Senator Coburn (not sure what state he's from - see? Too busy to do homework.) tried to put together an amendment to reduce some of the pork going to certain pet projects - most notoriously, a half-billion dollar bridge in Alaska to serve 50 Alaskans. You conservative Republican government hard at work. The amendment failed overwhelmingly.

I'm planning on calling my senators - who voted against the amendment.

Not too late to sign!

Update 2006 - actually, it is now. Link's broken. But it's okay! We won!
One person I wouldn't want to be upset with me.

Her first column on Miers - October 5. She defends the charges of elitism head-on:
Bush has no right to say "Trust me." He was elected to represent the American people, not to be dictator for eight years. Among the coalitions that elected Bush are people who have been laboring in the trenches for a quarter-century to change the legal order in America. While Bush was still boozing it up in the early '80s, Ed Meese, Antonin Scalia, Robert Bork and all the founders of the Federalist Society began creating a farm team of massive legal talent on the right.

Conservatives from elite schools have already been subjected to liberal blandishments and haven't blinked. These are right-wingers who have fought off the best and the brightest the blue states have to offer. The New York Times isn't going to mau-mau them – as it does intellectual lightweights like Jim Jeffords and Lincoln Chafee – by dangling fawning profiles before them. They aren't waiting for a pat on the head from Nina Totenberg or Linda Greenhouse. To paraphrase Archie Bunker, when you find a conservative from an elite law school, you've really got something.
Her 2nd column on Miers - October 12:
There are more important things in life than being Supreme Court material, but – oddly enough – not when we're talking about an appointment to the Supreme Court. According to the Associated Press, Sen. Arlen Specter defended Miers on the grounds that "Miers' professional qualifications are excellent, but she lacks experience in constitutional law" – and Specter ought to know. This is like recommending a plumber by saying, "He's a very professional guy, but he lacks experience in plumbing."

I genuinely feel sorry for Miers. I'm sure she's a lovely woman, brighter than average, and well-qualified for many important jobs. Just not the job Bush has nominated her for. The terrible thing Bush has done to Miers is to force people who care about the court to say that.
And now here's her latest column. She feels better about Harriet Miers....NOT.
From the beginning of this nightmare, I have taken it as a given that Miers will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. I assume that's why Bush nominated her. (It certainly wasn't her resume.) Pity no one told him there are scads of highly qualified judicial nominees who would also have voted against Roe. Wasn't it Harriet Miers' job to tell him that? Hey, wait a minute ...
Well, she wasn't too crazy about John Roberts, either.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What? My autobiography isn't there?

Home sick today - aging digestive tract is rebelling.

This list is about as useless as you might think. Oh sure, they did think to add The Lord of Rings. Gone With The Wind is there, too. But no Atlas Shrugged? Well, that's okay, everybody has their own tastes....but wait a minute....


They found a spot for one of HER books?

I actually read - no, I endured "Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing," at the urging of my little brother, many, many years ago. A veritable waste of two weeks. Oh, it took barely a day to read it. I had to endure constant reminders of, "It's good! Really! It's really good! Wasn't it good? Why didn't you think it was good?" This from a man who would later think Chris DeBurgh's "Lady In Red" should be considered inspiring music.

Anyway, Are you there, God, it's Me, Margaret made the Time 100. Now, I checked with my wife - she considered it a perfectly readable book when she was 11 years old. And maybe it is (National Review Online, well, disagrees). Obviously it's superior to anything by that hack Ayn Rand. At least that what Time thinks.
Check out her blog!

(note - it's a satire)

(image 'borrowed' from her website)
The more we learn about Harriet Miers, the scarier things get. Look, I think that Roe v. Wade was bad law. I think that, given sane reflection and consideration, it will eventually be overturned. (Note to abortion 'fans' - if you want to legalize it, you should have to do it the legislative way like everybody else.)

Miers signed support for the Human Life Amendment back in Texas umpteen years ago does not impress me. Well, la-dee-da. I don't care what legislation she supports. That has minimal bearing on how well she would do as a judge. You see, judges, particularly Supreme Court Justices, aren't supposed to consider prospective laws. They're supposed to consider and rule on laws already on the books, and consider them in the light of the Constitution. And not the laws of foreign countries, by the way.

