Monday, December 29, 2008

A Terrorist State

The definition of a terrorist state, even by the conservative republican politicians, is a nation, state or international group that uses military force and violence to suppress or oppress a specific group of people for their ethnicity, religion, national orgins, etc. No one doubts this defines Al Qaeda, but in light of the recent war between the Palestinians in Gaza and Israel, it does define something no one wants to admit.

Israel is a terrorist state. The sheer quality and quantity of military force Israel has used against the people of Gaza clearly shows how little inhibitions the government and military of Israel have for the Palestinians. They have killed several hundred people, many innocent women and children, in revenge for the killing of two Israelis. They showed it when they attacked southern Lebanon after Hezbollah kidnapped two border guards. They used US made and supplied cluster bombs where many civilians were killed or injured, including children finding bomblets on the ground.

Israel has also implemented excessive economic terrorism with blockades of the waters off Gaza, closing or greatly restricting access through checkpoints to/from Gaza and Isreal, blocking the flow of bank funds and money for the people, restricting agriculture imports for equipment, supplies and other needs, restricting the flow of food, preventing improvement and maintenence on the infrastructure, restricting electricity, and on and on. And then complained how poor Hamas treats its own people,

While I have generally sided with Israel in the past because they did have a legimate claim to be hated by Muslim and being attacked by surrounding Islamic nations and terrorists groups, I can't side with them anymore as they're often the one using overwhelming and unnecessary force where diplomacy would work. They don't seem to understand it takes two sides to have a war, and both are wrong.

I have no doubt there are groups which want the eliminate the state of Israel, and reclaim historic lands. Let's not forget Israel was created from Palestine, and millions of them were displaced for the Jews. And you can go back through history to see all three religions have occupied the land of Israel, so no one can claim sole possession of the land. It's the reality of there.

But my point is that while many can call the enemy of Israel terrorists - let's not forget Israel created Hamas to oppose Fatah, we should also call Israel a terrorist state. They sponsor and support the suppression and oppression of people through their government and military. They're just bigger and better armed, and have convinced the world they're the victims, when they're not, just one of the two fighters in the battle.

And it's time the US stood up and said so, and warned Israel about it's strategy and tactics against the Palestinians won't lead to a lasting peace in the Middle East, but only anger the Palestinians and their supporters. You can't bomb people into peace, you have to find a way to live as neighbors. Yeah, easier said than done, but it's time the US looked at the region with a view for both sides.

And yes, if it takes, to take Israel to task for their overwhelming and excessive force, including withdrawing economic and miltary aid. We can't maintain our obvious one-sided support in the region for the longer term if we want peace there. That's also not sustainable. We and Israel need reality checks. And it's time a President did and said so, but I'm not holding my breath for it.

The real question is not about Israel and its safety and security, but when and where will we provide a homeland for the Palestinians like we did for the Jews? We can't simply bomb them into obvlivion as Israel wants to keep trying. They deserve our respect for a place to be. We took their homeland once and we should provide one again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sorry Mr. Obama

Or should I say Mr. President-elect Obama? Sorry, that doesn't change the issue that simply putting the extremes in a room won't make them talk let alone agree. One or both will simply shut up, or worse, walk out of the room. Why? Because you don't get it. You don't get that people don't change some views of the world and people, including yourself.

You invited Reverend Warren to perform the invocation at the inaugural of your Presidency. While you concede his view on the LGBT community, people and issues, you emphasize his views on other issues, casting aside the trust and support you received during your campaign from the LGBT community. You simply threw them in the trash.

That's not an extreme view because you do believe in what Rev. Warren says about LGBT people. Or am I wrong? If so, then change your mind and cancel the Reverend's trip, or better yet, ask him to cancel. He won't and you won't. We know that because you like him more than you like the LGBT community. Even if you have appointed a lesbian to a position in your administration.

You selected her on her qualifications and not on her sexual orientation. So why not use that with your faith and choice of leader to do the invocation? Or do you find LGBT people and issues uncomfortable?

I don't agree with the notion that inviting Rev. Warren opens the door to a discussion about the whole range of issue Christians like to attack the other side and defend their side. You want dialog between groups who fundamentally don't like each other, and that's the issue, not the issue itself but the people.

The point that the right misses completely is that it isn't about "gay marriage" but equal rights to marriage and all that entails. It's simply a human value guarranteed in our Constitution, something you politely overlooked and the Christian conservatives deny. And that's what you should be addressing with your support and in your challenge to the Christian conservatives to understand.

They can't keep rewriting religious values or history to suit their means to sell an idea about what's good or evil, and then expound to no end about the evil with lies that apply to them than those they call evil. They're simply denying the facts, the truth and reality. And you stand there, not just applauding, but inviting one of them to do the invocation.

Sorry, Mr. Obama, what little support I had for you, and while I still agree with you on many issues, is gone. From now on I won't trust you beyond seeing you on the television just before I turn it off. Your words are just that, words, and not backed by your values about the American people, all of us, not those you want to value.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Post NO Ads

In response to people who post replies on my blog, I appreciate open and honest opinons which can be discussed or debated, often with humor and jest, which is my style of discussing the universe as I see it from here. I do not, however, support people who post ads or voice views only to add ads to the post. These post will be deleted without hesitation.

As I replied on a recent post about the automaker bailout, I don't support ads on my Website or blogs, nor do I support those who post just to get ads on my blogs. Your reply will be history, into the byte bucket with all the spam e-mail and junk mail I get and throw in the trash every day. If you want to promote your work or ads, fine, the Internet is a free place, just not in my own place.

It's my pole and my rules.

Why no auto bailout

I've written why I'm against the auto bailout, and while it sounds similar to the Republican's view of the bailout, it couldn't be farther from the truth and them.

They're against it, but for all the wrong reasons. While the argument to let one of the big 3 automakers fail is what capitalism is about, both the successes and failures, and they're supporting something like that, they're blaming the wrong people, making the workers the excuse the companies failed and the reason the companies can rebound to profitability if they could reduce the costs of the employees' wages, benefits, and pensions.

The workers and the UAW has every right to be angry and expressing their anger at Republicans. As noted by one economist, isn't not fair or right to focus on the automaker-union contracts and not the wages, benefits and pensions of others in the companies, such as the white collar people and the company management. They don't focus on all the companies and their employees who supply all the parts and support to the automakers.

They focus on one group and Senator Corker is wrong. You can't blame the workers and the unions for all the troubles of the big 3 automakers. They simply made the cars at the wages and benefits negotiated with the company. They've earned it and deserve it, and they're not the problem. So, don't make them the scapegoat for your political purposes.

No one argues the differences in wagers, benefits and pensions between the big 3 automakers and all the foreign automakers making cars in the US. But those companies haven't been in the this country for as long as the big 3 and were here during the phases of huge corporate profit for the automakers who agreed to and signed the union contracts. They may have negotiated and compromised, but they still did sign them.

They gave the workers what they deserved and Congress does not have the right to take that harned earned wages, benefits and pensions on a whim, and demanding it be done within a year. You can't cut someone's salary by about 50% in one year and expect them to survive. If they agree to wage and benefit cuts, they have the right to negotiate them over years provided they get assurances of longterm jobs.

What I don't want to see is them being made to accept wage and benefits cuts in 2009-2010 to find the company close the plants to move the production to China or elsewhere in 2010-11, for the company to profit with the loans the taxpayers gave them. Remember Mr. Corker, you're playing with our money, not yours. We're paying the bills you pass and the President signs. We have rights to say how our money is spent and not spent.

You need to get real and remember that. Workers aren't the problem or the blame, and especially not the excuse. The companies share equal if not more blame for their arrogance about consumers and gas prices. They need to practice what they and you have preached all these years, capitalism has a price and cost, and it's not the employees.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Let me see if I understand the basics about the Republican's view of things. First, when you succeed you want the government out of your way with little or nor regulation and oversight, and you want us to be consumers to give you our hard-earned money for products services, investments, banking, etc. As long as your profiting, don't bother you in any way because you can police yourself and hold yourself accountable.

And when things go bust, like now, you want government to write check for your losses, executive privilege and benefit packages, and infuse money into your companies, and you want us to be taxpayers to foot th bill with out hard-earned taxes and national debt. But you still don't want us to police you or hold you accountable to anyone, incluiding us who's money you have. You want your own in government making these decisions so we can't be represented fairly.

Is that the picture? We'll be writing over $1 Trillion in checks to you and you don't want us to attach caveats or stick our nose in your business. You want a handout you wouldn't give your grandmother if her house was being foreclosed. And all the while you don't want government to actually help the homeowner or taxapayer with this, or as you see it "your money", not ours. And you still want those really nice bonuses you didn't earn.

Ok, a little harsh, but in many ways not far from the truth and reality. Just read the newspapers about the bailout and all the companies lining up for their share of the $700 Billion and other monies from Uncle Sam, meaning us. Because not only do you want our tax money, you've pilfered out pension plans and our health insurance beneftis plans too. All for greed and profit, and those nice bonuses every year with the big buyout package when you bailout yourself.

Maybe you need to work in a homeless shelter for awhile to learn the value of money and people. And try as you will to reform yourself, you still don't get it, like we're the enemy until you down and out, and suddenly we're your best friend. Like we care? We're struggling to survive and you're struggling to keep being caught stealing from us.

