Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Cowboy

Three strangers strike up a conversation in the airport Passenger lounge in Bozeman Montana , while awaiting their respective flights.

One is an American Indian passing through from Lame Deer.

Another is a Cowboy on his way to Billings for a livestock show

The third passenger is a fundamentalist Arab student, newly arrived at Montana State University from the Middle East

Their discussion drifts to their diverse cultures.

Soon, the two Westerners learn that the Arab is a devout, radical Muslim and the conversation falls into an uneasy lull.

The cowboy leans back in his chair, crosses his boots on a magazine table and tips his big sweat-stained hat forward over his face.

The wind outside is blowing tumbleweeds around, and the old windsock is flapping; but still no plane comes.

Finally, the American Indian clears his throat and softly he speaks, "At one time here, my people were many, but sadly, now we are few.'"

The Muslim student raises an eyebrow and leans forward, "Once my people were few," he sneers, "and now we are many. Why do you suppose that is?"

The Montana cowboy shifts his toothpick to one side of his mouth and from the darkness beneath his Stetson says in a smooth western drawl: "That's 'cause we ain't played Cowboys and Muslims yet, but I do believe it's a-comin'."
I have been told ....

....of the time that Catherine - a little girl in our neighborhood - told a neighbor that she wanted to be President one day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there with us - and he asked Catherine -

"If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?"

Catherine replied, "I would give houses to all the homeless people."

"Wow - what a worthy goal you have there Catherine," he told her (while both parents beamed). "But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and clean up all the dog poop in the back yard and I will pay you $5 dollars. Then we can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $5 dollars to use for a new house."

Catherine (who was about 4) thought that over for a second, and then replied, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and clean up the dog poop himself, and you can pay him the $5 dollars?"

Welcome to the Republican Party Catherine..... :-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Interesting site, this. Here is what they say about what they do:

GovTrack tracks the United States Congress. Follow the status of federal legislation or learn about your members of Congress by using the tools on the left. We have information on all bills and votes going back over a decade, and you can subscribe to RSS feeds to keep up with the latest activity in Congress.
T. Boone is Getting on the Gravy Train
By Michael R. Fox Ph.D., 7/23/2008 12:20:01 AM

“This nation is exquisitely tied to science and technology with a citizenry which knows little about science and technology”—Carl Sagan

Oil man T. Boone Pickens recently announced his own large program to help get America off its oil addictions. His message in his own Texas twang starts off appealing, while he properly and accurately reports on the $700 billion annually we now spend on imported oil, now at 70% of our total oil consumption. That is a huge sum and economically crippling to be sending off shore.

Correcting this foreign dependence is essential for the nation’s energy security and balance of trade issues. A nation importing oil is not a new problem, having, for example, been solved nearly 40 years ago when the French replaced oil-fired electricity with nuclear energy. Our large dependence on foreign energy is dangerous to our nation’s economy and future. Just as dangerous are some of the proposed energy solutions offered to help this situation.

Regrettably, near the middle of his advertisement T. Boone wandered off into an alternative energy universe, proposing that wind and solar energy replace the current 22% of our electricity produced by natural gas. Neither source is a true alternative, and are merely erratic, unreliable, supplementary energy sources.

Leaders from both sides of the aisle throw out wind energy as a cure-all reliable source of future electrical energy. It most assuredly is not.

One of several major problems with the wind mill option is that it is a major beneficiary of huge Federal tax credits and accelerated depreciation allowances, as well as many local state, city, and county benefits. These are the primary reasons why some of these big players are interested in wind energy. It is not about the energy.

An excellent cost analysis of the Pickens proposal has been prepared by Glenn Schleede at .

The following are estimates, necessitated by the lack of more precise tax and revenue data. Schleede assumes that Mr. Pickens spends and/or borrows $10 billion for the nation’s largest wind farm, having 2700 windmills with 4000 installed Mw(e) capacity proposed windmills. Mr. Pickens plans to earn 25% on a $10 billion investment, which sound risky, but in fact it is almost guaranteed, thanks to a whole host of federal and local subsidies.

These include the accelerated depreciation allowances which permit the entire investment to be depreciated to zero in 6 years, 70% in the first 3 years. Assuming a 35% tax bracket, this would permit the avoidance of $3.5 billion in federal taxes.

In addition there is the Production Tax Credit (PTC) of 2 cents/kw-hr. By itself the PTC would permit the avoidance of taxes over 10 years, another $2.45 billion, assuming an optimistic 35% capacity factor.

