Saturday, October 27, 2012

Summerwind

If a person was forced to choose what the greatest ghost story in Wisconsin might be, it would almost undoubtedly be the legend of Summerwind. This haunted mansion has spawned more strange tales and stories that any other location in the state. What dark secrets remain hidden in the ruins of this once grand estate? Were the stories of ghostly encounters and messages from beyond really true ... or were they part of an elaborate publicity hoax?
Summerwind (Photo Courtesy of Todd Roll)
Located on the shores of West Bay Lake, in the far northeast regions of Wisconsin, are the ruins of a once grand mansion that was called Summerwind. The house is long gone now, but the memories remain ... as do the stories and legends of the inexplicable events that once took place there. Summerwind is perhaps Wisconsin’s most haunted house, or at least it was, before fire and the elements of nature destroyed her. Regardless, even the ravages of time cannot destroy the haunted history of the house.
The mansion was built in 1916 by Robert P. Lamont as a summer home for he and his family. Nestled on the shores of the lake, the house caught the cool breezes of northern Wisconsin and provided a comfortable place for Lamont to escape the pressures of everyday life in Washington D.C., as he would later go on to serve as the Secretary of Commerce under President Herbert Hoover.But life was not always sublime at Summerwind during the years of the Lamont family. For those who claim that the ghost stories of the house were "created" in later years, they forget the original tale of Robert Lamont’s encounter with a spirit. Legends of the house say that Lamont actually fired a pistol at a ghost that he believed was an intruder. The bullet holes in the basement door from the kitchen remained for many years.
Two photos taken at Summerwind the bullet holes that were fired into the basement door by Robert Lamont! The legends say that he was shooting at a ghost at the time!(Photos courtesy of Todd Roll)
Upon the death of Robert Lamont, the house was sold ... and sold again. It seemed that nothing out of the ordinary really happened there, save for Lamont’s encounter with the phantom intruder, until the early 1970's. It was in this period that the family living in the house was nearly destroyed ... supposedly by ghosts.
Arnold Hinshaw, his wife Ginger, and their six children, moved into Summerwind in the early part of the 1970's. They would only reside in the house for six months, but it would be an eventful period of time.From the day that they moved in, they knew strange things were going on in the house. It had been vacant for some time ... but it had apparently been occupied by otherworldly visitors. The Hinshaws, and their children, immediately started to report vague shapes and shadows flickering down the hallways. They also claimed to hear mumbled voices in darkened, empty rooms. When they would walk inside, the sounds would quickly stop. Most alarming was the ghost of the woman who was often seen floating back and forth just past some French doors that led off from the dining room.The family wondered if they were simply imagining things but continued events convinced them otherwise. Appliances, a hot water heater and a water pump would mysteriously break down and then repair themselves before a serviceman could be called.Windows and doors that were closed would reopen on their own. One particular window, which proved especially stubborn, would raise and lower itself at all hours. Out of desperation, Arnold drove a heavy nail through the window casing and it finally stayed closed.On one occasion, Arnold walked out to his car to go to work and the vehicle suddenly burst into flames. No one was near it and it is unknown whether the source of the fire was supernatural in origin or not, but regardless, no cause was ever found for it.
Despite the strange activity, the Hinshaws wanted to make the best of the historic house so they decided to hire some men to make a few renovations. It was most common for the workers to not show up for work, usually claiming illness, although a few of them simply told her that they refused to work on Summerwind ... which was reputed to be haunted. That was when the Hinshaws gave up and decided to try and do all of the work themselves.
One day they began painting a closet in one of the bedrooms. A large shoe drawer was installed in the closet’s back wall and Arnold pulled it out so that he could paint around the edges of the frame. When he did, he noticed that there seemed to be a large, dark space behind the drawer.Ginger brought him a flashlight and he wedged himself into the narrow opening as far as his shoulders. He looked around with the flashlight and then suddenly jumped back, scrambling away from the opening. He was both frightened and disgusted ... there was some sort of corpse jammed into the secret compartment!Believing that an animal had crawled in there and died many years ago, Arnold tried to squeeze back in for a closer look. He couldn’t make out much of anything, so when the children came home from school, he recruited his daughter Mary to get a better look. Mary took the flashlight and crawled inside. Moments later, she let out a scream ... it was a human corpse! She uncovered a skull, still bearing dirty black hair, a brown arm and a portion of a leg.
Why the Hinshaws never contacted the authorities about this body is unknown. Was the story concocted later to fit into the tales of "haunted" Summerwind? Or was their reasoning the truth ... that the body had been the result of a crime that took place many years ago, far too long for the police to do anything about it now.Had they been thinking things through, they might have realized that this body might have been the cause of much of the supernatural activity in the house ... removing it might have laid the ghost to rest, so to speak.Regardless, they left the corpse where they found it ... but it will figure into our story once again.
Shortly after the discovery of the body in the hidden compartment, things started to take a turn for the worse at Summerwind.
Arnold began staying up very late at night and playing a Hammond organ that the couple had purchased before moving into the house. He had always enjoyed playing the organ, using it as a form of relaxation, but his playing now was different. His playing became a frenzied mixture of melodies that seemed to make no sense, and grew louder as the night wore on. Ginger pleaded with him to stop but Arnold claimed the demons in his head demanded that he play. He often crashed the keys on the organ until dawn, frightening his wife and children so badly that they often huddled together in one bedroom, crying and cowering in fear.Arnold had a complete mental breakdown and at the same time, Ginger attempted suicide.
Were the stories of strange events at Summerwind merely the result of two disturbed minds? It might seem so ... but what about the children? They also reported the ghostly encounters. Were they simply influenced by their parents questionable sanity ... or were the stories real?The family’s connection with the house would continue for years to come.
While Arnold was sent away for treatment, Ginger and the children moved to Granton, Wisconsin to live with Ginger’s parents. Ginger and Arnold would eventually be divorced when it looked as though Arnold’s hopes for recovery were failing. Ginger later recovered her health, away from Summerwind at last, and she married a man named George Olsen.Things seemed to be going quite well for her in her new peaceful life, until a few years later, when her father announced that he was going to buy Summerwind.Raymond Bober was a popcorn vendor and businessman who with his wife Marie, planned to turn the old mansion into a restaurant and an inn. He believed that the house would attract many guests to the scenic location on the lake.They had no idea what had happened to their daughter in the house.
Ginger was horrified at her parent’s decision. She had never given them all of the details about what had happened during the six months that she had lived in the house and she refused to do so now. What she did do was to beg them not to buy Summerwind.Bober’s mind was made up however. He announced that he realized the house was haunted, but this would not deter him. He claimed that he had spent time at the house and knew the identity of the ghost that was haunting the place.According to Bober, the ghost was a man named Jonathan Carver, an eighteenth century British explorer who was haunting the house and searching for an old deed that had been given to him by the Sioux Indians. In the document, he supposedly had the rights to the northern third of Wisconsin. The deed had supposedly been placed in a box and sealed into the foundation of Summerwind. Bober claimed that Carver had asked his help in finding it.Bober wrote a book about his experiences at Summerwind and his communications with Carver through dreams, trances and a Ouija board. The book was published in 1979 under the name of Wolffgang von Bober and was called THE CARVER EFFECT. It is currently out-of-print and very hard to find.Shortly after Bober bought the house, he, his son Karl, Ginger and her new husband, George, spent a day exploring and looking over the house. The group had wandered through the place and as they were leaving the second floor, George spotted the closet where the secret compartment was hidden. He began pulling out the drawers and looking behind them, although Ginger begged for him to stop. George was confused. He had simply been curious as to what might be in the drawers. Up until then, Ginger had never told anyone about finding the body behind the closet. Sitting in the kitchen later, she would tell them everything. After hearing the story, the men rushed back upstairs and returned to the closet. Ginger’s brother, Karl, climbed into the space with a light and looked around. In a few moments, he climbed back out ... it was empty! Bober and George also inspected the small space and found nothing. Where had the corpse gone? Had it been removed, either by natural or supernatural forces? Or, most importantly, had it ever really been there at all?