In the end, I suspect the bailout is a good thing, financially, but I'll be darn to know what and where it's a good thing. I didn't like it then and I still don't like it. I don't get a handout if I fail with my life, new work and small business adventure, so why should you. I have to be fiscally smart and responsible, so you should too. It's not because the stakes are higher, mine are higher for me than you for yourself.

I'll be against the bailout even if it succeeds but I'm not holding my breath until 2010 and beyond to find out our country is back on track. And I certainly don't want to hear about the republican's idea of business and free market anymore. All you've shown is how corrupt and bad it can be and how far it can fall, all because of you, and you don't deserve the handout.

Faux Fear

Listening to NPR news this morning (Wednesday before Thanksgivig Day holiday) they reported a story by a law enforcement agency on a possible attack on the New York City subway system, stating, "The FBI said they have unsupported reports stating that, "In September Al Qaeda may have discussed an attack on the subway system during the Thanksgiving Day holiday."

Well, nothing happened. And now what? Perhaps Christmas or New Year's eve holiday attack?

All they had was an idea that some group "may have" talked about planning an attack. LIke you don't think out loud with friends or writers think of outragious horror, terror or crimnal ideas for books? But these guys are terrorists, and you expect them to talk about something else? Like what?

Ok, I know the threats are real, but I for one am getting very tired of the chicken little pronouncements based on the mere idea of proof which is hedged with so many "may have" or "may be" to be useless to the everyday person. You may as well say, someone may hit you with a car, rob or kill you at gun point, or whatever else may happen during your day.

And yes, it's real, as we've seen with the Mumbai terrorists attacks on innocent people. But when do we stop living with the "terrorists may strike" mentality and get on with our lives? I'm more worried about everyday criminals, bad drivers, and stupid people doing dumb things than I am about some terrorist group planning something, let alone actually doing anything.

The reality is that on average there is at least one terrorist attack per day every year somewhere in the world, not inlcuding those in Iraq and Afghanistan where there are at least one every day there. And in the US there have been only three in the last twenty-plus years with a few more against American facilities around the world.

We have escaped attacks, not because we're more secure, but because it simply takes more planning and preparation, but even then attacks still happen, eg. the rocket into the Green Zone last week. We're not the sole target of terrorists, but one of many. Terrorism and terrorists are as old as modern man, so making a mountain out of an imaginary mole hill doesn't make sense.

And today I read a panel concluded there will be an atack using biochemical weapons within the next five years. Maybe, and only because all the stuff is there, materials, government insecurity, money, reasons, etc. Ok, but why the fear mongering? To sell us more tax money for homeland security, which according to the GAO hasn't made us safer and squandered billions for nothing or corporate profit?

It's logical that terrorists will eventually get and use biochemical weapons, and more than likely somewhere in the world. But America and Americans aren't the sole interest of terrorists, just in a few places in the world. And it's logical that even more eventually a terrorists will use a nuclear device of some fashion. There simply are too many unsecured material and weapons and too many experts who can build them.

But all that said, what we need is common sense for us common people, not faux fear and fear mongering. And we want realistic answers, not hype and maybe's. Otherwise, the announcements are just that, and lost in the noise of the everyday. And until we get real answers, and not some "It's secret we can't tell you..." answers, we won't see the need to write checks for it, which in short is a way of saying, "Do your job with the money you have, just like the rest of live our lives."

Lies and damn lies

The President himself said he wanted to and would make the transistion to the Obama presidency a "smooth transistion." Ok, but then why does the Bush administration lie and hide behind the President to implement a lot of underhanded rules and regulations, burrowing political appointees and failing to tell the transistion team the truth?

Because it's all a sham and shame. George said publically he wouldn't do what his administration is now doing. So did George lie or did he simply tell Cheney to do the dirty work so he wouldn't and couldn't be held accountable for lying? And why suddenly after 7-plus years they're imposing industry and business favorable rules and regulations in the EPA, OSHA and Interior Department, among other agencies?

It's not like they can hide this since everything has to be printed in the daily Federal Register to be legal and everyone, especially the opponents of the Bush administration and the Obama transistion team, is reading it every day too. The truth is simple. They want to make a mess it will take the Obama administration the better part of a year to correct, because to undo something takes longer than to do it.

It's the same administrative and public process but you have to draft the changes to undo it and then draft the new rules and regulations to do what you wanted to in the first place, and both need their own review process. They're simply confusing the issue and giving their industry and business friends a loophole for that time, and hopefully then can challenge the new changes in court.

All this does is show the reality of George Bush, the emperor who has long since been seen in public as in the old tale about having no clothes. He's politcically naked, and now publically embarassed by his own statement. And he's proving the old adage more than ever, "It's what I do, not what I say.", proving he's not only a liar but a cheat too. Cheating the American people as he slides out the door.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Auto bailout

I've been listening to the discussion if money with the financial bailout should be used to help the ailing auto industry, namely giving the Big Three (GM, Chrysler and Ford) money to restructure their companies and be more competitive with the Japanese company, some of whom operate production and assembly plants in the US.

Ok, I'm obviously not an economist, or more so, an automotive economist to have any real idea about the best solution here, but some things do cross my mind which I hear from some representatives in Congress who plans to attach caveats to any loan to the auto companies. And I thoroughly agree because in all the bailout talks, most of those in Congress and the Bush administration are failing to consider the obvious, the American people.

If the American people don't have jobs, affordable mortages, good healthcare plans, and reasonable taxes, then all the bailout of the financial industry is moot. They'll still be rich and we'll still be poor. And if the auto companies do get a bailout, as they say, the devil is in the details, but to me there should be some guarrantees.

No bailout, ie loan, should not eviscerate any of the current labor contracts with the unions and workers.

No bailout should not allow any of the companies to jettison their employee health insurance packages.

No bailout should not allow the companies to transfer their retirement packages to the federal government program.

This means a bailout would be to help the company stay in business and focus on new cars and not simply find ways to enrich the company, the executives and the shareholders. They shouldn't take any money then move production out of the country. It's our money, and they owe use some guarrantees as to its use.

The same applies if any of them decide to go into bankruptcy, which is the way they want to jettison all of the three above things. They're after finding ways to lower labor costs, but in doing so will cost the workers, Americans, an affordable job and life. Is this not what America is about. It's about keeping Americans working with good jobs with decent benefits. It's about keeping affordable retirements.

Otherwise, Congress should simply turn a blind eye and deaf ear to their pleas for financial help. The companies drove themselves into this space, they can drive their way out without our help. If they want that but don't want the caveats, then fine, go to bankruptcy court and let everyone fight it out, and see how far you go and how many customers you have and get.

Burrowing in

This is a phrase used with federal employees where the current administration converts political appointees into permanent civil service jobs (as the SES level, meaning near or at the salary ceiling of over $100K) or "C" level (civil service grade) by redefining their position as civil service jobs, and then bypassing the required competitive selective process by appointing them based on their pre-existing experience in the position.

It's not illegal, but it's unethical at best and, in my mind, bullshit. And yes, almost all Presidents do it, including Bill Clinton (only Jimmy Carter banned this practice), but this time it really does hurt everyone. Foremost, why do republicans who complain about "excessive government" approve this when it adds to the number and costs of government employees. It also only creates conflict in the agency when real permanent employees could plan that an incompentent political appointee would be gone to discover they've been converted to the same ranks as them with a higher salary, something they never earned and don't deserve.

It also creates problems with the next administration when they have to use the civil service rules and regulations to get rid of these employees than simply showing them the door as usually happens. I don't know why a political appointee in the Bush administration would want to become a permanent employee when they know they'll be facing problems with the new boss, who could just as easily undo their position and find a way to make them resign.

It is an easy process to find these employees, simply those in the senior executive service and those in the higher civil service grades who were only recently officially hired but on staff since 2001. And the GAO tracks them too. Then all you have to do is reorgnize around their position, esentailly back to the old organization, eliminating it, and forcing them to either accept a transfer to some god-forsaken office or resign. You can even force them into a lower job if there are no equivalent jobs.

And with little permanent senority, they would be stuck. I hope the new administration has some serious conversations with these "employees", which they're not, just political hacks, many of whom were only there to impose a political agenda, about their future with the government, like, "We have some very nice offices in Fairbanks, Alaska and Fort Peck, Montana which need employees."

So all you converted political hacks, your time will come when your boss asks for a conversation about your future. And as they say, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What we're not the economy

I was reading that Congress is postponing any ecomomic stimulus package until atfter January 20 when President-elect Obama will become President. And while they're not doing this they're continuing to spend nearly $ 1 Trillion to bailout banks, financial services companies, financial insurance companies (AIG), and now the auto industries and regular insurance companies.

They're spending our money too. Not their money or the various industries' money, but our tax dollars. And we're seeing that some of the money has disappeared and can't be found even by government auditors (AIG's first $120B). And why are they ignoring the American people?

Simple, we did what they ask with our stimulus check. We paid down debt and put it in savings. To the extent only about 15% of the money they refunded us was spent buying anything. We did what they asked and as any competent financial advisor will tell you, and now we're being blamed for the continued downturn in the ecomony because they really wanted us to spend our money.