If you haven't guessed by now, I have a pretty strict view of the Constitution. It wasn't always that way. I remember going to school and learning that somehow, the Constitution was a living document - that it's meanings were subject to fresh interpretations given new perspectives and customs. It made perfect sense back then. But then I didn't hear the entire story. No one bothered to tell me about the Federalist Papers.

But it was the Living Document claptrap that made it possible for bad rulings to slip by, like Griswold v. Connecticut. That case was over a simple matter of the right to buy birth control pills, back in 1965. I don't believe in penumbras and emanations in the Constitution. But I have to tell you, if you twist words just enough, you can do pretty much anything you want. Here they fudged a questionable right to privacy out of a bad ruling, and things have gone downhill ever since.

Anyway, regarding Griswold v. Connecticut - Miers was in fact asked about that case, and did she think it was a fair ruling. Why, yes, she said, yes it was. At least that's what Sen. Arlen Specter thought he heard. She later said that she really had no position and she was misunderstood.

Back when Roberts was nominated, I recalled that the idea of putting a SCOTUS nominee in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee is a fairly new concept in our nation's history. Only in the last 30 years have nominees been brought before the committee. It simply wasn't considered necessary before. The sad spectacle of Robert Bork was probably the worst, with the Clarence Thomas hearings close behind. I really didn't think it was necessary or prudent to parade John Roberts in front of a committee to see if he was good enough - his background and reputation should be clear enough to anyone. However, Harriet Miers has proved me wrong, I think. Because there is such a thin background, because we don't know what her court persona will be, that we only have Bush's recommendation to commend her, well, we all want to see who this nominee is.

I think she's going to turn out to be an embarrassment. Her 'obvious' pro-life views will penalize her in the eyes of the Democrats, who will have to vote her down, if only to appease the pro-choice people. Senators on the Republican side MIGHT be enough to get her confirmed, but if she doesn't do well in the hearings, she'll go down in flames. If she's half as smart as Bush says she is, she might do all right. But current events don't seem to be in her favor.
Are you a frustrated conservative? Wouldn't you like your President to just act like one? Did the nomination of Harriet Miers go one bridge too far?

Then sign the petition.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The contents of Karl Rove's garage!
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is sponsoring ads in Rhode Island, defending RINO Senator Lincoln Chafee against challenger Steve Laffey. The ads themselves sound pretty childish, using a cartoon image to portray "Laffeyland Tales."

Here is my letter to the NRSC:
Why are you using NRSC dollars to attack Republican challengers? Shouldn't this money be better spent going after Democrats?

I'm referring specifically to the campaign ads sponsored by the NRSC to attack candidate Steve Laffey, who is running against Chafee.


What are you going to do if Laffey wins?

UPDATE: http://www.nationalreview.com/miller/miller200510180823.asp

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, loving father of Charles (Joann) Heller; dear brother of the late Sonya (the late Jack) Steinberg. Ted was discharged from the U.S. Army during WWII due to service related injuries, and then forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. Graveside services Tuesday 11 a.m. at Waldheim Jewish Cemetery (Ziditshover section), 1700 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals, Douglas MacIsaac, funeral director 847-229-8822, www.cjfinfo.com.
If I have the opportunity, maybe I should have something like this: "In lieu of flowers, caustic conservative letters to the editor should be sent to the AJC."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

With the words, “Trust me,” Bush has nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. And everyone is scrambling to find out who this Ms. Miers is. One can certainly say that from a jurist perspective, her resume is a bit thin. Sure, she’s run a law firm. She's performed in various capacities of government, most notably as the head of the Texas Lottery Commission. Maybe she’s the stellar candidate for the job – the President thinks she is. But the more I learn about her, the more depressing it gets. Let’s set aside that she was once a contributor to Democratic campaigns, or that she has pursued feminist agendas up to only a few years ago. Rather than tell you what I think – in my words, I’ll let you read what other, more experienced pundits have to say:

First up, George Will. He’s all over Bush for his “Trust me” comment:
The president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked … whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, "I agree." Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, "I do."
McCain-Feingold is a travesty, so Bush’s nominees are not going to get a free pass on his word alone. Sorry.