Toward the end of that Summer, Karl traveled alone to the old house. He had gone to get a repair estimate on some work to be done on the house and to check with someone about getting rid of the bats which were inhabiting the place. He also planned to do some yard work and to get the place cleaned up a little.It started to rain the first day that he was there and he began closing some of the windows. He was upstairs, in the dark hallway, and heard a voice call his name. He looked around but there was no one there. Karl closed the window and went downstairs. He walked into the front room and heard what sounded like two pistol shots! He ran into the kitchen and found the room filled with smoke and the acrid smell of gunpowder ... apparently someone had fired a gun inside of the house!Karl searched the place, finding the doors locked and undisturbed. There appeared to be no one inside and he returned to the kitchen. He began looking around the room and discovered two bullet holes in the door leading down to the basement. He examined them closely and realized that they were not new holes at all ... but old bullet holes that had worn smooth around the edges.They were apparently holes left behind from Robert Lamont’s encounter with a ghost in the kitchen. Perhaps events from the past were replaying themselves at Summerwind!No matter what the explanation, it was enough for Karl and he left the house that afternoon.
The plans to turn the house into a restaurant did not go smoothly. Workmen refused to stay on the job, complaining of tools disappearing and feelings as if they were being watched. Marie Bober agreed with their complaints. She was always uneasy in the house and frequently told people that she felt as if she was followed from place to place whenever she was inside.Most disturbing to Bober however was the apparent shrinkage and expansion of the house. Bober would measure rooms one day and then find that they were a different size the next day. Usually, his measurements were larger than those given in the blueprints of the house ... sometime greatly larger. At one point, Bober estimated that he could seat 150 people in his restaurant but after laying out his plans on the blueprints of Summerwind, he realized that the place could seat half that many.Photographs that were taken of the house, using the same camera and taken only seconds apart, also displayed the variations of space. The living room was said to show the greatest enlargement.Bober compared his photos of the living room with those that Ginger had taken when she and Arnold moved in. Ginger’s photos showed curtains on the windows that she took with her when she moved out. The curtains were physically absent in the room that Bober photographed ... but somehow they appeared in his photos!Like the incident involving Karl and the pistol shots, could Summerwind be a place where time inexplicably repeats itself? Perhaps the place wasn’t haunted at all, but instead, was a mysterious site where time was distorted in ways that we cannot understand. Perhaps the shadows and figures that were seen could have been people or images from the past (or the future) and perhaps the sound of someone calling Karl’s name would happen in reality ... several months later. We will never know for sure now, but the idea is something worth considering.
Eventually, the project was abandoned and Bober would never see the dream of his restaurant and inn. Strangely though, despite his claims that he was an earthly companion of the ghostly Jonathan Carver, the Bobers never spent the night inside of the house. They chose instead to sleep in an RV that they parked on the grounds. Also strange was the fact that Carver (if the ghost existed) chose to manifest himself in such malevolent ways ... especially if he was looking for help in finding his deed.Bober’s explanation for this was that Carver resented anyone living in the house or trying to renovate the place, at least until the deed was found. Bober spent many days searching the basement for where the deed might be hidden, chipping the foundation and peering into dark holes and crevices.To this day, the mysterious deed has never been found.
Summerwind (Photo Courtesy of Todd Roll)
In the years that followed Bober’s abandonment of Summerwind, a number of skeptics came forward to poke holes in some of Bober’s claims. Many of their counter-claims, however, have been nearly as easy to discredit as some of Bober’s original ones.Obviously, we are never going to know for sure if Summerwind was really haunted. The house is gone now and we are left with only the claims, reports and witness accounts of Bober and his family.We can examine the claims of the family, and the skeptics, and try to make sense of it all.
In 1983, a freelance writer named Will Pooley set out to gather the facts behind the story and discredit it. His research claimed that even if Bober had found Carver’s deed, it would have been worthless. He based these findings on the fact that the British government ruled against an individual’s purchase of Indian land and also that the Sioux had never claimed land west of the Mississippi River.First of all, the land was not sold to Carver, it was given to him in return for assistance that he had given to the Indians, so British law would not have ruled against this. On the other subject, the Sioux Indians were not a single tribe, they were an entire nation, made up of many different tribes. It is possible, and very likely, that one tribe that belonged to the Sioux nation could have lived in Wisconsin. The white settlers pushed the Indians further and further west and as this particular tribe abandoned their lands, they could have deeded them to Carver.Pooley also argued that the deed to the property had been located in the old land office in Wausau, Wisconsin in the 1930's and that it is unlikely that Carver even journeyed as far north as West Bay Lake.But would he have had to have traveled to northern Wisconsin to hold a deed to the land? And why would there not have been another deed filed for that piece of land? Someone could have claimed it many years later, not even realizing that Carver already held the title to it.He also argued that the deed could have never been placed in the foundation of the house anyway ... Summerwind had been built more than 130 years after Carver died. To this, it can only be argued that many events of the supernatural world go unexplained. One man that Pooley did talk to however, was Herb Dickman of Land 'O Lakes, Wisconsin. He had helped pour the foundation for the house in 1916 and recalled that nothing had been placed in the foundation ... a box containing a deed or anything else. So, who really knows?
Apparently, Bober was not always the most credible person either. Residents who lived close to Summerwind said that Bober spent less than two summers at the estate. After abandoning plans for the restaurant, he tried to get a permit to operate a concession stand near the house but local ordinances prohibited this. Perhaps he was planning the idea of tours of the "haunted" house ... and idea that would come along a little later.There was even some uncertainty as to whether or not Bober even owned Summerwind. One area resident told Pooley that Bober had tried to buy the house on a contract-for-deed but the deal had fallen through. The house had been abandoned and no one laid claim to it, save for the bank, and they never realized what Bober was up to out there. This story has never been verified however and it cannot be proven that Bober did not own the place.So how much of the story that Bober wrote about in his book is true? Was the house really haunted, or was the story of the haunting merely a part of a scheme by Raymond Bober to draw crowds to a haunted restaurant?
Those who live near the house claim that the idea that it is haunted has all come from the fact that the mansion was abandoned and from Bober’s wild claims. But what else would they say?These neighbors have often made it very clear that they resent the strangers who have come to the property, tramping over their lawns and knocking on their doors. They say that the chartered buses that once came and dumped would-be ghost hunters onto the grounds of Summerwind were also unwelcome. These are the last people to ask for an objective opinion on whether this house is actually haunted.So there remains the mystery ... was Summerwind really haunted? No one knows and if they do, they aren’t saying.
The house was completely abandoned in the early 1980's and fell deeper and deeper into ruin. Bats had already taken up residence years before and the house became a virtual shell, resting there in a grove of pines. The windows were shattered and the doors hung open, inviting nature’s destructive force inside.In 1986, the house was purchased by three investors who apparently thought that they could make a go of the place again. But it was not to be ... forces greater than man had other ideas. Summerwind was struck by lightning during a terrible storm in June of 1988 and burned to the ground.Today, only the foundations, the stone chimneys and perhaps the ghosts remain ...

summerwind.gif (49013 bytes)Ruins of Summerwind (Photo Courtesy of Stacy McArdle)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top 5 reasons to vote Romney in November

 1) Mitt is from a blue state and understands how to work with the other party: Mitt Romney spent four years as governor of Massachusetts, which is one of the bluest blue states. In fact, as Romney has noted many times, his legislature was 87% Democrats and yet, he still managed to pass legislation and balance the budget. On the other hand, Barack Obama has spent the last four years at loggerheads with the Republicans in Congress. You can argue about whose fault it is, but the fact of the matter is that Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress have proven to be incapable of cooperating and that seems unlikely to change if he's re-elected. Maybe the same thing will happen if Romney gets into the White House, but he at least has a track record of success in that area while Barack Obama does not.