But they failed to mention buying something doesn't help the financial service companies, they failed on their own arrgance and stupidity. Why would we spend money on failing industry, buying bad securities? What, do you think we're that stupid? We got suckered into buying all this bad shit for years now and lost much of our investment and seeing our retirement package lose extensive value. And they want us to buy more?

Another story that was interesting was the story about the soybean grower in North Dakota, the grocery store in Japan and the home owner in Pennsylvania (NPR story).

There's a shortage of containers (those standard sized giant metal shoe boxes everything is transported globally) and so the soybean grower who's products sells well in Japan can't ship there because Americans, like the woman in Philadephia who isn't buying furnishings, is hurting imports, where most goods are made now, causing a shortage of containers in the US to ship overseas, and is making the dollar stronger, causing the prices of US soybeann products higher, causing the price to go up in Japan, reducing sales of soybeans.

So it's contradiction. Since our economy is about consumerism and indebtedness, they want everyone to spend and go in more debt if necessary, which makes the dollar weak, increases imports and creates a trade imbalance against us. But then they argue we should be paying down our debt, clearing it if possible, and saving money which helps the banks, which puts more of the money into the credit and loan cycle.

They bailout the banks and financial institutions, but exclude the American people in the plan, the very people they blame for the economy and our financial mess of indebtedness and credit. Then they want us to spend and go more indebt to help the economy so they can complain that our debt and credit is the problem, overlooking the US government's debt of nearly $11 Trillion, making the interest a significant part of the government's annual spending.

We're the economy when it's good because we're spending and we're the economy when it's bad because we're not spending, but we're not the economy when it implodes and needs government help? What don't they understand when the pundits say, "It's the economy stupid.", they really mean, "We (American people) are the economy stupid."?

So the question to Congress is when do they plan to address that issue, our incomes are hurting, our credit is bad, the value of our house is falling, foreclosures are up, our retirement funds and our plans are fading, and on and on down the slippery slope into a recession and maybe a depression. But ya'll focus on the financial and banking companies with our money?

What don't you remember about being our representative? Or do you think the lobbyists are more important? But did you forget who elected you, and who can just as easily unelect you? Yes, us, the economy stupid.

Pro Life is Choice

I read EJ Dionne's OpEd piece today (11/15/08) in the Washington Post about supporting the pro-life folks Obama did in the campaign when Obama said, "There surely is some common ground,", toward the end of the third presidential debate. I agree, there is common ground here.

But that common ground isn't about walking across the line and unreservedly supporting the pro-life position. It is about supporting their position by talking with both sides and making the clear point, pro-life and pro-choice are two views of the same horizon. Both sides are looking in the same direction, they're only at it differently.

Pro-life folks want abortion banned, and if not that, serverly restricted. They want the choice to be one, theirs, and controllig the family planning and birth control rights and information of women to just that one choice. On the other hand pro-choice folks feel the horizon is wide with many paths, and it's about choice and freedom for all women.

And that's where I think the OpEd pieces misses the point. You don't jettison the pro-choice folks by embracing the pro-life folks. You talk with the pro-life folks to inform and educate that no one advocates abortion, and while it is one of the choices women have, it's about the freedom to choose including being pro-life. Pro-choice is pro-life if the woman decides that is what's right for her.

After all how many women give birth without the thought of abortion? And how many women, in comparison, give abortion a thought because of the circumstances or situation of their pregnancy? Huge difference. So, abortion isn't something most women think about, but should we deny women the choice if there are good reasons for an abortion?

In the end my view doesn't change, the argument isn't about abortion or about pro-life or choice, but about the freedom to have choices which fits their life. They can easily, as almost all women do, choose life. But a few need the choice of abortion, and it's about being pro-life for women and their rights.

So, in the end, both sides are standing under the same umbrella looking at the horizon. And pro-life is just one of the path in the pro-choice directions. They share the right to be pro-life. So, maybe it's time for the pro-life to see you're one of us, and you can promote your view with those who agree, just don't take away the freedom of women to see other choices.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Comcast Update

Ok, folks, I've ranted enough at Comcast for the recent software upgrade, and I won't, or promise to try not to, rant anymore, except where appropriate. And after a technician replaced the cable box and talking with a Comcast representative, who was technically savy, here's what I've learned.

First, the problem restated. Using the HD signal off the back of the cable box for HD-capable TV's, switching from HD channels to non-HD channels, the signal would lose the color, displaying the non-HD channels in a weird black and white with purple, lime green, etc. colors. And reseting the box or TV, or simply unplugging the cable would restore the color to the non-HD channel.

It's consistent and once it's off color, it's always off color, even switching back to HD channels and back to non-HD channels. All HD channels are uneffected and all non-HD channels are weird. And the reason?

As best I can discern from conversations so far, it is the new software, and not cable boxes. This is because the new software was written for HDMI connections for the HD TV channels, and it has to adapt the signal to the DVI HD connections on those cable boxes with DVI connectors. Most older to recent HD TV's, like my 3 year old Sony, use DVI inputs where newer ones have HDMI inputs for HD signals.

The Motorola cable boxes with DVI outputs are the ones that don't work with the new HD signal from Comcast. You need to get a HDMI ouptut cable box. This will solve the software problem but may not solve your TV problem. You can adapt your DVI input TV with a HDMI (box) to DVI (TV) cable or adaptor. And then hope it works.

So, why did Comcast write software that has a known bug for HD TV with DVI inputs? That's a good one for Comcast to answer to all their customers who have the DVI output cable boxes. It's a mystery to me since the software worked fine before and they made some software design decisions without fully understanding or testing the results.

Me? I plan to switch the boxes and cables and see if this solves the problem. I'll keep you posted on this.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Choice is freedom

I've written about my views on abortion, but any vote about abortion isn't about abortion, it's about freedom and choice. And it's not about whether you're for or against abortion, it's about your view that women have choices and women have the freedom to make the best choice for them, and not restricted by someone else's believe, religion or values. It is that simple.

You see freedom is about access to the full range and diversity of information and choices. If we begin to restrict choices we begin to restrict information. The more we restrict information, the less knowledgeable our society is about the whole of our life and humanity. And the more we do that, we narrow our views where we can't see anything beyond our narrow personal interests.

And that's where some who is pro-choice is really about the whole. The whole suite of information about sex eduction, reproductive rights, birth control, pregnancy and birth, and if necessary, abortion, especially when it involves the health of the woman, in the case of rape or incest, or for the woman's personal reasons.

When you begin to restrict that, you begin to hurt our society with less knowledgeable people. And what's also not understood is that pro-choice advocates aren't for abortion as the only option, but for the whole range of information and choices for women. They believe women should be smart and should have the freedom to access the information and make the best choice for them.

As we all know from history, restricting the choice of abortion hasn't and won't eliminate abortion. It's always been there and always will, no matter how hard the anti-abortionists try to make it illegal. And we also know restricting the information about sex education, reproductive rights and birth control won't make women, especially young women, only choose abstinence. And it certainly hasn't and won't stop teen pregnancy.

And the Republican Vice Presidential candidate is the best example of this with her 17 year old pregnant daughter. And she is the spokeswoman for the anti-abortionist. As much as she can talk about the virtues of pro-life and anti-abortion, and all the restrictions on teens to the information, it doesn't work when you daughter wasn't listening and learned the way many other young women learn.

She is now an example of history. So why not vote for freedom and choice, and if the women doesn't like abortion as a choice, that's a choice she can make, as all women can make. That's what freedom is about, the freedom for choices. Why not vote for that?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Answer to Comcast

I wrote about my recent, and on-going problems and issues with Comcast's service (first and second post dated October 24th and 26th, respectively). Well, they called to arrange a time to "talk" (I'll leave the rep's name and number out of conversation for now) about my problems and issues.

Well, I will respond here publically. First of all after raising my voice, it seems standing on an Internet street corner does work on occasion, beside reading where it pays do publically complain because it gets their attention. That said I have decided to pick up my soap box and walk away. While the problems persist, and likely will until Comcast decides to do a better job of fixing their own software, I don't see the need or any reason to continue to speak about it.

The problem of late is small, as described before (above), and simple to resolve by unplugging the HDMI cable or turning the TV off and on, which resets the bad HDMI signal. I don't see where a technician can help matters by replacing the cable box when the cable box is not the problem. It worked fine before the software upgrade and doesn't now. What's not to understand?

As for the other problems, the bandwidth, that was fixed until recently when it restarted, usually in the evenings or other busy times. Again, that's a network problem, not a cable box problem. And the SPDIF output on the cable box? Well, it's been there almost 3 years now and I haven't seen any interest on Comcast's part to fix it. It's a simple software fix too, because it's digitizing a digital signal which doesn't need it, simply not do that.

So, Comcast, I'm done with this issue. I've looked at satellite TV and I notice their prices are cheaper by a significant amount, so it's an option should I decide to change. And I'm curious how Comcast can offer very low rates to new subscribers for 3-12 months for services continuing customers are paying full fare. Are we subsidizing their cheaper service? If so, why? Why not give longtime customers some breaks, or do you think we won't leave your service? Or simply reduce your rates?

