Friday, June 25, 2010


This morning my wife and I woke to a 'no service' signal on our respective iPhones that use the AT&T cellular network. I used our internet phone and called AT&T customer service to find out what is going on, here is what he said. The AT&T network went down at 5:48am in Richmond, Charlottesville, Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, and trucks off of Richmond up and down i95.

AT&T has called this a "Priority 1" problem and is being actively DIAGNOSED by AT&T repair teams. That means they don't even know what is causing the problem. The agent stated that the towers were not physically damaged by any storms because they all still have power, however for some reason the towers are just not working. It is curious that the iPhone 4 was released yesterday, and today AT&T, at least in the major parts of Virginia, has crashed. As of 9:40am they have no estimated time when the network will be back up. AT&T strikes again.

Apple Admits Flaw with iPhone 4 Design.

CNet News reports that Apple has released a statement acknowledging antenna problem with iPhone 4. Apparently, customers have complained that when you hold the phone in your hand the cellular signal is lost, like it wasn't already bad enough with the AT&T network. There is a YouTube video up demonstrating the flaw with the new phone. Apple insists that all cell phones lose signal when held, however as the video demonstrates the new iPhone 4 completely loses signal!

The problem appears to be in the newly designed antenna array. The metal band that actually wraps the phone houses the antennas, the idea is that the human hand is grounding out or disrupting the signals. Apple insists that this is easily fixed by purchasing a case for the phone.

Personally, I don't use a permanent case for my iPhone. One of the attractions for me and the iPhone was its style without a case. The case completely ruins the iPhone 4's sleek look, making it more bulky.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My iPhone 4 experience, a failure for AT&T.

This morning I got up early and set out for the AT&T store to purchase the new iPhone 4. Here is the horror story of my experience.

Rewind in time to June 15th, I arrived at the store that morning to try and Pre-Order an iPhone 4. I was told by the salesman that the Pre-Order system had crashed and it wasn’t possible to order at that time. He took my name and number and said he would Pre-Order it for me as soon as the system came back up.

Fast forward to about June 21st when the salesman called my cell and told me the system was back up, however halfway through the conversation the Pre-Order system crashed again! The salesman told me to come to the store bright and early on June 24th, launch day, and buy one.

So flash forward to this morning, I am waiting outside the AT&T store, the man opens the door, all of those waiting come in to find…The same sales guy who I had been dealing with tell us that the store DIDN’T HAVE ANY iPHONE 4 IN STOCK!!!

“Are you kidding!” We all said. I was upset, because this whole thing has been an AT&T blunder from the beginning. The sales guy could have been good enough to call me the day before and tell me not to waste my time, however it seems that courtesy would have been a waste of his.

Those of us who didn’t leave in frustration went inside to check out the two demo phones on display. They worked great on their own, the speed, function, and display are amazing. Being that there were two phones, we tried to make a Facetime call, but it didn’t work. We asked the sales guy who had given us enough bad news already that day and he said that their WiFi network that AT&T setup doesn’t allow for the Facetime calling…WHAT! This doesn’t bode well for AT&T, one of the best new features about the iPhone 4 can’t even be demonstrated at the STORE THAT SELLS IT?

So, in the end I walked back to my car without an iPhone 4, disappointed that the store didn’t even have the decency to put out an email, notice on its website, or even have someone at the store early to inform those of us who waited so long, then didn’t even have things set up properly to demo the phone. What a waste.

Apple needs to get away from AT&T as its sole provider of the phone, bring on Verizon, I would switch in a heart beat.

Staggered Terms shot down in Augusta.

WHSV TV 3 had a spot about it last night. See it Here. The News Leader and the News Virginian, also have coverage about it in today's paper. Also see SWACgirl for more on how the News Virginian is in favor of the Staggered Terms change.

WHSV TV did a great fact check which found Augusta to be the only local governing body that DOES NOT have Staggered Terms.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Obama hands Gen. McChrystal his hat.

President Obama made his decision today, and that was to show Gen. McChrystal the door. Gen. McChrystal was sent packing in response to an article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine. The article depicts a very frustrated commander on the ground in Afghanistan. McChrystal and his staff held nothing back as they criticized the Obama Administration, members of Congress, and other civilian officials in hindering their ability to get the job done in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Newspapers weigh in on Staggered Terms issue in Augusta County.

The Staunton News Leader and the Waynesboro News Virginian both ran stories today about the Augusta County Board of Supervisor's issue of staggering their elections. Both papers believe the issue is dead going into tomorrow's meeting at the Government Center in Verona. However, the board will be holding a public hearing on the issue during the Wednesday meeting.

You can hear from the supervisors themselves by watching their work session discussion,

The supervisors would be held more accountable for their actions if their elections were more frequent. The simple fact that the majority of the board is against the change shows their desire to be less accountable to the citizens of Augusta. Bring your voice to the Government Center tomorrow, Wednesday at 7:00pm for the public input session.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Staggered Terms in Augusta County Moves to Public Input.