2) Mitt Romney is a moderate Republican: Take it from someone who ran Notmittromney.com during the primaries and preferred Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman to Romney: Romney was not one of the more conservative candidates running. Although it's possible that Romney will govern very conservatively if he's elected and many of us on the Right will do all we can to try to influence him to do that, the biggest reason some of us fought so hard to stop Mitt Romney was that we feared he would be just as much of a moderate in the White House as he was as the governor of Massachusetts. As a movement conservative, I consider that to be a bug, but if you're an undecided voter, that's probably exactly the kind of feature you're looking for in a President.

 3) He'd be one of the most decent men ever to sit in the Oval Office: This will sound too good to be true, but most of the people reading this column don't know a single, solitary person who is more compassionate and giving than Mitt Romney. Just to name a few of Mitt Romney's acts of charity, he raked leaves for the elderly, he bought milk for veterans at a VA hospital for two years, he helped a dying 14 year old boy write his will. At one point he devoted 10-20 hours per week serving in his church. He made Thanksgiving dinner for a family with a sick child and offered to pay for the college education of two boys who were made quadriplegics in a car wreck. Despite what you may hear in campaign commercials, Mitt Romney is exactly the sort of fundamentally decent man that we should want in a position of power.

4) Who better to get the economy going than a successful businessman? As Paul Ryan noted during his debate with Joe Biden, the economy isn't doing so well.

    Look, did they come in and inherit a tough situation? Absolutely. But we're going in the wrong direction. Look at where we are. The economy is barely limping along. It's growing at 1.3 percent. That's slower than it grew last year and last year was slower than the year before. Job growth in September was slower than it was in August, and August was slower than it was in July. We're heading in the wrong direction; 23 million Americans are struggling for work today; 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty today. This is not what a real recovery looks like.

Who knows more about getting the economy on track, an incredibly successful businessman like Mitt Romney or a politician like Barack Obama? Who knows more about creating jobs? Obviously Barack Obama isn't very good at it; so isn't it time to give a man who has proven himself in the business world a shot at it?

5) What message does it send if you reward failure? When you look at Barack Obama's first term, the successes have been few and far between. The economy is terrible and getting weaker; the unemployment rate is the same as it was when Obama was elected; gas prices have soared. He has run up a trillion dollars of debt every year of his presidency; he spent an inordinate amount of time pushing through an unpopular health care bill that wasn't even read before it was passed; his foreign policy in the Middle East is in chaos. There just isn't much there that makes you say, "Wow, the country could really use a little more of that over the next four years." Meanwhile, Barack Obama hasn't even bothered to flesh out a second term agenda. If the American people reward that kind of performance with a second term, there's no reason to expect anything other than more of the same. Can the country really afford to have another four years just as bad as the last four years?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Windows vs. Linux vs. Mac OS vs. FreeBSD Bout

Here's a comprehensive breakdown of some of the pros and cons of different Operating systems:

The Operating systems in question are as follows:

Linux (Call it a kernel if you will, but I'm generalizing it across all distros)
FreeBSD
Mac OS X
Windows


1. Reliability


Windows:


I don't think there should be any trouble reaching a conclusion here. The majority of windows users are familiar with the "Blue Screen of Death". Poor reliability is a major drawback in windows. How many windows users turn their computers on and hold their breath in anticipation of a crash, or sigh when the computer jams after clicking a button. Some major (read 'publicized') issues were resolved in XP and more recently Windows 7 which uses the vista kernel anyway. But 'code bloat' has introduced more reliability problems. Many windows fans argue that it will be fixed with the next update, and each new update fixes some issues introducing new ones. Windows uses a lot of system resources and it is very difficult to keep the system up for more than a couple of months without it reverting to a crawl as memory gets corrupted and filesystems fragmented. Even frequent maintenance just prolongs the inevitable by a few hours at the most.
Grade: E

Linux:

Linux is well known for it's reliability. Servers will often stay up for years. However, in most distros, disk I/O is non-synchronous by default, which is less reliable for transaction based operations. This can produce a corrupted filesystem after a system crash or power failure, but the new ext4 filesystem changes a lot of things and makes things more stable. This is usually only a problem for people setting up servers, and if they're smart enough they'd change the disk I/O to synchronous anyway. Linux is very dependable for the average desktop user.
Grade: B

FreeBSD:

FreeBSD is extremely robust and has recorded uptime in years. "Soft Updates" optimize the I/O for maximum performance yet still ensures reliability for transaction-based operations such as database calls. I've tried throwing a lot of gunk into the cogs and it is incredibly difficult to crash. Windows and some improperly configured linux distros yeilded to a simple fork bomb e.g : () {:|:}; :
Grade: A

Mac OSX:


To be honest, Leopard did screw some things up in regard to stability but they were pretty much fixed in Snow Leopard. Although it'll take a little more time to sand out some minor kinks, it is extremely reliable for desktop users. On another note, The darwin kernel, which lies at the core of OSX was derived from the FreeBSD architecture and uses the same userland.
Grade: B-


2. Performance




Windows:


Windows is adequate for average desktop use but fails miserably under heavy network loads. A few organizations (I don't think it'd be legally advisable to take names here) try to make it work as a server and suffer from frequent error messages. For their own "hotmail" servers microsoft used BSD for many years. As far as desktop performance is concerned, as long as you don't multi task like crazy, you should be fine.
Grade: C

Linux:


Linux performs well for most applications, however the performance is not so optimal under heavy network load. The network performance of Linux is 20-30% below the capability of FreeBSD running on the same hardware. The situation has improved especially since the 2.4 release of the Linux kernel introduced a new virtual memory system and the open source nature allows technology sharing which rapidly enhances performance tweaks. Linux is very capable of handling loads and can be adapted to almost any requirement or need.
Grade: A

FreeBSD:

FreeBSD is the system of choice for high performance network applications. It will outperform other systems when running on equivalent hardware. The largest and busiest public server on the Internet at ftp.freesoftware.com, uses FreeBSD to serve more than 1.2 terabyte/day of downloads. FreeBSD is used by Yahoo!, Qwest, and many others as their main server OS because of its ability to handle heavy network traffic with high performance and rock stable reliability. This can actually be thought of as derived from a need for faster and more efficient processing due to the compilation process of using the ports collection.
Grade: A
Mac OSX:

OSX is designed specifically to run on a specific set of hardware (apple) and this allows developers to optimize the system for maximum efficiency. However, the closed source nature of the development puts it at a slight disadvantage in regard to the time it takes to fine tune a system. But, all in all, it handles performance very well.
Grade: B-


3. Security


Windows:

Seriously, it doesn't matter how secure Microsoft claims their system is, the reality is that they hold the world record for the most security holes ever (CERT advisories agree). They offer no guarantee of security and their software is not available for inspection or peer review due to the closed-source nature of the OS. There is no way, therefore, for users to fix or diagnose any of the issues regularly published about windows systems. Don't try to play a bullshit argument that hackers target windows only because of it's widespread use because that argument loses premises when I stated CERT advisories above. To give an example, compare telnet which uses a plaintext passcode to protect you, to ssh, which unix-based operating systems use by default, that use heavy rsa encryption to protect you. Microsoft Windows has been affected by a very large number of known security holes that have cost companies millions of dollars.
Grade: F

Linux:

Until a couple of years ago, there was no formal code review policy, and because of that many linux distributions still use non-secure defaults, and has been susceptible to Unix-based CERT attacks, but the open-source nature allows for this to be fixed very rapidly. And linux does include a very robust packet filtering firewall system and a competent administrator can remove unsafe services. An example of rapid response fixing is when Konqueror and IE were both discovered to have a loophoe in their SSL protocols which allowed for it to be remotely exploited; the KDE dev team went through incoming solution proposals and had a fix out within the hour. Microsoft took a month to announce that they were working on a fix. 'Nuff said.
Grade: B-

FreeBSD:

FreeBSD has been the subject of a massive auditing project for several years. All of the critical system components have been checked and rechecked for security-related errors. The entire system is open source so the security of the system can and has been verified by third parties. A default FreeBSD installation has yet to be affected by a single CERT advisory. It also has a notion of kernel security levels, virtual server jails (which are a pretty unique innovation), capabilities, ACLs, a very robust packet filtering firewall system, and intrusion detection tools. BSD is more mature than linux and when it comes to security it has all the necessary tools to keep you safe. On a side note: OpenBSD is supposed to be the BSD channel that is optimized for security, FreeBSD is meant for performance
Grade: A

Mac OSX:

Mac OSX inherits it's rock solid security from it's unix lineage and therefore has very few vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities that are most common actually take advantage of backdoors in microsoft office for mac applications. Microsoft is yet to release a fix for this (With the heavy competition, it's not hard to fathom why). But OSX makes it's procedures very user-friendly, unfortunately, it does not make it idiot-proof and a person could very easily open up his hard disk for remote access (even though a password is required y default, if the person is dumb enough not to know what he's doing then he/she probably doesn't have a strong password either)
Grade: B


4. File-system


Windows:


The windows FAT and NTFS file-systems are plagued with 20 years of backward compatibility with some of the earliest PC-based file-systems. These file-systems are not designed for today's server applications in mind. Heck, they weren't even designed with a multi-user OS or networking in mind. The maximum file size is roughly 4GB if I'm not mistaken, whereas it's 16GB in ext3 and 1TB in ext4 both of which are unix filesystems. Higher single file sizes reduce and eliminate fragmentation within a filesystem. So, basically, the Windows file-system is walking on two broken legs, but it's walking nonetheless.
Grade: D

Linux:


The new journaled ext3 and ext4 filesystems fix the problems with ext2 which is now mostly only used as swap, and the ext2 gets it's performance via an asynchronous mount (which is good for swap, not so much for file storage).
They offer extremely good performance and the trend of improvement shows great promise for the future. It is currently a rock-solid file-system.
Grade: B+

FreeBSD:

FreeBSD uses the Berkeley Fast Filesystem, which is a little more complex than Linux's ext3. It offers a better way to ensure file-system data integrity, mainly with the "softupdates" option. This option decreases synchronous I/O and increases asynchronous I/O because writes to an FFS file-system aren't synced on a sector basis but according to the file-system structure. This ensures that the file-system is always coherent between two updates. The FreeBSD file-system also supports file flags, which can stop a would-be intruder dead in his tracks. There are several flags that you can add to a file such as the immutable flag. The immutable (schg) flag won't allow any alteration to the file or directory unless you remove it. Other very handy flags are append only (sappnd), cannot delete (sunlnk), and archive (arch). When you combine these with the kernel security level option, you have a nearly impenetrable system. The FreeBSD file-system has also been reworked for 8.0 and adds many new features.
Grade: A

Mac OSX:

The HFS+ file-system on the mac is a huge improvement over HFS which suffered problems namely with font labels and block size allocation mapping algorithms. This file-system is one of apple's greatest triumphs and is the same on used in the ipod, if you were wondering. Although complete data integrity is still a little questionable, it rarely poses any problems and the HFS wrapper can easily be changed to encrypt data without having to change into a crypto_luks file-system or similiar.
Grade: A


5. Device drivers

Windows:

Microsoft has excellent relations with device vendors, and by excellent I mean lucrative. This allows them to attract a large number of drivers, and even though there are often conflicts on different versions of windows, and you have to hassle with cd's or finding drivers yourself most of the time; Windows users have excellent access to third-party drivers.
Grade: A

Linux:

The linux community makes it difficult for vendors to release binary only drivers, usually in an effort to make them release open-source drivers. Now, most device vendors don't wan't other people peeping into their source code, so the binaries that they release are an example of what happens when closed-source clashes with open source... lot's of frustrating glitches that the community can't fix due to absence of source code. Many simply create their own, but this takes a lot of time and effort. Giving away drivers to an open-source community isn't really as lucrative for the vendors so they are reluctant to release them. This situation is changing, however, since now more and more people have started using linux, including some of the hardware vendors themselves. But honestly, if you're determined enough, you usually find a way for it to work, and most linux users are tech-savvy enough for it. (Support groups are free if you need a geek)
Grade: C-

FreeBSD:

The FreeBSD bootloader can load binary drivers at boot-time. This allows third-party driver manufacturers to distribute binary-only driver modules that can be loaded into any system. Due to the open-source nature of FreeBSD, it is very easy to develop device drivers for new hardware. Unfortunately, most device manufacturers will only release binaries for Microsoft operating systems (keyword: lucrativeness). This means that it can take several months after a hardware device hits the market until a native device driver is available.
Fortunately, FreeBSD also includes full NDIS API compatibility, so that binary Windows network device drivers can be loaded into the FreeBSD kernel directly. Basically, it converts the windows driver into a kernel module, kinda like ndiswrapper in linux, except it's easier to understand and do in FreeBSD.
Grade: B

Mac OSX:

Due to the hardware exclusivity of apple, drivers are not an issue at all. They make the hardware, and they make the software, so they make them work good with each other. Third-party drivers are also available for OSX users, but they rarely ever need them. The only situation in which I needed a driver when using OSX was with a printer, but it automatically fetched the driver for me so that kind of eliminates the 'hunting' part.
Grade: A


6. Commercial applications

Windows:

There are hundreds of thousands of commercial applications applications for windows, and usually only for windows. Nearly all commercial desktop applications (yes that includes games) are made only for windows. If you have an important application that runs only on windows, then you have to run that applications either in windows or a windows emulator such as wine or cedega.
Grade: A

Linux:


Many new commercial applications are available for Linux, and more are being developed. Unfortunately, Linux can only run binaries that are specifically compiled for the distribution in question. It is unable to run programs compiled for FreeBSD, SCO Unix, or other popular operating systems without significant effort. On the other hand, emulators such as wine (free) and crossover (not free) allow windows binaries to be executed so this opens up a whole new commercial application library for Linux.
Grade: C

FreeBSD:

The number of commercial applications for FreeBSD is growing rapidly, but is still below what is available for windows. In addition to native applications, FreeBSD can also run programs compiled for Linux, SCO Unix, and BSD/OS. Wine, cedega and cross-over are also available for FreeBSD.
Grade: C+

Mac OSX:


Most popular commercial applications are available for OSX and recently, there has been a lot of growth in the number of commercial applications available. Some applications such as Aperture 2 are exclusive to OSX and tend to be of a very good quality. Cross-Over is also available for OSX
Grade: C

NOTE: I have not mentioned the fact that all Operating systems can run virtual machines which can then run a seperate operating system within the one you are currently running. Notable examples are VirtualBox and Parallels.