The worst operational features of wind energy production are that they are unreliable, intermittent, and non-dispatchable. That is, the produced wind energy cannot be scheduled for use or for sale or transfer to other utilities on a given schedule. This makes the electrical energy from windmills less valuable than the energy from other far more dependable sources.

Further, windmills operate with a capacity factor of 30%. Life cycle performance numbers are not available. That is, 70% of the time they produce no energy. Coal, hydro, and nuclear are typically much higher. The average nuclear capacity in the US for example, is about 90%, and much of the remaining offline time is for scheduled outages.

Furthermore, that 30% of the time the wind energy is produced at varying times of the day, in varying amounts, and so becomes a very undependable, non-dispatchable source of energy.

Tax payers and rate payers are on the hook for much more subsidies for wind mills, too. Since the windmills operate at best only 30% of the time, other more dependable sources of electricity must be constructed and held as a backup in case the wind dies down, which it often does. Often the backup energy is held in “spinning reserve”. When the backup energy system is operating, it is consuming energy, consuming fuel, releasing the usual gases. Remarkably, the wind mill lobby has been successful in shifting the costs of operating these backup systems to the consumers and taxpayers, and do not pay for it themselves.

For example, the State of Texas also has some very generous tax benefits. They get favorable treatment under Texas’s “franchise taxes”. According to Schleede the entire cost of the wind project may be deducted from the company’s taxable capital.

As with many other states Texas also has Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) as well as Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). These require electric utilities to have a fraction of its electricity (often 20%) be produced from “renewable” sources. This virtually assures under penalty of state law that T. Boone will have customers to buy substantial fractions of the energy he produces. Wouldn’t it be nice if all small businessmen had customers who, under the full force of state law, were required by law to purchase your goods and services. And they call it “free markets”. Windmill owners have such forced customers locked in by state law.

Another subsidy involves the remoteness of many wind farms and the subsequent need for additional transmission lines. Texas political leaders have mandated that additional transmission capacity will be built and that the costs be borne by electric customers in their monthly bills. This requirement amounts to another huge subsidy for the wind farm owners.

Texas has a wind mill arrangement similar to many other states that makes it hugely profitable for the owners, plus very costly to the customers, for an energy system which is notoriously and inherently unreliable. Because wind turbines are so unreliable, they cannot substitute for the reliable generating capacity required to meet growing electrical demand or to replace old generating units.

A nation which has an economy dependent upon the whims of low grade energy has an economy headed for collapse. Why would anyone want that?

Schleede properly concludes that the long list of huge subsidies of huge sums going to the wind mill owners who are only producing small amounts of unreliable energy, are very good reasons for eliminating the subsidies.


The Pickens Plan


"Some 90 billion barrels of oil and nearly a third of the world's undiscovered natural gas remain untapped under an area north of the Arctic Circle, government scientists estimate, in the largest-ever survey of the area's energy potential." - Associated Press, 7/24/08
He ventured forth to bring light to the world

The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers

Gerard Baker

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.

He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world.

And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them. And in the great battle that ensued the forces of the light were triumphant. For as long as the Child stood with his arms raised aloft, the enemy suffered great blows and the threat of terror was no more.

From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.

And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.

And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.

From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered “Hosanna” and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.

In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.

As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Black gold gushed from the ground at prices well below $140 per barrel. In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it.

And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times.

Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.

But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.

And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets.

Thence he travelled west to Mount Sarkozy. Even the beauteous Princess Carla of the tribe of the Bruni was struck by awe and she was great in love with the Child, but he was tempted not.

On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.

And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can.”


Some may see this as parody, some satire, and some blasphemy. I thought it amusing and offer it with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The Time Has Come For A FairTax.
by Bob Clegg

Over the past few months, many of you saw checks in the mail from the federal government. As part of the so-called "stimulus package", the government returned $600 that it originally took from your paycheck. Apparently, Washington politicians came to the realization that more money in your pocket will stimulate the economy and thereby create jobs. The cost of notifying you of the $600 "rebate" was somewhere in the neighborhood of $42 million…and that didn't even cover the cost of printing new checks and mailing them back to you!

Imagine if the government had left that money in your paycheck in the beginning. Imagine if the government didn't spend $42 million to let you know it was sending you back some of your hard earned dollars. Imagine if the government didn't spend millions more of your money sending you back your money.

That is one of the reasons why I am a proponent of the Fair Tax. Let's leave the paycheck with the family. Let's not tax the worker who takes on a second job to send his daughter to college, and reward those who would rather sit back relying on the government to increase taxes to do it for him. Let's change the system to one where your purchasing decisions determine what taxes you pay and your productivity is rewarded not punished.