Anyway, enough venting at and about Comcast. While they're a nice target and a good enemy, it's fair to say 90+% of the time they're ok. But for now, I'm satisfied to let things go, and if they get worse I'll call the dreaded 1-800 number for service and go through the loop that never fixes or resolves anything, but merely seems to appease management they care about their customers.

So, in short, thanks for the offer but no thanks. Talk is cheap (and yes, like this post). And I'm out of wanting warm and fuzzies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marriage choice

As with abortion, the question is the obvious, what don't people understand that marriage is right and privilege with all its protections for all. Everyone. Not just those who think their idea of marriage and family, despite all the statistics of domestic abuse and violence, child abuse, violence, rape and incest, divorce, and so on, is the only definition of marriage.

This country was founded on the idea of equality, and while we haven't always been there or done that, we've always strived for it and often achieved it, with the abolition of slavery, voting rights for all men and later all women, civil rights, and so on here too. We've always tried to be a better society, country and nation. And marriage is no different.

It's not about the exaggerations some try to convey the issue in the media, it won't lead to other forms of marriage. The answer and solution is very simple. All other criteria being the same, two people have the right to enter into a marriage with all the rights, privleges and protections as defined in the laws.

That's not hard. See, very easy. It doesn't change your marriage or your view of marriage, and if it does, then maybe the problem isn't gays and lesbians, but you. Because try as you might, the view the Bible bans some marriages is just your interpretation of a Bible that's been translated, transcribed and interpretated so many times no one really knows anymore. The Bible as you think yours is, just isn't necessarily what was said when it was written.

But that's another issue, read Karen Armstrong's books. It's about equal right to marriage. Nothing more, nothing less. Just equality. So, banning that is discrimination is the least, prejudice in the obvious, and bigotry in the worse. And that's something the Bible doesn't tolerate, and we all know Jesus wouldn't condone, but condemn.

Because it's about acceptance of all citizens, regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, and on and on, into the diversity of people, cultures and societies making up America. It's about America and American values. Easy and simple. Equality for all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Abortion choice

What's hard to understand that abortion is just one of the choices women should have with respect to their rights to family planning and birth control information and services? It's not about restricting or eliminating choices but about expanding them to cover the whole range of choices. And it's about the right of a women to make their choice without those restrictions and without the interference from anyone else.

A woman's right to control her birth control options, including abortion, is between her and her physician. And, no one else. Period. And especially anyone outside her family, like you or me, regardless of our view on abortion. While it's our right to free speech on issues, it's not our right to interfer with her choices and decisions. It's her mental, emotion, and physical health that matters.

That's it. It's that simple. And sorry guys, including myself, we're not in the issue. We're only fathers, and have responsibilities and obligations with respect to birth control issues, but no rights over a woman's rights to choices and her decisions. It's the old and simple idea, we're not the one who gets pregnant.

It angers me that people, and especially men, have the (proverbial or literal) balls to say they have rights over women. Especially women over any woman. What don't women understand? We're not interfering with your right not to consider abortion in your choices, so why do you think your values should be enforced on another woman? Are you really so inconsiderate and insensitive to their situation you want to demand you control their body?

Would like us controlling your body? Or other women doing the same to you? You wouldn't and you know it. So why be so arrogant about other women? They have rights just like you. We don't interfer with your choices and rights. But you expect to have that over other women?

I'm not going to apologize here for my view on abortion and women's rights. I don't owe anyone anything about my views here, it's the same as you, a right to free speech. You argue, and often demand, the right for the freedom of choices in our life and work, but then argue and even demand the right over abortion. Sorry, you can't pick and choose like this, and you know it.

And consider there really are situations where an abortion, over the current restrictions that anti-abortionist say are the maximum they'll toleratere (not personally accept, just policitally accept) won't help. And that's where and when there are clear medical evidence that the baby has a serious disease and their life would be short and not without pain. Is life so important you would demand a woman bring that baby into this world?

Would you? Even after the birth and the baby has a short and pain-filled life? Is that your view of life? Force the woman to care for a baby she didn't want because she believed it wouldn't be a good life for the baby? Who would know better, the mother or everyone else? And you would believe abortion wouldn't be a choice in her decision about her pregnancy?

I'm always fascinated with people who express the value and importance of human life in a pregnancy, but then aren't concerned about the life after birth. How many abandoned babies are there? They don't count? How many children are wanting for adoption? They don't count? How many children life in dangerous homes? They don't count?

You're only concerned about a mother and her baby? Your family experience and your personal beliefs are more important than human rights? And the rights of people to make their own decisions? And then you demand we can't interfer with your life? Are you really that dumb you can't see the contradiction, or you decide to be blind? Is that your belief, blindness to the consideration for others? But simply focuses on the idea of life than real life? Real people?

And so what it's worth, I accept your right to speak on the issue, I just don't have to accept or tolerate your right to interfer in the life of women for reason that aren't humane. And I'll argue you need to rethink your belief. That's my right.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Comcast revisted

Ok, I wrote an entry (previous one to this one) about Comcast and their new software package. And while I got some good responses from the company, noted on the previous post, it hasn't changed the problem, which is two fold with an old one.

One, the new software screwed up the HDMI color signal when changing from a HD channel to a regular digital channel. Turning the TV off and on clears problems as does unplugging and plugging in the HDMI connector on the back of the cable box. And running through the different other non-HD(MI) signals doesn't change the HDMI signal.

Since everything worked fine before the software upgrade, meaning the cable box wasn't a problem and tests have isolated it to the output signal from the cable box, it's clearly caused by the new software. It worked reasonably well Saturday but today (Sunday) it's never failed to fail the color switch.

And on top of that, the older problem of the bandwidth showed up in the middle of the first half of the Seattle-San Francisco game. Good timing. The HD signal began pixelating and then vanished altother, and was intermittent the rest of the game. This included losing channels 110, 111, 113, 505 and 537 for periods all afternoon. Right now, 113 (game) it's in and out.

Add to that the really old problem of the SPDIF audio signal problem, and you wonderful service to customers who like to use the full features of Comcast's advertised service, HD video and Dolby 5.1 audio.

Gee, thanks Comcast. Since there is little if any difference in price between the satellite companies and Comcast, it really makes you wonder if and where there is any real competition. Maybe the FCC should remove the monoply power of the cable companies. Surely a competitor couldn't be worse than Comcast? No? Well, maybe we should give it a try?

So, Comcast, do you really want my money and service? You have all the information to solve this problem along with my help (offered). How about some assurances you really did fully test your software (or your contractor)?

And the alternative now? I have to go through their 800 number to get a technician to replace a cable box with no assurance anything will be fixed, just like past times when nothing was fixed. And yes, I'm venting here over small problems. The lost channels was fixed, or so I thought, but obviously not. And the color switching is new.

And that's the story to date. I'll keep you posted here, with comments, or a new post, if anything significantly changes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Comcast really sucks

Update in comments following this post..-- I wrote a tale of problems I've had with Comcast, see July post. Well, apparently they really haven't learned much beyond pissing off customers. This week (Tuesday) they loaded new software into the system, meaning everyone's TV cable boxes. Well, it's all flash and dash, and a little better, but they obviously didn't fully test drive it.

If you subscribe to both analog, digital and HD channels, you will discover switching between HD and other channels loses the color in the other channels, and this can't be undone except by unplugging the cable box for 20-30 seconds which erases the memory, both the software and the schedule. This resets everything.

If you stay on digital channels. you're fine. And if you stay on HD channels, you're fine. But switch from HD to digital channels, and you're screwed, the color goes away, not entirely. You get a black and white and purple screen. On every digital channel. Yup. go back to square one and reset things.

And three days latter they haven't seen to caught on to tell anyone let alone appear to fix the problem. And e-mails? Well, I haven't received my answer yet which they promised yesterday.

So, Comcast, tell me why I should remain a customer when I'm paying good, hard-earned money, for what now? Black and white, and purple TV shows? Wow, the 1950's all over again. What a concept. Suffice it to say I'm not holding my breath, but I know it will eventually be fixed. But when ? That's the $64,000 question we're all paying for Comcast's answer.

Well, Comcast, it's in your court, or software now. And you still haven't fixed the Dolby 5.1 sound output problem that's been there since January 2006. But you did solve the bandwidth problem which was there for over a year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Palin the ditz

Sarah Palin is proving that beauty and brains aren't compatible, especially when she decides to talk without thinking, something she's getting a lot of practice lately. Now she's decided to say there are people who are "more American" and places which are "pro-America" where the rest of us aren't.

Last I heard I was born an American and I'm still one. I even served my country during the Vietnam-era. But I'm an independent as a voter and a person. I accept people with differing views, and while I may disagree, I will always smile to know we are all Americans with the right and freedom of speech. And as much as we dislike it, even hate speech is guarranteed so long as it doesn't incite violence, terrorism or the overthrow of the government or doesn't threaten government leaders.

And now Sarah Palin has proven there are people, like this is really new?, who really think they're better and like to pretend their better Americans than us. After all she has a son in Iraq, a disabled (downs) daugther and an unwed pregnant daughter. All this shows is she has a family, just like the rest of the families, except she and her husband are rich in income and assests, something the rest of us don't have.