7. Free applications


Windows:

The amount of free Windows software is much less than what is available for Unix. Many Windows applications are provided as "shareware", without source code, so the programs cannot be customized, debugged, improved, or extended by the user. Piracy is illegal and thus I am not considering pirated copies of applications or warez as "free". Licensed free-ware for windows is not common in this context.
Grade: D

Linux:

There are huge numbers of free programs available for Linux. All GNU software runs on both Linux and FreeBSD without modification. Some of the free programs for Linux differ between distributions, because Linux does not have a central ports collection. If you're using a commercial application, chances are there is an open source version of it that does exactly the same thing, maybe without some of the eye-candy though. It's kind of like a modified rule 34: If there is a commercial app for it, there is open-source for it. If not then it must be created.
Grade: A

FreeBSD:

There are many, many gigabytes of free software applications available for FreeBSD. It includes thousands of software packages and an extensive ports collection, all with complete source code. Many people consider the FreeBSD Ports Collection to be the most accessible and easiest to use library of free software packages available anywhere. In fact, Gentoo Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and many other operating systems have borrowed and extended the famous Ports Collection.
Grade: A

Mac OSX:
Borrowing from it's unix background again, OSX runs all FreeBSD binaries and can tap into port collections modified especially for Mac OSX. Basically, it leaves the dirty work to open-source (lolz).
Grade: A


8. Development Environment

Windows:
Very few development tools are included with Windows. Most need to be purchased separately, and are rarely compatible with each other. Vista tried to introduce a "Powershell" but it introduced more security vulnerabilities and not much of a development environment.
Grade: F

Linux:
Linux includes a large array of development tools, with compilers and interpreters for every common programming language, all the GNU programs, including the powerful GNU C/C++ Compiler, Emacs editor, and GDB debugger. Unfortunately, due to the very splintered nature of Linux, applications that you compile on one system (Red Hat) may not work on another Linux system (Slackware). This is why it's simpler to create a makefile and configure file, and let the user compile it own his/her own. Alternatively, the developer can compile it as deb for debain based distros and rpm for red hat based distros; That will cover a lot of the general linux population, the rest are more than likely skilled enough to compile a program (which isn't difficult by the way - you just have to run the right file)
Grade: B+

FreeBSD:
FreeBSD includes an extensive collection of developer tools. You get a complete C/C++ development system (editor, compiler, debugger, profiler, etc.) and powerful Unix development tools for Java, HTTP, Perl, Python, TCL/TK, Awk, Sed, etc. All of these are free, and are included in the basic FreeBSD installation. All come with full source code.
Grade: A

Mac OSX:
Since OSX is unix-based, the usual goodies tag along. Goodies like the C/C++ compiler, vi, emacs, sed, HTTP, Perl etc. Some stuff you might have to get yourself, but it's not hard to do.
Grade: A


9. Development Infrastructure

Windows:
Microsoft Windows is a closed-source operating system driven by market demand rather than technical merit. New technologies are rushed into the product before they have been properly designed or fully implemented. Very little is known about the internal development infrastructure of Microsoft but the "blue-screen of death" speaks for itself. In simpler words, the next security patch, or new version, and release cycle, is all decided by a business-minded bureaucrat who's looking for the biggest profit margin. The development team is a small-knit community of programmers who don't have enough time or resources to patch holes caused by the previous development team's incompetence or rather powerlessness.
Grade: F

Linux:
Linux is a Unix-like kernel that must be combined with the GNU system to make a complete operating system. Linux does not use any version control system so all bug-fixes and enhancements must be emailed back and forth on mailing lists and ultimately submitted to the one person (Linus) who has authority to commit the code to the tree. Due to the overwhelming amount of code that gets written, it is impossible for one person to adequately quality control all of the pending changes. For this reason there is a lot of code in Linux that was hastily written and would never have been accepted into a more conservative operating system. This is where the distro concept come in. The kernel is at the heart of the system but developers can combine it with their own mix of software to create a "flavor" like ubuntu is a different flavor than opensuse. And in this way there are hundreds of "flavors" each with their own development infrastructure which usually tends to resemble that of FreeBSD.
Grade: B

FreeBSD:
FreeBSD is an advanced BSD Unix operating system. The source code for the entire system is available in a centralized source code repository running under CVS. A large team (300+) of senior developers has write access to this repository and they coordinate development by reviewing and committing the best changes of the development community at large. FreeBSD is engineered to find elegant solutions for overall goals, rather than quick hacks to add new functionality. Since FreeBSD is a complete open-source operating system, rather than just a kernel, you can recompile and reinstall the entire system by simply typing one command, "make world". Cool eh?
Grade: A

Mac OSX:
Now this is also a closed source operating system with a development infrastructure similar to windows. But it's links with it's unix counterparts allow for better development resources for the dev team to work with.
Grade: E


10. Support

Windows:
Although support is available for Windows, you should be prepared to spend as long as an hour on hold, with no guarantee that your problem will be resolved. Because of the closed source nature of Windows, there is no informal, free support available, and bugs can only be fixed on Microsoft's schedule, not yours. Windows is not updated frequently, you may wait years for bugs to be fixed.
Grade: D-

Linux:
Many organizations provide professional support for Linux. All the major Linux vendors offer some level of support, and several offer full 24x7 service. There are many forums where Linux questions are answered for free, such as newsgroups and mailing lists. As a last resort, you can always use the source to track down and fix a problem yourself. Now, that's what support should look like.
Grade: A

FreeBSD:
Several organizations, including the FreeBSD Mall, offer a wide range of support options. In addition to 24x7 professional support, there is a large amount of free, informal support available through Usenet newsgroups and mailing lists, such as questions@freebsd.org. Once a problem is found, source code patches are often available within a few hours. Another point I should better include is that there is a FreeBSD Handbook available, which covers pretty much everything anyone would need. No other operating system has such a thing, oh and did I mention it's free?
Grade: A

Mac OSX:
Macintosh is usually pretty good about support but then again, due to the closed-source nature there is little informal support. Now, the reason I said little here and none with windows, is that Mac OSX is not entirely closed source and the unix foundation is open-source and that can be used to solve a lot of problems.
Grade: D


11. Price and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

Windows:
The server edition of Windows XP costs nearly $700. Don't even get me started on W7 and Vista. Even basic applications cost extra. Users often spend many thousands of dollars for programs that are included for free with Linux or FreeBSD. Documentation is expensive, and very little on-line documentation is provided. A license is required for every computer, which means delays and administrative overhead. The initial learning curve for simple administration tasks is smaller than with Unix, (which can be explained by more people having experience with windows, it being so popular) but it also requires a lot more work to keep the system running with any significant work load. Therefore, be prepared to cough up some dough, both at the start and for maintenance.
Grade: F

Linux:
Linux is free. Several companies offer commercial aggregations at very low cost. Applications and documentation is available for little or no cost. There are no licensing restrictions, so Linux can be installed on as many systems as you like for no additional cost. Linux's total cost of ownership is very low or none, depending on what you go for.
Grade: A

FreeBSD:
FreeBSD can be downloaded from the Internet for free. Or it can be purchased on a four CDROM set along with several gigabytes of applications for $40. All necessary documentation is included. Support is available for free or for very low cost. There is no user licensing, so you can quickly bring additional computers online. This all adds up to a very low (or zero) total cost of ownership.
Grade: A