It's time for America to allow a family to work hard to better itself, to feed itself, to nurture the belief that a self-sufficient, self-reliant population is a better place than one that waits for government to do it all. We need to reward hard work. We need to leave the paycheck in the pocket of those who have earned it. The time has come for a Fair Tax.

here at HuckPac
The FairTax
by Rep. John Linder

We are rapidly coming to the point when people will be telling stories about what a great and powerful nation the United States of America used to be. The cost we are asking our citizens to endure makes us less than competitive in a global economy. We have a tax law with nearly 70,000 pages of law and regulations. Our tax on capital is crippling. Our tax on income for the highest earners takes half of what we earn. All of these costs, as well as the cost of complying with a code that no one understands, become embedded in the cost of our goods and services pricing us out of global markets. This is very well understood overseas. In a recent visit to Ireland, Neal Boortz, the co-author of two books on the FairTax, was told by an Irish gentleman that the Irish are scared to death that we will go to the FairTax. He explained that their economic “miracle” came as a direct result of our crushing taxes on capital and labor. Very simply, American companies relocated to Ireland because their tax code was much friendlier to business.

Since 1998 I have advocated for the FairTax. A simple bill--in fact, a mere 132 pages long--that will abolish all Federal income taxes, including personal, estate, gift, capital gains, alternative minimum, corporate, payroll, and self-employment taxes, and replace them with one simple, visible, personal consumption tax. The FairTax taxes what we take out of society rather than what we put into it.

Every household will get cash distribution at the beginning of each month that will be based on the size of the household and will allow that household to buy its essentials untaxed. Beyond that we are all voluntary taxpayers paying taxes when we choose as much as we choose by how we choose to spend.

Our nation has coped with this tax code for 95 years and it has failed. Our tax code has driven $2 trillion into the underground economy costing us about $50 billion in tax collections. Our tax code has driven $12 trillion into offshore financial centers that should be parked in our markets and banks. We are spending between $400 and $500 billion each year just complying with the code. That is like paying for a dead horse. We get nothing for that expenditure but a headache.

Getting rid of the IRS fixes everything. Keeping it in place and nibbling around the edges of the current system fixes nothing. As former Secretary of the Treasury told me, “You have just proposed the largest magnet for capital and jobs in history.” Why wouldn’t we want the United States to be the outsource destination for jobs? Why wouldn’t we want our nation to be the world’s safest and most stable tax haven? The FairTax will give us these results as well as create an environment that will expand freedom.

We have amassed millions of supporters across the country, all of whom are hungry for change. That said, we have millions more to go and we need to grow this grassroots army. I hope you will go to my website, There you will find much more information on the bill, and you can join the fight by signing up to become a “Citizen Co-Sponsor” for the FairTax. You can play an active role in bringing change to Washington.

found here at HuckPac

Monday, July 21, 2008

The EPA - It's Time Has Come

No, not the Environemental Protection Agency, this is the Enumerated Powers Act. The Environmenal Protection Agency (known in this post as EPA1) is a fine agency for the most part, but may not have come about had the Enumerated Power Act (EPA2) been in effect when it (EPA1) was envisioned. Congress has a tendancy to pass laws when they have no Constitutional authority to do so. Read on:

"The 'Enumerated Powers Act' (H.R. 1359) would compel Congress to identify their Constitutional authority for every law they pass," writes Jim Babka of this week. "It wouldn't stop them from passing bad laws, but it sure would highlight the fact that most of what they do has no Constitutional authority at all.

"When we last reported to you," Babka continues, "the 'Enumerated Powers Act' had 47 co-sponsors in the House. Well, now it has 52. But there's even better news. Senator Tom Coburn introduced a Senate version (S. 3159) on June 19th, and 22 out of 100 Senators have already signed-on as co-sponsors." Compliments of Mr. Babka, here's the list of co-sponsors from each side of Congress...

Co-sponsors in the Senate

Sen Allard, Wayne - 6/19/2008
Sen Barrasso, John - 6/19/2008
Sen Brownback, Sam - 6/19/2008
Sen Burr, Richard - 6/19/2008
Sen Chambliss, Saxby - 6/19/2008
Sen Cornyn, John - 6/19/2008
Sen Crapo, Mike 22697 - 6/19/2008
Sen DeMint, Jim - 6/19/2008
Sen Dole, Elizabeth - 6/19/2008
Sen Ensign, John - 6/19/2008
Sen Enzi, Michael B. - 6/19/2008
Sen Graham, Lindsey - 6/19/2008
Sen Grassley, Chuck - 6/19/2008
Sen Hutchison, Kay Bailey - 6/19/2008
Sen Inhofe, James M. - 6/19/2008
Sen Kyl, Jon - 6/19/2008
Sen McCain, John - 6/19/2008
Sen Sessions, Jeff - 6/19/2008
Sen Sununu, John E. - 6/19/2008
Sen Thune, John - 6/19/2008
Sen Vitter, David - 6/19/2008
Sen Wicker, Roger F. - 6/19/2008