But then she apologized, saying it was what I said but not what I meant. Yeah right, we're expected to believe it and buy it? Not! You believe it and said it. That's not hard to understand.

In addition two republican Representatives have also made similar comments about the divide between them and us, inciting hate with pro- and anti-American people. It seems the Republicans are scrapping the bottom of the barrel and using fear to incite their voters, by implying they're better and we're not real Americans.

That's pure and simple hate. And all it's managed to do is get people angry at the very people who said it. It's pure and simple. Hate speech is unAmerican and anti-American. What don't the understand? Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot, they're simple ditzes, all beauty and little brains. Like Sarah Palin, the star ditz of the Republican party.

I'll still smile knowing you're an American like me, but I'll also laugh because you're the best example of being a ditz I've seen in many years. Even better than the celebrities in the tabloids, because you're supposed to be intelligent, but you're not, you're just political. And still a ditz.

Bush dancing

I was reading about the various rules and regulations and the "new" decisions the federal agencies have been initiating, adopting and implementing. This isn't new, every lame duck President does this, have the agencies in their administration starting sneaking in rules and regulations - sneaking it isn't because all have to be published in the Federal Register, but sneaking it the few people who read this daily publication.

But the Bush administration, seeing the likelihood of a Democrat President being elected and a real Democratic Congress, even maybe a filibuster-proof one, is exacerbating them into action. And they're sneaking more and worse rules and regulations which will take longer to undo and fix by the next administration. Add to this the major issues Bush is leaving on the table for the next President, and it's clear he's dancin' fast and loose.

It's clear the SOFA (treaty legalizing the American presence in Iraq) is going down the toliet, something they knew months ago could and would likely happen because Bush is a lame duck. Coming this January, when the SOFA expires, Bush will simply say something to the effect, "We're working on an extension." and then leave it to collect dust for the next President. He walk out the door saying, "So, don't forget to get a new SOFA."

And then there is Gitmo. Both candidates have sworn to follow the Geneva Convention and close Gitmo, but the White House staffers are making it hard to close the unlawful prison and follow the federal justice system to prosecute the prisoners. They're imposing decisions about the prisoners which will make their prosecution hard and closing Gitmo almost impossible.

And Bush will wave goodbye laughing, knowing he screwed the next President and the American people with his administrations illegal decisions and actions about prisoners of war (which is what they are, not enemy combatants as the courts have said all along) with the creation of Gitmo and the abuse of prisoners' rights. And closing it will be a nightmare.

I hope the next President's staff have been keeping a checklist of the rules and regulations the Bush administration is implementing in the latter days of their terms. And then prioritize them when they assume office. It usually takes a year to fix them, and Bush's may take longer because he and his folks are more mean and vindicitive and left some that will do more harm and damage than just words.

And some of the fixes will take Congressional help with laws, programs, and funds. It's being that disasterous to the American people and America. And with the real problems of the wars, the eonomy and the international situation, I worry some will last far longer than necessary and the damage will be lasting if not permanent.

But there's always hope, because at least we've stopped the tune and tone of Bush's dancing and changed the record for the better for America and the American people.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Failing our Veterans

Every member of Congress, minus a very few such as Senator Webb of Virginia, should be ashamed. Not just privately or personally, but publically, in front of all Americans. Why? They have failed our veterans. There is no two ways to put it. While they've extolled war and the soldiers, they haven't extolled even a thank you beyond the cursory political rhetoric for the veterans.

And now, after Senator Webb steered the passage of the new Veterans Bill, the VA itself first balked at the provisions, then contracted out the work, then backed down in the face of criticism - remember the VA is under the White House, specificially Cheney's idea which is hide all the veterans, especially the dead and permanent disabled from the public, and then agreed to August, 2009 for the new bill.

But it will be 8 years too late for the veterans of Afghanistan and 6-plus years for the veterans of Iraq. Congress has not stepped up to date working for veterans of these wars, not with benefits, job/career protections, and medical services. They treated them as throwaways, come home and be forgotten.

Even the Vietnam veterans, despite the public abused, got more then than veterans get now. I got two degrees with mine on a monthly stipend. Now it doesn't do that, just the immediate college expenses, provided you contribute your share. And many of the veterans of these wars were jettisoned by the military to wait many months before they learned they lose their benefits and access to medical services with only a small disability stipend.

And we know the reservists and National Guard veterans were simply treated for the initially injuries and released back to their units, with little to show beyond the experience and wounds. Any wonder many of the veterans of these wars aren't enamored at war and the members of Congress?

Any wonder why there is a fairly sharp divide between the veterans depending on the war when you served? Any wonder why many pre-Vietnam veterans support McCain and espouse war as the solution to international relations? And the Vietnam and later vets don't? It's not unanimous within each group but the majority agree.

Any wonder why men who haven't served love war and those who served don't? Those who haven't served don't have that experience and the reality of being a veteran, whether who survived intact or not. Those who haven't served are happy to extol the virtues of war and the willingness to direct others to go in the place and with their believe it's right and just.

But it's not and neither. If you can't stand to serve, you don't have the right to argue for a war. It's about being a veteran and honoring your country with your service. And yes, it's that simple. And Congress should heed that and stand up for the veterans with real, productive action, not political rhetoric, which doesn't pay the bills, comfort the families, nor fix the damage done by war.

Thank you Senator Webb for your work on our behalf.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ferrari Internationale Automobile

The FIA, the international governing body over Formula One racing (their Website) rejected McLaren's appeal to Hamilton's win in the recent Belgian Grand Prix. This really isn't news because the FIA is a group of Ferrari fans who will always vote for Ferrari and against any other car company in F-1 competing with Ferrari.

I have watched Formula One racing since the early 1960's when we lived in Europe and went to some of the races, and then watched over the years on television. I like that I can see most of the races live, albeit getting up at 4:30 am isn't fun, but worthwhile. And I say most because ABC and CBS seems to think tape delay still works in major sports. Not. For the races they televised this year, everyone already knew the results posted on the FIA Website.

Over the last ten-plus years, especially when Michael Schumacher became world champion years in a row, the FIA has favored Ferrari, often ignoring violations made by the team when engineering and building their cars and made by the drivers and team during the race. But then would routinely penalize other teams for the same violations.

This was evident last year when a McLaren engineer had a Ferrari technical manual in his home, and although he never shared it with the team that was proven, the FIA took away all of their team and drivers points and issued a $100 Million fine. But when Ferrari hired a McLaren engineer during the season in violation of the engineer's contract, the FIA did nothing. Who did the most damage, a book or a person?

And this latest decision against McLaren which cost the team and driver points is another example of the FIA own self-interpretation of their own rules. I watched the race and it wasn't a violation, which the track stewards said it wasn't. But the FIA said it was, and then rejected the appeal.

So the Federationi Internationale de l'Automobile governs Formula One so Ferrari will always win. And they wonder why many fans hate them since we're not Ferrari fans. And why we hate Formula One for not really being a sporting race anymore when the enforcement of the rules always favors Ferrari. Or maybe they think Formula One is Ferrari One (always)?

Update.-- I watched the China GP yesterday and again saw an infraction by Ferrari and nothing will be done. In the last half of the race Kimi Räikkönen was running second and Felipe Massa third. Neither could gain on Hamilton and Massa wasn't gaining on Räikkönen, until that is, with 8 laps to go Räikkönen appeared to slow slightly and Massa passed him on the long straight into the hairpin into the front/pit straight.

They finished in that order, Massa second and Räikkönen third, handing Massa two additional points in the championship. And in the post-race interview Räikkönen admitted he violated the regulation, which states, "Team order which change the final outcome of the race (meaning individual or team points) are prohibited."

He said it was team orders and said he did it on team orders, but we know Ferrari and Massa will not be penalized as they haven't in similar situations over the years. Ferrari always gets away with it and the other teams don't. It's that simple, Even Dave DeSpain on his TV show said as much to Steve Matchett.

The FIA is a joke as a objective board and the last three races with the penalities have shown their incompetence and bias, to the point everyone is saying so. The FIA knows Ferrari winning is where the money is and they'll do anything to keep it. that way. They showed it last year stripping MacLaren of the constructor's championship and they're doing it this year the same way in bits and pieces, penalizing other teams and drivers to advance Ferrari drivers.

It's why Bernie Eccelstone and Max Mosely should sell their ownership stake in Formula One and get out of F1, and the FIA do what it's supposed to do for the betterment of the sport. They're pissing off a lot of fans and now other teams and owners.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain and copyright laws

It seems Senator, and Presidential candidate, John McCain, uses the copyright laws at his, or his campaign staff's, discretion. The latest is his outrage over YouTube pulling his Internet ads with news footgage the main stream news companies complained to YouTube were copyrighted. YouTube pulled the ads on the request and verification of the ads.

McCain's staff complained YouTube should then pull all political ads until they can verify those also don't violate copyright laws, but some advocacy groups support YouTube as the platform, leaving the review to users, while some have support the views the provider should be the copyright police. The law passed by Congress in 1998 supports the former, holding provider innocent of copyright violation unless they were knowingly complicit in the violation.

And over the course of his campaign, he and Governor Palin have made free use of songs by three groups who have sent cease and desist letter to the campaign. The campaign did so but then just found another song to use or they cited that they're not in control of the songs played and public events. That's bullshit as we know campaign staffs control every aspect of a candidate's public events.