Mac OSX:
Most people complain that OSX is more expensive to get than a windows computer. The down payment should not be the only thing taken into consideration. Windows has high system requirements, for which you need to get more of some sort of hardware, and you end up buying a new computer often. Then you have costs for anti-virus and stuff like that (that is pretty obsolete for unix-users) and then maintenance fees incurred. So even though the price of equivalent apple equipment may seem slightly higher, in the long run the Total Cost of Ownership turns out to be quite less than with windows, all depending on the configuration, of course.
Grade: E


12. User Interface and Ease of Use

Windows:
Windows has pretty much used the same UI for over 10 years, adding tweaks here and there to make it seem "new, and improved" whereas the truth is the UI isn't very savvy when you compare it with the unix alternatives. As far as ease of use, windows is not actually easy to work in, and if you use it, your desktop is probably cluttered with icons. You need to perform more actions to do the same thing that you could do with less clicks in a unix-environment. The way the navigation is arranged is pretty sloppy once you use something like GNOME. In a recent study with elderly people who had never used a computer before, more found GNOME and the OSX DE to be more easy to use than either the WINDOWS DE or KDE. The myth that windows is easy to use only stems from the large number of people who use it or have to use it, and that makes them familiar with the environment.
Grade: D+

Linux:
Most distros, by default come with an intuitive UI such as GNOME, and there are many many more available such as KDE, fluxbox, enlightenment, openbox, IceWM, XFCE, etc. The interface is extremely easy to use, and there are distributions which deal with migrating windows users and give them a familiar environment whilst transitioning them into new ones. Although, for people absolutely new to computers I would recommend GNOME.
Grade: A

FreeBSD:
Like some distros of linux (eg. Arch). FreeBSD dumps you into the command-line by default (Unless you configure X during setup). This is 'delicious' to users who prefer the command line, but for people who only know wich button to click to get to their email, this is over their head. In such a situation PC-BSD or desktop-bsd can intervene giving a graphical installer and a GUI by default. Again, all open source DE's and WM's are available for BSD.
Grade: C

Mac OSX:
The default UI is simply gorgeous, much like KDE is gorgeous, but this is a different kind of pretty. The interface is intuitive and easy to use although some aspects may pose some difficulty for lifetime windows users (which causes some of them to absolutely hate it, similar to how some people react to country music in a manner of disgust but love classic rock).
Grade: B+


Final Standings

The scoring for the grades are as follows:

A= 10
B= 8
C= 6
D= 4
E= 2
F= 0




WindowsLinuxFreeBSDMac OSX
Reliability28107
Performance610107
Security07108
File-system491010
Device Drivers105810
Commercial Applications10676
Free Applications4101010
Development Environment091010
Development Infrastructure08102
Support310104
Price and TCO010102
UI and Ease of Use51069
Raw Aggregate:4410211185
Low Handicap (+5 for every score below five, just for the heck of it)8x5= +40003x5 = +15
Total (with handicap)84102111100



So, with a handicap inclusive total; The overall grades are as follows:

Windows: C+ (+0.00pts)

Linux: B (+0.50pts)

FreeBSD: B+ (+0.25pts)

MacOSX: B (+0.33pts)

Ignore the fractional points in the brackets, that's only for people who are on the fence between two similar grades. All in all, I think I did a pretty decent job at analyzing each OS without prejudice, and if you felt that I did, well that's why I added the handicap, which is actually pretty generous. Feedback is welcome (no trolls please), and If you have any requests for a specifc review or comparison, feel free to say so in the comments (open to all humans with a computer). Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bought Shining Force III

I love RPGs which is why a few months ago I bought Panzer Dragoon Saga, the best game nobody has played. Panzer Dragoon Saga used Saturn to its full potential. It had polygon transparency that 90% of Saturn games never had. Squaresoft, had it developed for Saturn, would've had transparency. Saturn never had high profile RPGs. I bought a RPG For Sega Saturn, Shining Force III Scenario I, a 1998 game. I've played all the high budget Squaresoft, Working Designs, Atlus and Enix games for Playstation in the 2000s. I've played Panzer Dragoon Saga, the only RPG. Dragon Force, which I also own, is a strategy RPG. I only played a days worth on Dragon Force. Dragon Force isn't a Final Fantasy Tactics. Shining Force III emulates the greatness of Shining Force II, which was Sega Genesis's second best RPG after Phantasy Star IV. This game came out 2 years after Super Mario RPG and Sonic 3D Blast. Sega had this thing about 2.5D games on Saturn. Sega Saturn had many 2.5D shoot em ups like Radiant Silvergun, Don Don Pachi, and Battle Garegga.
Shining Force III is well received from videogame reviews, about a 8.5 out of 10, an equivalent of Atlus's Persona 2 or Squaresoft's Final Fantasy Tactics for Playstation.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tea Party Movement

The TEA Party Movement (TEA is a backronym for Taxed Enough Already) is an ongoing, nationwide mainstream movement of grassroots protesters, encompassing millions of individuals and thousands of self-organizing groups, all united in accomplishing a single goal: returning fiscal responsibility and limited government to the United States through the exercise of political activism.[1] The main focus of the TEA Party Movement is a rebuke of outrageous mandates, overspending and a radical agenda by an out of touch federal government with values similar to King George III (see Boston Tea Party).[2]

Contents

[hide]

Beginnings

The birth of the Tea Party Movement is often traced to February 2009; however, while Rick Santelli's famous impassioned speech on CNBC was perhaps the most visible spark that ignited Tea Party gatherings across the nation, the movement's genesis was in progress long before that notable day.[3] The movement was in gestation for years, in the hearts and minds of American citizens concerned about the path down which progressive policies have been taking the United States of America. The emergence of the Tea party Movement has been called Main Street America's indictment against the ruling class.[4]
In the fall of 2007, supporters of Ron Paul staged a re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party as a fundraiser event, and to promote Paul's bid for the presidency.[5][6] With a silent but growing number of concerned citizens worried about the increasing government debt, impetus was given to the grassroots movement when radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh criticized the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on January 27, 2009. Limbaugh accurately predicted the stimulus bill would make the recession worse, and said it is the wrong kind of government intervention.
I don't believe it is a "stimulus plan" at all -- I don't think it stimulates anything but the Democratic Party. This 'porkulus' bill is designed to repair the Democratic Party's power losses from the 1990s forward, and to cement the party's majority power for decades."[7]
On February 9, 2009, a Cape Coral woman named Mary Rakovich led a small protest outside President Barack Obama's townhall meeting in Fort Myers, Florida.[8][9] Then in late March of 2009, faced with the prospect of heavy fines from the city for not having the proper permitting or insurance, Mary Rakovich moved forward with future protests but with the backing of national organization FreedomWorks. Rakovich said FreedomWorks offered to provide the insurance per the city's rules.[10]
The first anti-spending protest, organized by Liberty Belle, occurred in Seattle, Washington on February 16, 2009.[11][12] Another protest was held the following day in Denver on February 17,[13] and a protest in Mesa, Arizona on February 18 brought 500 protesters.[14] The American people began organizing Tea Party protests en masse after Rick Santelli's famous speech on February 19, when he declared, "We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July! All you capitalists that want to show up at Lake Michigan, I'm going to start organizing."