Co-sponsors in the House

Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] - 3/6/2007
Rep Barrett, J. Gresham [SC-3] - 12/5/2007
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] - 3/6/2007
Rep Bilbray, Brian P. [CA-50] - 3/5/2008
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] - 3/6/2007
Rep Boozman, John [AR-3] - 4/24/2007
Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10] - 2/13/2008
Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26] - 6/9/2008
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] - 3/6/2007
Rep Cannon, Chris [UT-3] - 2/25/2008
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] - 3/6/2007
Rep Cubin, Barbara - 3/5/2008
Rep Davis, David [TN-1] - 3/27/2007
Rep Doolittle, John T. [CA-4] - 3/5/2008
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] - 3/7/2007
Rep Feeney, Tom [FL-24] - 4/24/2007
Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] - 3/6/2007
Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] - 3/6/2007
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] - 3/14/2007
Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] - 3/6/2007
Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] - 3/6/2007
Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1] - 3/6/2007
Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] - 9/7/2007
Rep Heller, Dean [NV-2] - 8/1/2007
Rep Hensarling, Jeb [TX-5] - 12/12/2007
Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] - 3/6/2007
Rep Hoekstra, Peter [MI-2] - 12/4/2007
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] - 12/4/2007
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] - 3/31/2008
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] - 12/12/2007
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] - 3/6/2007
Rep Mack, Connie [FL-14] - 12/12/2007
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] - 3/6/2007
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] - 3/6/2007
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] - 3/6/2007
Rep Musgrave, Marilyn N. [CO-4] - 12/12/2007
Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9] - 3/6/2007
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 3/6/2007
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] - 10/25/2007
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] - 3/12/2007
Rep Price, Tom [GA-6] - 3/5/2008
Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] - 6/3/2008
Rep Sali, Bill [ID-1] - 12/5/2007
Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] - 5/15/2008
Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] - 4/23/2008
Rep Souder, Mark E. [IN-3] - 4/9/2008
Rep Stearns, Cliff [FL-6] - 5/23/2007
Rep Tiahrt, Todd [KS-4] - 4/24/2008
Rep Walberg, Timothy [MI-7] - 3/9/2007
Rep Wamp, Zach [TN-3] - 4/4/2008
Rep Weldon, Dave [FL-15] - 5/1/2007
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3] - 3/6/2007
Web networking photos come back to bite defendants
Jul 20, 2:14 AM (ET)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Two weeks after Joshua Lipton was charged in a drunken driving crash that seriously injured a woman, the 20-year-old college junior attended a Halloween party dressed as a prisoner. Pictures from the party showed him in a black-and-white striped shirt and an orange jumpsuit labeled "Jail Bird."

In the age of the Internet, it might not be hard to guess what happened to those pictures: Someone posted them on the social networking site Facebook. And that offered remarkable evidence for Jay Sullivan, the prosecutor handling Lipton's drunken-driving case.

Sullivan used the pictures to paint Lipton as an unrepentant partier who lived it up while his victim recovered in the hospital. A judge agreed, calling the pictures depraved when sentencing Lipton to two years in prison.

Online hangouts like Facebook and MySpace have offered crime-solving help to detectives and become a resource for employers vetting job applicants. Now the sites are proving fruitful for prosecutors, who have used damaging Internet photos of defendants to cast doubt on their character during sentencing hearings and argue for harsher punishment.

"Social networking sites are just another way that people say things or do things that come back and haunt them," said Phil Malone, director of the cyberlaw clinic at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "The things that people say online or leave online are pretty permanent."

The pictures, when shown at sentencing, not only embarrass defendants but also can make it harder for them to convince a judge that they're remorseful or that their drunken behavior was an aberration. (Of course, the sites are also valuable for defense lawyers looking to dig up dirt to undercut the credibility of a star prosecution witness.)

Prosecutors do not appear to be scouring networking sites while preparing for every sentencing, even though telling photos of criminal defendants are sometimes available in plain sight and accessible under a person's real name. But in cases where they've had reason to suspect incriminating pictures online, or have been tipped off to a particular person's MySpace or Facebook page, the sites have yielded critical character evidence.