The issue of staggered terms was first proposed by Supervisor Tracy Pyles from the Pastures District of Augusta County. Currently, the supervisors serve a 4 year term, this wouldn't change. The only thing that would change is instead of the whole board being elected every four years, only half would be elected every two years. This is a great idea because it would make the supervisors more accountable to the public every 2 years instead of every 4.

Today, during the Augusta County Board of Supervisors Work Session Meeting, the board placed the issue of staggered terms on the Agenda for its public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 23 at 7:00pm at the Government Center in Verona. Please plan to come and take part in the public input on this issue.

The general consensus is if the public doesn't come out to support this measure than the issue will die and the whole board will be elected at once every four years, locking out the citizens of Augusta from influencing its board in 4 year intervals. Below is rundown of their remarks or watch the Video Part One, Part Two.

Supervisor Tracy Pyles, Pastures District. Mr. Pyles was the supervisor to bring up this issue and ask that the change be made to the election process for the Board of Supervisors in Augusta County. His reasoning from the start has been to allow the citizens of Augusta a more frequent influence on the board, meaning an election of half the board every 2 years rather than the whole board every 4 years. Mr. Pyles is in favor of the change.

Supervisor Larry Howdyshell, North River District. Mr. Howdyshell stated that at first he was in favor of allowing the citizens a more frequent influence on the board, then changed his mind. His quote was, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it." To that I would ask, just because it isn't broke, doesn't mean that you can't make it better. There are some that would say that the Representation on the Board of Supervisors here in Augusta is broken. Mr. Howdyshell is against the change.

Supervisor Jeremy Shifflett, Beverley Manor District. Mr. Shifflett took a pass on this issue stating that there are good things and bad things about it. He said there should be public input. I was hoping for something more from my representative on the board. This issue has been discussed and considered by the board for more than two months, now he wants public input. I certainly haven't heard of any public meetings in the past couple months to discuss this, I would have gone. Mr. Shifflett took a pass.

Supervisor Nancy Sorrells, Riverheads District. Mrs. Sorrells stated the change would be good because institutional memory of the board would be better maintained. However, she backtracked saying that half the board would be up for election during the Real Estate Assessment Process. I think this is a good thing. She also stated that the board would become more political if the elections were more frequent. Mrs. Sorrells went on to say that she would be in favor if the Real Estate Assessment process was done on a different year and that it not happen in 2011 because redistricting of the county takes place in 2011. I hope she remembered that the whole board is up for election in 2011 anyway, making her statement about the redistricting a mute point. Mrs. Sorrells is against the change, at least right now.

Supervisor David Beyeler, South River District. Mr. Beyeler echoed the sentiments of Mr. Howdyshell. He stated if it isn't broke don't fix it. He stated, in his 22.5 years on the board, nothing is broke. To which I say, its broke. He also went on to say that if a supervisor isn't getting input from their district except for during an election year, than something is wrong. I agree with Mr. Beyeler, but I believe he misses the point. The citizens are giving input, the board members are just not listening, an election solves that problem. Mr. Beyeler is against the change.

Supervisor Wendell Coleman, Wayne District. Mr. Coleman echoed the sentiments of Mr. Howdyshell and Mr. Beyeler. He stated this current process isn't broke so don't fix it. He then went on to slam the Staunton and Waynesboro City Councils for their staggered term processes, basically saying that nothing gets done. He ended his remarks by saying, "just leave it alone." Mr. Coleman is against the change.

Chairman Gerald Garber, Middle River District. Mr. Garber stated he didn't want the issue brought up during the public meeting. However, Mr. Pyles asked it be put on the Wednesday Public Meeting agenda. Though Mr. Garber stated he didn't want it brought up at the Public Meeting he didn't give any clear opinion one way or the other.

It looks like if a vote was taken now there would be 1 in favor, 4 against, 1 who would rather not say, and 1 who has no idea.

Oil Companies push back against Moratorium.

Oil Companies are asking U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to block the Federal Government from enforcing a six-month moratorium on new deep water drilling projects and the suspension of drilling at 33 existing sites. The companies say the moratorium could cost Louisiana thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost wages, without any proof that the operations pose a threat.

Obama Holds Border Hostage in Private Meeting!

President Obama apparently is holding the border between the United States and Mexico hostage from Congressional Republicans. Watch the Video from RedState for all the details... I am just disgusted by this, we have Americans being killed and drugs being smuggled into our country on this border and Obama wants to use protecting it as a political hostage.

Staggered Terms in Augusta Co, Meeting Today.

The Augusta County Board of Supervisors are set to discuss staggered terms today at their monthly work session meeting in the Verona Government Center. It is open to the public and begins at 1:30pm.

The issue of staggered terms was first proposed by Supervisor Tracy Pyles from the Pastures District of Augusta. Currently, the supervisors serve a 4 year term, this wouldn't change. The only thing that would change is instead of the whole board being elected every four years, half would be elected every two years. This is a great idea because it would make the supervisors accountable to the public every 2 years instead of every 4.