So, this is a facet of McCain the public doesn't seem to want to know about, or do they really care? McCain is similar to Bush, beside voting 90+% of the time with the President's view - so much for touting being a maverick, in that he simply disregards or doesn't even care about the people's right to copyright their work.

So what kind of President decides the American people are meaningless and only incidental to their personal and political agenda? Gee, that one we've had for the last 8 years? And now we want 4 or even 8 more years of the same?

Signing statements

Tuesday (10/14/08) Bush signed the Military Authorization Act into law. That is except for his signing statements where he declares he and his administration do not and will not abide by the provisions of this law identified in the respective signing statements. Despite that Presidential signing statements have been used in President Monroe, Bush has issued almost twice as many statements as all of the previous presidents combined. Combined!

This means he, or really Cheney, has decided the President and his offices are imperial to Congress and the American People. He can pick and choose what provisions of any law or act passed by Congress to abide by, ignore, or outright reject. This include funding authorizations as it has been noted he's prohibited agencies from spending money allocated in funding authorizations, and then used the money elsewhere.

And despite the American Bar Association statement that signing statements, and those used by Bush, are unconstitutional, there is no legal manner to challenge the President on his signing statements without going through a very lengthy court fight. No one has to date (that I've found in the news).

He can and does act like a King telling the Congress and the American people to go fuck themselves. And I hope the next President makes it clear he will not use signing statements as a polticial tool. Congress should not only ban them but make them illegal, and with a Congressional override, and then challenge the President the first time he issues one. The country and nation needs it.

The President should sign bills into law as passed by Congress. If the President doesn't like it, go to Congress to change it, but don't flaunt the Constitution in the name of her personal political agenda against the wishes of our elected representatives (even if we don't like what they've done or are doing, they're still ours).

So the ball is in Congress' court. Do you now have the balls to do something or simply pander to the President conducting illegal acts? Well, isn't it time to stand up for the people and the Constitution?

Friday, October 10, 2008

what they didn't do

Listening to the statements and testimony of the Wall Street and financial services company CEO's before Congress, especially the CEO of Lehman Brothers, I was struck with something they said about what they didn't say or rather do. Mr. Fuld said, "We did everything we could to correct this problems."

What he didn't say is that he and everyone in the company didn't do everything they could to prevent it. That's the key to the whole crisis. Everyone was blinded by the freedom and greed for profit. They didn't think beyond their own wallet, especially Mr. Fuld who stand to get about $500 Million with his departure. Everyone else is broke or worse, and he walks away, the bank robber who stole the bank, and even getting caught never sees one day in court let alone prison.

And that applies to the rest of them. As the experts and analysists have said, all this was easily preventable, by the the financial service and banking industry themselves, by the oversight regulatory commitees, and by Congress. The President could have easily staved off the crisis but he created it with an philosophical environment encouraging.

Bush, who has claimed created for the economy and financial gains, should also take responsibility and tell the nation and American people he failed, and he failed us. I know he won't, he's a coward who hides behind political rhetoric, as he hid from his miltiary duty (in the Air National Guard and then renigned and never showed up for duty and had his father use his influence to cover it up).

And so things will take their course, and in the end the taxpayers will be on the hook for assholes like CEO Fuld, while he and other CEO, as had many who have profited by this crisis, will walk away with huge payouts. And not see one day in court let aline jail for defrauding people and the taxpayers. Their arrogance and influence in Congress and the White House saved their butts and wallets.

So who speaks for the American people now beyond the political rhetoric?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cell Phones

Washington State has a hands-free only cell phone use while driving, with some exceptions for emergency personnel or emergency purposes, such as calling 911. It's been in effect since July 1, 2008, and six months after the State banned text messaging while driving, since this requires two hands and focusing on the PDA screen. These laws are very much common sense, so why do people ignore them?

Everyday I go out, if only to the local town for errands. I will always see at least one person with a cellphone stuck to their ear. And when you get them to notice it's illegal, they either get angry with you or smile and wave at you. Simply not just ignoring you and the law, but flaunting it. I've followed people who passed cops who did nothing.

The State made it clear, they're serious about cellphones, and while they watered it down as a secondary offense, meaning it can't be the primary reason you were stopped, they get your notice and can give you a warning. I've seen the State Patrol do it on the Interstate but I've yet to see a local cop give a warning.

People only think this applies to State and Interstate highways? No, the law says, "...while driving..." What's not to understand about being the driver? You're in the drivers seat with all those controls moving along or sitting at lights. Gee, what's not to understand you can only use a hands-free cellphone. They're available with all cellphones now. And cheap too.

Ok, it's a pet peeve with me. I hate them. Mine sits in my briefcase, usually off. And if it's on, the hands-free device is active there next to it. When I drive, I drive. I focus on driving. And I hate being around or near people talking on cellphones, even hands-free ones, but worse cellphones. I've been ignored or not seen by drivers because they weren't paying attention to their driving over their talking and almost caused accidents.

They're dangerous. So people please when you're driving, "Get off the fucking cellphone!"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dear Ms Palin

Dear Ms Palin,

You really are proving you are what you said at the Republican Convention, a Pit Bull with lipstick. Your recent claim of ties between Obama and Ayers is patently untrue and you know it. You fabricated something that isn't there and never existed in the first place. And if you keep it up, you will only give right of people to both ignore and dismiss you and to argue back with lies about you, but then many of those lies are actually true.

How many times must you claim lies as fact or truth? Do you actually believe trying to discredit Obama is going to make you look better? You're a fraud and a cheat. Oh, lies? Well, check you past at the door or else face the reality of your record and history as mayor and then governor. Are you willing to do that? Or do you still want to be a caricature of the Pit Bull with lipstick?

Yes I listened to your interview with Katie Curic and I listened to the Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden. And sorry, the Curic interview showed who you really are, clueless, and the debate showed what you can do, sing and dance but still be clueless. Did you not think we wouldn't get the point you're not that smart or experienced. And to say you would ignore the questions and Mr. Biden to answer your own questions with your own talking points and soundbites?

Do you really think we're that stupid? I listened to the debate on the radio to avoid watching you and so I could focus on what you said. And I'm still wondering what you said that hasn't been said and was new. You didn't say anything new and only regurgitated a bunch of political rhetoric. We don't need a VP who appears cute and cutesy, but one who actually knows and knows what the responsibilities of being a VP.

What don't you understand the bar was set so low for you, there was no way you could fail. Just showing up was enough and talking without appearing stupid, notice appearing not meaningful answers, let you pass. But don't think that put you on the same plain as Mr. Biden. You should consider yourself lucky he didn't verbally draw and quarter you, but then he didn't have to because you're not the issue, McCain is.

And now after the debate you're spouting even worse garbage. You're not a maverick. You haven't been around long enough to be one and you haven't done what a real maverick would do. You only did what other politicians before you have done, change things to your liking. You bludgeoned your opponents and gave favors to friends. That's not new nor being a maverick, but just more of the same and just a different flavor of the politics.

So, in the interest of integrity and honesty, and I can do being older and more experienced in life than you, please, to borrow that old adage, "Shut the fuck up!" Or if you find that offensive, try what everyone's grandmother always tell you, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Try that for awhile and consider becoming the good person your faith tells you to be. Or does you faith allow you to lie about that along with your mouth?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Random Thoughts

Just some thoughts on a rainy, windy Saturday morning in paradise.

If we set the bar for a passing mark to a woman who looks and talks pretty but doesn't really saying anything, let alone substantive, and then set the bar for a man to give thoughtful, coherent, comprehensive, and understanding responses with no regard to his looks, is it sexism? Or what?

When the pundits and journalists gave Palin a passing mark for the debate even though she didn't say anything beyond soundbites, but the expected Biden to be Senatorial. "It was grading on the curve.", someone said. But when does the curve view sex as the measure for intelligence?

If we allow a white, pretty, woman calls the average American male "Joe sixpack", considering it a compliment, and then don't allow a black man to say the same thing, is that racism? Or what?

Far fetched? Not really. Sarah Palin dismissed the average American male as a dumb, stupid, beer-drinking, pickup-driving, tv-watching man. And everyone cheered. When Barack made a comment about the average American male, he was roundly criticized for being demeaning and maybe racist.

Don't we want a Vice President who respects Americans? We all know Mr. Biden has flaws, sometimes viewed comically, but why are we giving Ms. Palin a pass on her flaws? Her record isn't what she said it was. The Katie Curic interview wasn't an aberation. So why say it was and use the debate, which her staff and RNC aides pumped her full of soundbites and talking points, as the only judgement?

We're judging some candidates by the personality but others by the content of character (ML King)? Why?

They'll praise Palin for being pretty, dynamic woman who maybe has some knowledge of Alaska and its politics, but beyond that is a bubble headed, ditz. They'll attack Biden for being verbose, sometimes condescending, etc. but a very smart, experienced Senator. And they call them "even"?

What happened to judging people by the content of their character? Have we forgotten those words to expect less of our leaders?

If we try to understand something, say the financial services and credit crisis, and many of the expert tell you, "It's really very complicated for most people to understand.", is it just the way people act to disguise the truth? To treat you like an idiot in something they created that, when you get idea of what's going on and realize it's all a sham, a fraud, and so bad that one well known expert called it, "A soft creamy center inside a pile of manure."