"It's not possible to do it in every case," said Darryl Perlin, a senior prosecutor in Santa Barbara County, Calif. "But certain cases, it does become relevant."

Perlin said he was willing to recommend probation for Lara Buys for a 2006 drunken driving crash that killed her passenger - until he thought to check her MySpace page while preparing for sentencing.

The page featured photos of Buys - taken after the crash but before sentencing - holding a glass of wine as well as joking comments about drinking. Perlin used the photos to argue for a jail sentence instead of probation, and Buys, then 22, got two years in prison.

"Pending sentencing, you should be going to (Alcoholics Anonymous), you should be in therapy, you should be in a program to learn to deal with drinking and driving," Perlin said. "She was doing nothing other than having a good old time."

Santa Barbara defense lawyer Steve Balash said the day he met his client Jessica Binkerd, a recent college graduate charged with a fatal drunken driving crash, he asked if she had a MySpace page. When she said yes, he told her to take it down because he figured it might have pictures that cast her in a bad light.

But she didn't remove the page. And right before Binkerd was sentenced in January 2007, the attorney said he was "blindsided" by a presentencing report from prosecutors that featured photos posted on MySpace after the crash.

One showed Binkerd holding a beer bottle. Others had her wearing a shirt advertising tequila and a belt bearing plastic shot glasses.

Binkerd wasn't doing anything illegal, but Balash said the photos hurt her anyway. She was given more than five years in prison, though the sentence was later shortened for unrelated reasons.

"When you take those pictures like that, it's a hell of an impact," he said.

Rhode Island prosecutors say Lipton was drunk and speeding near his school, Bryant University in Smithfield, in October 2006 when he triggered a three-car collision that left 20-year-old Jade Combies hospitalized for weeks.

Sullivan, the prosecutor, said another victim of the crash gave him copies of photographs from Lipton's Facebook page that were posted after the collision. Sullivan assembled the pictures - which were posted by someone else but accessible on Lipton's page - into a PowerPoint presentation at sentencing.

One image shows a smiling Lipton at the Halloween party, clutching cans of the energy drink Red Bull with his arm draped around a young woman in a sorority T-shirt. Above it, Sullivan rhetorically wrote, "Remorseful?"

Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini said the prosecutor's slide show influenced his decision to sentence Lipton.

"I did feel that gave me some indication of how that young man was feeling a short time after a near-fatal accident, that he thought it was appropriate to joke and mock about the possibility of going to prison," the judge said in an interview.

Kevin Bristow, Lipton's attorney, said the photos didn't accurately reflect his client's character or level of remorse, and made it more likely he'd get prison over probation.

"The pictures showed a kid who didn't know what to do two weeks after this accident," Bristow said, adding that Lipton wrote apologetic letters to the victim and her family and was so upset that he left college. "He didn't know how to react."

Still, he uses the incident as an example to his own teenage children to watch what they post online.

"If it shows up under your name you own it," he said, "and you better understand that people look for that stuff."


I found this news story in the news section on I've always said that people need to be careful about what they post online, and this is a perfect example. Instead of appearing remorseful, they appeared to be uncaring of their actions. The sad part is that they may have been and made more unfortunate choices.

Perception is everything. Just because you present yourself in a manner you believe depicts your beliefs, someone else can make another interpretation. What I perceive can only be based on my experiences, knowledge and beliefs. Most of the time, what we are trying to convey to another person is successful and understanding is achieved. But sometimes, what you say is not what I hear. And neither of us is wrong.

Ever hear of mixed messages? That's a result of perception gone wrong. You say something, but the listener also sees your lip curl, or a certain twinkle in your eye, or hears a lilt in the voice or a number of other things that leads them to hear the words, but to interpret them in a way other than what you meant.

Each of the people in the story above may have honestly regretted the actions they took that lead to the accidents mentioned. And maybe they just wanted to have a bit of fun because they were feeling so bad about what happened to other people. I don't know them, so I'll give them the benefit of a doubt (it's just something I do sometimes do when I don't have all the facts) and believe that they did feel bad about what happened. I believe that they made poor choices when they first chose to drink and drive, but even worse choices by first attending the parties and then posting pictures on their MySpace or Facebook accounts.

Should they have gone to jail? Maybe, maybe not. Luckily, I don't have to make that choice. I'm not here to judge. Others, who have been involved in drunken driving cases may feel it was a good decision. Others may not.

Just remember, what you post on any online networking site can be perceived in a manner other than that which you wanted to present. Another thing to remember: anything that you put online will be there forever. Anything posted on the Internet may one day come back to bite you on the butt...big time.