I have heard a number of arguments against the staggered terms from the board members at their last work session meeting. The first argument is cost, the supervisor in question said that it would add cost to the county having more frequent elections. Obviously, the supervisor is unaware that all of the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Augusta County, go to the polls every November for elections. Adding a board of supervisor ballot would not add any significant cost.

The second argument was impact on business, the supervisor who made this comment must not have been aware that Staunton and Waynesboro already have staggered terms in place, along with many of the other counties in Virginia, and businesses haven't made a fuss about it in those counties or cities. Actually, Waynesboro's business is flourishing quite well, look at the Target shopping area.

The third argument was that half the board would have to run during the county assessment process, just for that I fully support staggered terms. The board has to realize they are responsible to the people they represent and what better way to remind them of that than to make them campaign on it. I can't help but think that if we had staggered terms during our last real estate assessment process perhaps things would have gone differently and more scrutiny would have been applied to the process to assure greater accuracy.

The Board of Supervisors have already tabled this issue once making it harder for the people of Augusta to influence their government, and they most likely will try again today. Please, if you are able, make an effort to be at the Government Center at 1:30pm and show the supervisors that you want your representation back.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Robert Gibbs is no Dana Perino or C.J. Cregg.

Robert Gibbs is an embarrassment to the Obama Administration. I was watching the Press Briefing and I just couldn't take it any longer. Where did they find this guy, why does he still have a job, who thought it was a good idea to bring this guy on board? I think my 6 year old could do a better job. Sometimes I wonder if he is even allowed to speak with the President about anything that is of consequence. He must have an interpretor for the Pres. so there isn't time wasted on "um" and "uh." I hope he isn't allowed to speak and operate heavy machinery at the same time.

Taking from his speaking style, uh, Mr. Gibbs, uh, let me just, um, ask a simple question. Do you, uh, have any, um, idea how, um, unintelligent (big word) you, uh, sound?

I mean really, this man is the Press Secretary for the most powerful man on the PLANET. His job is to articulate the message of the White House. Mr. Obama could do worlds for his administration and poll numbers by showing this man the door. Just take a look.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wild Eyes...

I have been following the Abby Sunderland story for the last few days as contact was lost with her somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Abby Sunderland, 16, was on a quest to solo circumnavigate the world, quite an undertaking. She was spotted yesterday by search and rescue plans that launched from Australia. She was spoken too by rescue workers and reports say she is fine and in no serious danger. A rescue vessel is due at her location within the next 24hours.

There has been a flood of activity and media pointed at her parents and whether or not they should have allowed the teen to make the voyage. The parents held firm that she had the necessary training, supplies, and experience for the voyage and the fact that she is dealing with her situation as well as she is a testament to her abilities. One thing, you have to give her credit for bravery.

One other thought, I have read over and over again about astronauts who see the Earth from space for the first time, they see the Whole World and start to gain a clearer perspective about the planet in which they live. I am sure Abby Sunderland has gained some of that perspective as she has traveled so far around the globe. I expect great things will come from her in life. God Speed Abby.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Two Americans Shot Dead on Arizona Border!

According to Fox News, two Americans have been found shot dead on the Arizona Border after calling 911 and reporting that they had been fired upon. The area of the Arizona border where the bodies were found is well known to the local authorities as an illegal immigrant and drug smuggling highway. The investigation is continuing in order to determine the attackers, no word on whether or not they were illegal immigrants.

With the Arizona immigration law in the backdrop this story will be interesting to follow as it unravels. These type of events continue to shine light on the serious issue of border security. We need to have secure borders and punish those who would break our laws.

Virginia Republicans Go to the Polls!

The first strides of the 2010 elections are here, the Republican Primary is tomorrow, June 8th, in the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th congressional districts of Virginia.

Top to watch is the Republican Primary in the 5th District. State Senator Robert Hurt is the definite front runner in the race, however should he win the primary, Tea Party candidate Jeff Clark will enter the race as a Conservative Tea Party Independent. This could cause a split conservative vote in November and hand a second term to Congressman Perriello, a Democrat. Clark has said that if Hurt loses, he too will sit out the race.

This primary will test the steel of the Tea Party and should speak volumes to the Republican establishment about the need to get back to the Conservative Principles this country was founded on.

iPhone 4 will change everything. Again.

Apple Inc. introduced its newest iPhone, iPhone 4. It looks amazing and includes HD Video recording with editing, bigger battery, and most of all a Video Phone Application which they call Facetime. Check it all out at I can hear people calling their brokers right now, they are all saying buy Apple. One thing to also watch out for is iPhone on the Verizon network, when that happens look for Apple stock to soar.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stop Offshore Drilling, Kill the Economy.

This article was on Reuters, it really does make you think about the consequences of halting offshore drilling in the Gulf and the devastating economic impact on the states effected by the Gulf spill. Perhaps President Obama shouldn't jump the gun on halting offshore drilling. I know Gov. McDonnell in Virginia is also pushing for offshore drilling in Virginia and is still hopeful the leases for exploration will be renewed.