Professor Bainbridge was one of the first out of the gate to denounce the nomination. His first broadside was right to the point:
1. She's 60. There were lots of highly qualified younger candidates out there who would have sat on the court for decades.
2. She has no judicial experience.
3. She has no public track record of proven conservative judicial values (what happened to Bush's 2000 promise to appoint people in the old of Scalia and Thomas?). How do we know she won't be another Souter? or Kennedy?
4. She's a Bush crony, which is an unfortunate choice for an administration that has been fairly charged with excessive cronyism (anybody remember ex-FEMA head Mike Brown?).
5. Her resume pales in comparison to those of some of the other leading candidates.
6. Why is the leader of a party that is supposedly against affirmative action making an appointment that can only be explained as an affirmative action choice?
7. And if Bush was bound and determined to make an affirmative action choice, why not go with a more experienced and qualified woman like Edith Jones or minority like Emilio Garza?
As for the last two comments, even the President has indicated that he was looking for a woman to replace O’Conner. A pretty ugly political play so far.

Monday, October 03, 2005

This is kinda cool....

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Well, it's never really BEEN back - ruthlessly cancelled by FOX before a full season could be completed back in 1993, producer Joss Whedon promised to put together a movie-version of the show. In the meantime, it's been released on DVD, and the episodes are being re-aired on the Sci-Fi Channel...and now the movie is ready for release. If you've seen the trailer it looks hot! (Check out their website by clicking here.) I had some early comments about the show here.

I'm not exactly a Joss Wheden fan - Buffy never captured my attention with the limited amount of time I have to watch TV (and I'm sure I'll get tons of hate mail just for saying that) - but I like the unique vision he presents in the story.

This is the synopsis that sets up the movie:
Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and
FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of
galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial
debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a
hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes
out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his
ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he
has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

It opens September 30. Check it out.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

As bad as it's been in New Orleans - tens of thousands of homes flooded, millions displaced, things are hopeful for the long run.

Satellite pictures of before and after in New Orleans here.

Live blogging from these people in the middle of the action. Hope their food (and diesel fuel!) holds out.

Great summary from Peggy Noonan.

Neal Boortz also said that the military bases slated for closing would be a great place to house refugees. And add me to the list of folks who think that trucking them to Houston's Astrodome is a really dumb idea. Drop them in the middle of another city with no real supporting infrastructure for food and water? Sigh.

Shooting looters? Hard to argue with Instapundit's analysis:

When I was on Grand Cayman last month, several people told me that looting became a problem after Hurricane Ivan, but quickly stopped when the police shot several looters. That's because looters usually value life over property too.
As for me, I'm disappointed in our President's response. A major city has been totally, completely devastated. Troops should be there. The mobilization order should been issues as soon as Katrina targeted New Orleans.

But blaming Bush for the flooding is nothing less than stupid. New Orleans has been a fat target for a crisis for years. The Corps of Engineers should have been on top of this for years. The levees have been sinking all this time, through a lot more presidents than Bush. The pumps around the city seem woefully inadequate for a real emergency. And Louisiana and New Orleans can share in the blame for their shortsightedness.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Driving back into the office tonight, I found this little creature running around in the driveway....

It was about 12 inches across. I bet it looked weird to anybody watching me snapping pictures of this thing like crazed papparrazi.

I want to know - did Katrina really carry this crab 15 miles inland? Or do crabs thrive in freshwater lagoons?
New Orleans Radar - you'll know it's bad when this link goes down
Mobile Alabama Radar - just in case

Cool, LIVE webcam of the corner of St. Charles & Napoleon in the Quarter (still working as of 2:30 AM EST)
Other webcams here and here.

The economic impact of a hurricane hit in Louisana is bad enough. Fact: New Orleans is the largest seaport in the U.S., with docks that line 50 miles of the Mississippi River. The river in that section passes a lot of sediment and must be continuously dredged for service. Tigerhawk has an impressive analysis.

Louisiana has a LOT of oil refineries....sigh. Gas prices are already high enough....

** Link credits to instapundit and Brendon Loy.


NOLA Radar went offline around 9AM - last image:
Ah – the TV guys are broadcasting from Baton Rouge. And they’re saying it’ll hit in the morning. Meanwhile, watch out for tornados! It’s like watching a feed from Pompeii describing how the shower of pumice should stop around two, and choking clouds of poison gas and lava flows will start around five.
Read the whole thing.