The radio show "This American Life" has had two recent episodes on the crisis with experts who explain it in terms and ways it is easy to understand, and they tell you the facts the media, Congress and all the other experts aren't saying. While it started in the deregulation era of Reagan, it took off under Clinton and accelerated under Bush.

It's been a long time coming and it's the reality of a house of meaningless (debt) cards. There is nothing real behind all the money except the original mortages, many bad subprime ones that couldn't make profit if they tried, and just more money. It's all debt leveraged iinto more debt backed by securites based on the debt used to get the leverage with default swaps used to insure the leverage.

Get the picture? It is very convulted and complex, but it's nothing the home buyer or taxpayer created, just the financial services companies and the failed regulators, the latter who failed to heed the signs. They were all there but people choose to ignore or dismiss them, saying it's ok, like we're children.

Except in the end, the teenagers spent the house, and everything we own in the name of greed for profit with debts we'll buy with no real ideas they're worth anything more than the paper they're printed on. We were conned once into the situation and we are being conned again to buy the crap they left on the floor, while they walk away with many millions in profits.

Did you know now Skype, Yahoo and Google are the US companies to date who have cooperated with the Chinese government to conduct Internet surveillence on its own citizens? Who else do this beside all of the US companies? So much for freedom.

So, that's the state of Saturday as seen from paradise.

Saturday Thoughts

Well, the $700 Billion bill is signed and law. What's the saying, "And may God have mercy on our soul." We will need it because the truth and reality is that no one knows if it will work and no one knows if Wall Street and the financial services companies won't go back to business and usual, slightly smarter but not necessarily wiser.

The whole deal is that it's all built on debt. Our entire economy is built on debt and cash flow. There isn't much collateral behind and underlying all that debt, much of which is only there on hope and promises, most of the latter sales tactics to convince buyers it's a good deal. And now the government will be the owner of a lot bad and toxic debt, much of which isn't much beyond the government now promising profit.

And they didn't offer much hope or promise to homeowners, only if the mortage companies want to be generous. So what happened to the Democrats and Republicans espousing support for the middle class?

And the bill is full of earmarks? You know those things politicians rail against in campaigns and President Bush has vowed to line out. Well, he didn't line them out and the earmarks are there for one and only one reason, buying votes. Those who voted no the first time sold out for an earmark.

We got to see real politics at work. All 450 pages of what? Did the representatives who voted for it really read it? Or did they take the word of the lobbyists, Secretary Paulen's staff and the small select commitee of Representatives and Senators who wrote it? I still think we, the people, and our country, were screwed and fucked and we're paying the bill too, but then we'll see what happens.

And I'll still stand by my decision, if you voted for it, you don't have my vote come election day. However good you are and how much I like you for your record, this was too much to swallow. It doesn't mean I'm right, probably far from it, it's just my take on it. And my right to be just as stupid as our elected representatives who voted for it.

And other ideas?

Try the Web pages on the damage done by the new strain of TB. was lucky when being diagnosed with TB the followup proved negative, but almost had to go through the drug routine as a precaution. Makes you wonder where politicians heads are at when everything is there to treat and prevent it but it survives on the nickels and dimes left after the war spending and tax cuts for what? Money?

What happened to the value of a human life?

Is Sarah Palin really middle class? Well, it's reported she and her husband are worth up to $2.1 Million and have an annual salary of $166,000. Not too shabby for a hockey Mom? Oh, I forgot, she's the governor and Todd has his income. Gee, it's hard to live in Alaska on a middle class income, so they do what they can to get by. Just like the rest of us?

Was the VP debate sexism? Consider the gave Ms. Palin a headstart by just showing up, and then a passing grade for not sounding or looking stupid. That's a very low bar, anyone can jump. But if she were a man with the same experience, would they have given him the same? Think Dan Quayle in 1988.

And then they set the bar far higher for Joe Biden, to be professional, courteous, and not doing what he normally does, go on and on and on... And not be condescending about Palin's inexperience.

Yes it was sexism because she looked good doing it. They called it a draw or a wash, but it wasn't. She got a passing grade for being a woman and he got a passing grade for being better. If you don't believe it, don't look at it, listen to it, or better read it. You'll see she is still a ditsy woman who sounds nice and looks cute.

All I ask is to look at her record as mayor and governor and look at her views on the issues, the few she has some knowledge or exprience to express. The rest are platitudes and soundbites.

At last OJ Simpson is going to prison. Finally.

Ok, enough for a Saturday morning. Fall is coming to paradise. The weather is changing and landscape turning to winter. And when I begin to wake up to the times and places.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Can someone explain

Can someone explain to me, anyway, how the repubublican candidate for President and Vice President can tell the American people how bad everything is in Washington D.C., from the Iraq war to the economy, when for the last nearly 8 years a republican President and for 6 of those years a Republican-controlled Congress have been in charge?

Can someone explain how a 26 years Senator can call himself an outsider?

Can someone explain how a Vice Presidential candidate from Alaska with less than two years of executive experience can call herself experienced?

Can someone explain why the republicans can demand we open up the off-shore coastline to oil drilling now, but won't demand the oil and natural gas companies drill on the 85 million acres they already have leases for in the continental US? Where there is more oil and natural gas there than off-shore?

Can someone explain how the Governor of Alaska can demand we drill on federal lands there, especially in ANWR, now but won't open up the vast acreages the State owns in Alaska for oil and natural gas exploration and production?

Can someone explain how a mother who wants the schools to teach abstinence to teenagers have a pregnant daughter? And still can herself a good mother?

Can someone explain how a Governor who raised taxes in the State of Alaska tell folks she cut taxes?

Can someone explain how anyone who believes in equal rights for everyone and equal protection in the eyes of the law demand inequality when it suits them? Or does equal rights only apply to those like them?

Can someone explain how people can say a 17 year old pregnant white girl is socially acceptable today but a 17 year old pregnant black girl stil isn't?

Can someone explain why people demand less taxes but demand more money from the government for social, education, healthcare, infrastucture, national emergencies, and other programs because it's needed?

Can someone explain how people can demand cost-cutting, efficiency and productivity in government spending except for the military and homeland security?

Can someone explain how all the rules governing air travel and air travellers has yet to lead to the arrest, indictment and prosecution of a terrorist?

Can someone explain how our government now considers every citizen the enemy and everyone is a potential if not possible terrorist?

Can someone explain what happened to our privacy and our right to privacy without suggesting it's about terrorism? Who does the government think are terrorists? Us?

Can someone explain how lying to the American people in the case for war isn't crimes and misdemeanors as defined in the Constitution but lying about sex is?

Can someone explain how a Presidential candidate can look at you through the TV cameras and lie, even in the face of the obvious truth and reality, and we don't call them for it? Where's the media?

Can someone explain how a Vice President can destroy thousands of e-mails and papers in violation of the law isn't a crime but erasing 18 minutes of a tape was?

Can someone explain how using non-government e-mail accounts for government business and communication in violation of the law and no one holds them accountable?

Can someone explain how a Presidential candidate rail against earmarks in Congressional bills and then sign major bills with hundreds of earmarks in it?

Can somone explain how a President can vow to veto a bill with earmarks sign that very same bill into law?

Can someone explain how our elected representatives say they're on our side and them pass a bill that doesn't help us but hurts us?

Can someone explain how every republican president in the last 40 years promised to cut government and govenment spending and then increase government more and spend more than any Democratic president in the last 40 years?

Can someone explain how we can listen to a politician talk without saying anything substantive and call it substantive? When does meaningless and empty become something and substantive?

Can someone explain how we can rail at poltiicians who engage in deficit spending and then keep electing them to do more?

Can someone explain when we will wake to realize there is nothing left in the budget after we pay the interest on the debt, the mandated program (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), and the military and homeland security? When there is no more money, what will we do?

Can someone explain what we will do when other nations who hold most of our $11+ Trillion national debt want to cash out?

Can someone explain when we will leave Iraq? Or is the question how many lives will we lose before we realize we're never leaving Iraq?

Can someone explain when we will realize people really aren't the problem but guns are?

Can someone explain when we will realize owning guns really doesn't make us safer?

Can someone explain how protecting a fetus is more important than helping an unwanted child?

Can someone explain how we still haven't learned Martin Luther King's words?

Can someone explain how race still keeps sneaking in between people and their words?

Can someone explain what we will say and do when we realize we've destoryed the planet beyond its ability to replenish itself? And our ability to save it?

Can someone explain what "I told you so." means when it's too late?

Can someone explain how people who ignore history explain it when it comes back to bite them?

Can someone explain if there is only one God why there are so many Gods?

Can someone explain how a religious person can call their enemy an extremist but not themselves when the expound the same ideas and perform the same acts of violence?

Can someone explain how a religious person can value an unborn life more than the value of the mother?

Can someone explain how we value the natural resources of a country more than the people?

Can someone explain how a democracy protects dictators and not democracy elsewhere?

Can someone explain how a democracy can support military juntas and dictators elsewhere? Even overthrowing democracies to do so?