Shout Heard 'Round the World

The Tea Party Movement gained support when on February 19, on live TV, CNBC reporter Rick Santelli argued about the bailouts and shouted, "The government is promoting bad behavior."[15][16] Standing in the middle of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Santelli declared that America needed "a new kind of tea party," so that citizens can express their discontent with "the government's support of fiscal irresponsibility."[17][18][19]
The government is promoting bad behavior! [...] How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? Raise their hand. (boos) President Obama, are you listening?! We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up at Lake Michigan, I'm going to start organizing. [...] I'll tell you what, if you read our Founding Fathers, people like Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson, what we're doing in this country now, is making them roll over in their graves.[20]
With the help of DontGo, Top Conservatives on Twitter (TCOT), Smart Girl Politics (SGP), The American Spectator, Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, and The Heartland Institute, the Chicago Tea Parties were scheduled to happen nationwide on February 27, 2009.[21]

February 27th Tea Parties

Americans across the country gathered in 50 cities to protest the newly-passed Stimulus Bill of 2009.[22] Over 30,000 people made it to this event.[23] Many at the event were upset over the economic stimulus packages and bailouts for Wall Street pushed through by both President Bush and President Obama's administrations.[24][19]
Location Sponsors[25] Details
Atlanta, Georgia TCOT, SGP, Don'tGo A reported 300 to 400 protesters gathered outside the Georgia Capitol in protest of a $787 billion recovery bill.[26][27]
Chicago, Illinois Don'tGo[28] Approximately 300 people braved the 25 degree cold and wind in Chicago.[29][30][19]
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Americans for Prosperity,[31] TCOT, SGP, Don'tGo, Dallas County Young Republicans A "Texas-sized Tea Party" of 300 or more Texans met in Fort Worth, protesting big government and taxes.[32] One sponsor, TCOT, collected over 800 signatures during the event.[33]
Denver, Colorado TCOT, SGP, Don'tGo At the East Capitol Steps, 100 "Atlas Shrugged" fans braved cold temperatures for a "Nationwide Chicago Tea Party" to protest the Obama Administration's bailout plan.[34][35]
Houston, Texas TBD Large groups, not entirely made up of Republicans, tried to create a modern day version of the Boston Tea Party.[36][37]
Washington, D.C. Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Young Conservatives Coalition, The Heartland Institute The American Tea Party made some noise outside the White House.[38][39] Several hundred taxpayers showed up at the DC Tea Party protest in Lafayette Park,[40][41] including "Joe the Plumber."[42]

Scheduled Rallies

Tax Day Tea Party poster

Tax Day Tea Party

Main Article: Tax Day Tea Party
Success from the Chicago Tea Party protests, as part of a concerted nationwide effort, led to the first of many scheduled Tea Party rallies. Following the February 27th Tea Parties, a group called Americans for Prosperity of North Carolina began implementing plans for a "Tax Day" Tea Party rally in Raleigh on the tax filing deadline.[43] Leading up to the Tax Day Tea Parties, the events were organized and promoted by volunteers, activists, and Political action committees across the United States.[44] By taking advantage of online viral marketing to get the word out,[45] the speed and scope with which the Tax Day Tea Party protests were organized can be attributed to the use of Twitter #TCOT feeds,[46] on blogs,[47] and the social networking Website Facebook.[48]

2009

The Tea Party Movement held its first scheduled nationwide protest on April 15, 2009, a day that became known as the Tax Day Tea Party.[49][50] In the spirit of the Founding Fathers Boston Tea Party, the rallies used themes from the American Revolution and also adopted the "American Tea Party Anthem," a song first performed during a March 21, 2009 Orlando, Florida Tea Party that drew over 4,000 people.[51][52][53] Dick Armey of FreedomWorks became one of Washington's principal supporters of the Tea Party movement.[54] Glenn Beck, Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and many others encouraged and even participated in aspects of the movement.
President Obama is seen to have responded to the tea parties with requested budget cuts of $100 million on April 20, 2009.[55] Rush Limbaugh contended, "I'm sure they've got internal polling data that shows these tea parties are successful and these tea parties are a problem. So they're responding to the tea parties here. That's all this is." According to a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey on April 20, 2009, the poll found that fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans had a favorable view of the tea parties held nationwide, including 32% who said their view of the events were "Very favorable." Thirty-three percent (33%) held an unfavorable opinion of the tea parties. Fifteen percent (15%) were not sure.[56]

2010

The Tea Party Patriots[57] announced a milestone in the Tea Party movement: 2 million people attended the April 15 Tea Party events across the country in 2010, and 2,000 groups are now voluntarily affiliated with the Tea Party Patriots through its Web site.[58][59] Recent polls have shown that 48% of voters believe their views are reflected more closely in the values of the Tea Party movement than in the views of President Obama.

Independence Day

Main Article: Independence Day Tea Party
The same organizations decided to repeat their performance on Independence Day (July 4, 2009). Even more people attended; the largest such rally was held on the grounds of the Southfork Ranch (scene of the television series Dallas '), in Plano, Texas, which drew 37,000 attendees. The themes that organizers and participants sounded at these events were much the same as were those at the Tax Day events: advocacy of limited government, decrying of high levels of taxation, and refusal to countenance plans for socialism and especially socialized medicine.

Labor Day

Several organizations also organized Tea Parties on Labor Day, once again sounding the same limited-government, low-tax, and anti-socialistic themes. Those organizations that did not plan such events often referred people to those that did.

September 12 March on Washington

Main Article: September 12 March on Washington
Gadsden snake.jpg
The largest TEA Party event thus far has been the September 12 March on Washington, DC. This was an event organized initially by the FreedomWorks Foundation, but nearly all Tea Party organizations decided to participate in this event, primarily by chartering buses and registering people for transportation to Washington. FreedomWorks estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 persons attended, and they base that estimate on the number of persons who responded when their Master of Ceremonies asked all attendees within earshot to send the text message "Freedom" to a designated five-digit telephone number. However, the London Daily Mail estimates attendance at as many as a million persons, on the basis of eyewitness accounts and aerial-photographic evidence.[60] Estimates of total attendance are difficult to obtain, primarily because the size of the crowd far exceeded the estimates by the event planners, with the result that many attendees were never able to get within earshot of the stage or even the sound system, and the temporary sanitary facilities were hopelessly jammed, with fifty persons standing in line to use each portable "necessary."

Operation: Can You Hear us Now?

TEA party demonstrations have targeted local and national media outs across the country to oppose massive government spending. In a press release, the movement was led by FaxDC in about 100 cities across the U.S. on September 17th. [61] Rush Limbaugh has previously spoke for the need for such media targeted TEA protests.
  • NBC studios in Burbank
  • CNN in Atlanta and
  • Affiliate stations of NBC, ABC and CBS
  • The New York Times
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Other prominent newspapers.
Canyouhearusnow.jpg

TEA Party Movie

TEA PARTY: The Documentary Film was released Thanksgiving Day 2009, is a documentary of five grassroots activists. The story line "from home town rally goers and rally organizers to national activists taking part in the 912 Taxpayer March on Washington." The theme is about principles, a call for a return to constitutionally limited government, personal responsibility, and fiscal restraint at the Federal level. TEA Party the Movie

Pink Slips Campaign

Main Article: Pink Slips campaign
Organized in part by Joseph Farah from WorldNetDaily, they had a goal of sending each and every member of Congress more than 5,000,000 pink slips.
Each pink slip reads YOU ARE BEING PUT ON NOTICE and
  • government health care
  • cap and trade
  • "hate crimes"
  • any more spending
"If you vote for any of these, your real pink slip will be issued in the next election"
As of November 2009, 8 million pink slips have been sent to Congress at a cost of $29 each [62]

Noteworthy achievements

Elections

Education

  • The Tea Party Movement has exposed the progressive agenda and its significant correlation with the failings of higher education in America.[65]
Neither professors of political science nor of history have made a priority of instructing students in the founding principles of American constitutional government. Nor have they taught about the contest between the progressive vision and the conservative vision that has characterized American politics since Woodrow Wilson helped launch the progressive movement in the late 19th century by arguing that the Constitution had become obsolete and hindered democratic reform. ... They do little to teach about self-government. They certainly do not teach about the virtues, or qualities of mind and character, that enable citizens to shoulder their political responsibilities and prosper amidst the opportunities and uncertainties that freedom brings. Nor do they teach the beliefs, practices and associations that foster such virtues and those that endanger them. ... [America's] universities have produced two generations of highly educated people who seem unable to recognize the spirited defense of fundamental American principles, even when it takes place for more than a year and a half right in front of their noses.

Themes

The Tea Party Movement is a protest of the generational theft of public tax monies, the tremendous extensions of United States Federal debt and authority, the apparent restructuring of the Federal government with the intent to contravene the system of checks and balances for which the Constitution provides, and the attempt, which some movement organizers say has been in progress for several decades, to sacrifice liberty for permanent dependency. The Tea Party Movement began with a protest against two aspects of current public policy:
  1. Excessive taxation
  2. Special privilege
Rick Santelli specifically cited the mortgage bailout policies of early 2009 as a prize example of the government doing special favors for certain classes of voters, in return for their continued support, and also of the "moral hazard" in which such policies inevitably place anyone who "buys on time," i.e., buys any sort of asset, from a home appliance to a parcel of real estate, using borrowed money.
As the movement has progressed, it has begun to sound broader themes, which one may best summarize as:
  1. Self-responsibility
  2. Self-autonomy
  3. Limited government
  4. A requirement that government live within its own means, just as individuals must live within theirs
  5. Capitalism
  6. Freedom of all varieties of production and trade
  7. Respect for the United States Constitution

Characteristics

Autonomy of local organizers

Most organization of Tea Parties and similar events is local. Typical of the movement is the Morristown Tea Party Organization (Morristown, New Jersey), which has a five-member board of trustees and about fifty dedicated volunteers who handle operations, communication, and logistics without assistance or direction from any regional or other organization. State-wide coordinating bodies do exist (for example, New Jersey Tea Parties United), but local organizations are responsible for most of their activities, fund-raising, and legal functioning. In this regard, the Tea Party Movement is similar to the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America, which never seeks to dictate to individual churches how they must conduct their affairs.

Individual comportment and deportment

Event participants, and especially event planners, are urged to comport themselves in a manner respectful of the rights and feelings of others. Organizational leaders consciously endeavor to distinguish their movement from many liberal protest movements, which often characterize themselves by rude behavior, vandalism, and even physical assaults against their opponents. Any person who persistently suggests that Tea Party Movement participants engage in activities remotely similar to this may usually consider themselves excluded, and in some cases organizers have summoned law-enforcement authorities to deal with provocative behavior by attendees at planning and other meetings.

Symbols

Gadsden flag.png
By far the most prominent symbol at Tea Parties is the Gadsden Rattlesnake Flag.[66][67] The Come And Take It Flag has also appeared most notably at the September 12 March on Washington. Tea Party participants have almost always used home-made and home-decorated signs and other artifacts, in sharp contrast to the uniform, professionally printed signs carried at liberal demonstrations. Most of the signs bear lampoons of the most highly publicized Obama Administration policies, from "Czars" to socialized medicine; moreover, Barack Obama is not the only target of criticism, the MSM has also been challenged in some rallies, both for their failings in covering the Tea Party Movement and also for what most participants regard as a collective decision by Mainstream Media organs to function as de facto government and/or Democratic Party as organs rather than the objective and disinterested commentators that they pretend to be.
Some of the signs that have been seen and photographed at these events have provoked cries of outrage from Tea Party Movement opponents, alleging bad taste, e.g. a picture of Barack Obama with the square mustache affected by Adolf Hitler and bearing the caption "I've Changed," and a sign bearing the message "Bury ObamaCare with Kennedy." After the liberal Mainstream Media quickly blamed conservatives and even Rush Limbaugh, some research was done to find the true source of the Hitler poster. It was later uncovered that the provocative Hitler signs were from a group of far-left Lyndon LaRouche supporters, as they were infiltrating the Tea Party rallies as a means to spread their extreme visions.[68]

Demographic profile

A Quinnipiac Poll conducted in March 2010 found that thirteen percent of American voters say they are part of the Tea Party movement, a group containing more women than men. 49% told pollsters they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, while only 44% voted for John McCain.[69] Despite these findings, the White House has been linked to efforts to label the Tea Party as racist.[70]

News Coverage

Attitude of Tea Party Movement participants toward four MSM outlets
By far the most industrious news organization that has covered the Tea Party Movement is the Fox News Channel, especially with commentators Neil Cavuto, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren. Coverage of the Tea Party events by the Mainstream Media has lacked both quantity and quality. The three traditional broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) have attempted to falsely discredit these events as corporate-sponsored or sponsored by the Republican Party and other conservative or reactionary groups, and have generally censored the movement by refusing to cover major events.[71][72]

Uncivil Language

Several news anchors working for CNN and MSNBC used uncivil language to describe Tea Partiers and coined the phrase "teabaggers," which is a crude term used to slur conservatives. Additionally, President Obama used the crude term as an off-color connotation attempting to mock Tea Party Movement organizers and participants across the nation. During an interview with the New York Times, Barack Obama described the people of the Tea Party Movement as "the teabag, anti-government [extremists]."[73] Vice President Joe Biden accused Tea Partiers of having "acted like terrorists" in a fight over raising the nation’s debt limit, according to several sources in the room with him, as reported by Politico.[74][75][76]
Confronted with an epidemic of joblessness in her home state of California, liberal-socialist[77] House representative Maxine Waters tried deflecting blame by telling a group of supporters that the "Tea Party can go straight to hell."[78] She then threatened: "And I intend to help them get there."[79] At a Labor Day speech with Barack Obama in attendance, right before the president spoke, James P. Hoffa declared war against the Tea Party Movement. He offered to a cheering Obama, "President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these sons of bitches out."[80][81] In a show of the same attitudes that several liberal leaders have expressed in graphic and ugly form, anonymous liberals created a Tea Party murder game, called "Tea Party Zombies Must Die."[82]

Death Threats

Tea Party organizers are not controlled or funded by the Republican Party or any established interest group. However, FreedomWorks and Dick Armey are well known supporters of the Tea Party Movement, and thus receive dozens of threatening and harassing calls and E-mails each day. FreedomWorks provided U.S. News & World Report with some of the recordings of the threatening calls, which include physical threats and profanity aimed at the group, Tea Party spokesmen and even conservative talkers. "You guys better watch it," says one caller. "Now, we are going to destroy and obliterate Rush [Limbaugh] and Sean Hannity," said another. "Those two guys are dead."[83]

Commentary

Gordon Anderson wrote:
Corruption and abuse of power seek to cloak themselves under the banner of security interests in order create elite ruling classes that are a threat to the security of those they are sworn to protect and the constitutions they are supposed to uphold. Citizens in both the United States and the European Union are witnessing the fruits of their lack of vigilance. This is a core underlying concern and reason for the rise of the “Tea Party” movement and its European counterparts. Such movements will continue arise as leaders of the so-called “free world” continue to violate the major principles of sound governance and hide corrupt actions under veils of secrecy.[84]

Polls

In late 2009, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed 41% of Americans had a positive view of the tea party m