Can someone explain how a democracy can espouse human rights and freedoms but refuse to sign treaties to protect those very rights and freedoms?

Can someone explain how a democracy can be the world's largest producer and seller of military weapons and technology?

Can someone explain how a democracy demand the sovereignty of their nation but deny the sovereignity of other nations?

Can someone explain how we are one of a few, if not the only, nation to refuse to sign treaties banning landmines, cluster bombs, torture and other military technology and interrogation techniques?

Can someone explain how we can sign the Geneva Convention and then decide it doesn't apply to us? And the only leader in the world who declares it useless?

Can someone explain why we can see ourselves as the world sees us?

The Palin windup doll II

Well, after writing my view of Ms. Palin, McCain's Vice Presidential nominee, I watched the debate, and while all the pundits are calling it a draw and the republicans calling it a success, it was just another example of her being a windup doll.

Yes, she spouted a lot of facts and pronounced the name, with some extra emphasis on some, all the leaders of the world correctly, but getting some names wrong, she didn't say anything. She simply spouting soundbites of emotion and feelings with a lot of facts, many of which were fabrications or exagerations of the truth. She looked pretty and she spoke pretty, but she still didn't say anything of substance.

And while some call it a draw, when is a threshold for her an order of magnitude lower than for Senator Biden a draw? She only had to not appear stupid. And the republicans team who prepped her filled her tape recorder with plenty of factoids to keep reciting. She made it clear she wasn't going to answer the questions asked but rephrase the question to use the facts she had memorized.

The debate to me was like a high school debate team member debating a 12 year. What good is that and then say it's even because they're both still standing. Simply because Biden didn't become condescending, which she deserves to get for her lack of real knowlege on the issues, isn't ground to give her points. Senator Loyld Benson debated Dan Quayle in a similar situatioin and the results were entirely different.

And Dan Quayle had more experience and intelligence than Ms. Palin. Is the media practicing sexism because she's a woman? And giving her more points because she's a woman? And more latitude for being far less intelligence and knowledgeable on the issues than a man? It sure appeared that way to me.

She's still a windup doll, just with a lot of memory installed in her brain. I want to hear her in a long debate format where you talk at length on issues from experience and intelligence. Raise the bar for her to be equal and the same as you would any man in the same place. Make her prove she is as good as she claims.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Still no to bailout

Dear Congress,

My vote is still no. I wrote how I felt about the bailout and my view hasn't changed. It's just a bill to assume all of the toxic (bad) debt Wall Street (WS) created for greed and profit. It's doesn't help the American consumer or home buyer, but simply lets WS to go after more debt. And much of that debt isn't real but mortage backed securities, meaning loans based on loans which are just monetary air.

And giving the consumer and home buyer candy in trade isn't good for America. Wall Street got themselves into the mess with the aid of Bush and Congress, so don't put his on the taxpayer. We were screwed by the financial service companies with the loans and we're getting screwed by Congress. It's a sham and a farse on the people.

And at 450-plus pages can any Congress representative or Senator say they've read the bill? And when aides tell reporters they want to pass a bill to get out of town to start campaigning for re-election tells you where their heads and hearts are at, which isn't for the American people but Wall Street.

Is there any provision this will work? Is there any provision if it doesn't? Is there any provision the debt can be resold back to Wall Street? With over $11 Trillion national debt, we'll be on the hook for debt we won't see repaid for years, if at all. And Wall Street goes back to business as usual, because they paid off Congress well in return for the bailout to assume all their bad debt.

Any bets the financial services and companies start reporting huge profits next year and beyond because they're not burdened with the toxic loans they made and created the mess? Any bets when the Treasury tries to sell all this debt, those very same companies say, "No thanks, we know they're toxic and not worth the paper they're printed on. After all we created them in the first place."?

Gee, I wonder who's getting their money's worth, us or them?

And dear representative, if you voted for the bill, you don't have my vote anymore period. And if I'm wrong, I'll apologize. Isn't that what ya'll do and get away with it? But then I don't cost the taxpayer anything either. Like ya'll do and did.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cluster bombs

You know those bombs Isreal used against the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon two years ago and ended up killing or maiming many civilians, including children, due to the indiscriminate nature of cluster bombs. Except the bombs they used were newly developed ones supplied by the US government, who wanted to see how effective they were in a real world, "battlefield, situation.

Well, we learned a lot, but mostly how not use them against targets where the "enemy" is well mixed into the rural population, which can and will damage villages, homes, and mostly people. And where many of the bombs will fall unexploded into the landscape and effectively become a visible land mine, where children pick them up, only to be killed or maimed.

If you don't know what a cluster bomb, you should become familar with them, as the US is only one of a handful of nations who have not signed the treaty banning them. Yes, we haven't sign and refuse to sign because we're the world's leading developer and producer of cluster bombs. We're make and sell, or give away in the case of Isreal, these bombs.

And now I read in the latest issue of New Scientist, 9/27-10/3/2008, the US is working on the development of new and better cluster bombs where the bomblets, as they're called, are "smart" bombs, which can "fly" at specific targets, even moving ones. They want the bomblets to identify enemy targets, such a tanks, artillery, personnel carriers, etc.

Well, it's seems the US is doing something very well in the world, which is can fully develop for its customers and friendly nations, and that is military technology. We are still the world leader (although the old Soviet Union was are equal with some technology), and we're learning the other nations, like China, are quickly adapting with new military technology too.

Gee, don't you feel warm and fuzzy about this? Or is that a bomblet finding your brain to tell you it's ok to kill and maim innocent civilians in the name of fight war? Collateral damage is the operative word, which they use to hide the reality of it being people, like you and me, just going about their lives.

Maybe you should think of it as landmines thrown from airplanes indiscriminately, like leaftets of death and destruction.

And by the way, the US also never signed and refuse to the sign the ban on landmines for the very same reason, we're the world's leader in the development and production of them. You know the ones that kill people in Iraq and Afghanistan, except those are older mines from other countries, one who did sign the treaty banning landmines.

But that's another topic, and a far more troubling one since there are still buried active landmines from WW I and WW II in Europe and Russia, and many more buried and active landmines the US left behind in Vietnam when we left. We also never helped Vietnam locate and disarm these. So, we're still on the hook for them, forty years later.

We did far more damage to Vietnam from the bombing raids, landmine and Agent Orange than our soldiers ever did because we left but we left our legacy with landmine and residual Agent Orange. Still today and will be for decades to come.

Monday, September 29, 2008

And now

And now, after nearly 8 years of President Bush's administration with Dick Cheney and their deregulation efforts, which was done with the help of the Republican-controlled Congress and wimpy Democrat-controlled Congress, the proverbial chickens have come home to roost. And now Bush is being Chicken Little, citing the disaster if we don't bailout the financial services sector and companies from their fraud and greed.

And now we know what Bush was really about, driving this country into the ground for the profit of corporations, first with the Iraq/Afghanistan carpet bagging companies defrauding the government with no-bid contracts for billions and the security companies ruining the reputation of America and the military running amuck in Iraq with no worry of liability or prosecution, ad second with Cheney's Energy policy and task force which we'll never know because he had his staff destroy the records in violation of the law preserving documents.

And now the economy, or the financial services companies. The truth is that neither he or Cheney believed in their job as President and Vice President, respectively. The truth is that they simply used it for an agenda to benefit (rich and corporate) friends, corporations and lobbyists. And we wrote the checks.

And now the next President will have the unfortunate job of telling the American people the truth, about the reality of the world, this country, our economy, and the Bush Administration itself. They'll be the messenger of the worst news imaginable in our history outside of the Civil War. And in 2012, if things don't improve beyond the barest expectations of Americans, he'll be another first term President.

I once read that it takes 2-4 years for the delayed effects of any president to be felt throughout the economy and that first term of a President is always reacting and fixing those problems. And the second term, if they're re-elected, is creating his/her own problems for that term and the next President. So, that said, look what Bush wrought on the economy and the American people.

He and his administration, with VP Cheney, spent the frst few years setting the stage and the rest creating a new military-corporate complex Eisenhower warned us about fifty years ago. He was so right. Our Defense spending hasn't decreased in over a decades, always going up beyond inflation, and Defense purchases, separate from their operation budget, also keeps going up for new weapons programs.

And the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan isn't costing just the expenditures defined in the war appropriations funding, but over twice because that only includes the actual operations. The rest, such as equipment, contracts, Iraqi government support, etc. are all extra in the Defense budget. They do this to hide the real total cost of the war. And don't forget the VA assumes the costs of the injured and disabled.

And the Homeland Security Administration budget also has never decrreased, and we're getting even less for it than Defense. We're no safer and HSA keeps chasing corporate technology as the answer to our security. And it's not working, especially for the huge price tags the government is freely spending. Our money treating us as suspects and terrorists. They've sold us fear and we're writing the checks.

And now this is where we are as a country, and to ensure we stay here, the republicans are selling us fear with McCain and Palin. If you thought Bush and Cheney were the worst President and Vice President in history, McCain and Palin can be worse. Neither are as smart as Cheney, but both are equally focused and reckless. They can't fix the economy or our problems because they don't want to fix them.

And now we're facing a real decision, "stay the course" or "vote for change." The former is known and the latter isn't, and now you have to decide, fear or unknown.