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Posts from — December 2007

Take Your Bi-partisanship and Shove It

Paul Krugman covers the basic points and has a good link for further study in his blog post on the Aging Wealthy White Men for National Unity Under Billionaire Media Moguls.

Reality check: as far as the voting public of the United States is concerned, based on recent polling, John Edwards is the center and Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate to his left. Do your homework and listen to what they are saying – everyone else, in both parties, is right of center.

This Bloomberg project is bringing together conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans to form a “bi-partisan coalition” of moderate conservatives. With the help of the media pundits the goal posts have been moved so far to the right that they are no longer in the stadium.

Republican stalling and obstruction is the problem, and it isn’t going away. The Republican base won’t allow compromise, so there’s no point in even talking about it. The only people who would be really attracted to a Bloomberg run are moderate Republican voters who don’t want to vote for any of their party’s candidates.

December 31, 2007   1 Comment

Things You Didn’t Want To Know

So, thanks to the disappearance of all other alternatives and the need to replace a large tarp before freezing temperature hit the area tomorrow, I broke down and went to Mal-Wart tonight.

The shopping gods sent me a warning – as soon as my foot touched the sidewalk outside the entrance the right lens popped out of my glasses’ frame. Minor annoyance, because the lens is plastic and didn’t break, so I used the jeweler’s screwdriver in my Swiss Army knife to reinstall it, and entered the store.

After several substitutions for what I really wanted, I got into the self-service line, because it was the only one showing any movement. The woman in front of me took her receipt from the printer and the screen went blank, then displayed an NCR logo screen, and finally the all too familiar “blue screen of death.” Yes, the self-service terminals are Intel boxes running Windows XP.

So, I watched it go through the Intel bios and memory checks, boot Windows and then it started to look for hardware when a supervisor came by with a sign closing the line. She informed me that it takes 20 minutes or more for a terminal to re-boot.

After schlepping everything to the end of another line and finally escaping, I’m left to wonder why the shopping gods hate my Mother’s goldfish.

December 31, 2007   8 Comments

Potemkin Security

Patrick Smith is a commercial airline pilot who writes at the New York Times travel blog, Jet Lagged. While I would guess that he is driven more by the personal indignity of being subjected to the same stupid procedures as passengers, while the catering and cleaning people move freely about airports, that doesn’t affect the truth in his article: The Airport Security Follies.

Taking off your shoes and giving up sippy cups and pudding makes no one safer. The whole process is designed to cow people into submitting to “unreasonable searches and seizures” that do not, in fact, make them any safer. In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow there will be restrictions on the lithium ion batteries that you use for your cameras and MP3 players. No word yet as to why they magically become a threat on January 1st, and are not a threat until then.

People need to complain, but they know if they do, they will show up on the watch list. As PZ Myers pointed out about torture, the real purpose of these measures is to control the population through fear.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin

That’s as true today as it was in 1759.

December 31, 2007   11 Comments

The Times Are Not “Change”-ing

If you flip a coin you get heads 50% of the time. So, no matter what you guess you’ll be right half the time based on simple probability. It’s not an easy thing to be either consistently right or consistently wrong, but some people and institutions manage it.

Thers at Whiskey Fire notes that the Blight seems to believe that liberal blogtopia is having a hissy fit over the New York Times hiring Bill Kristol.

Sorry, can’t worked up about it. In many ways they are good fit, neither one matches the predictive capabilities of loose change.

December 30, 2007   4 Comments

Coming Soon

I’ve added a new category to the blogroll, Street Scene, that features the new line-up at the American Street starting in 2008.

As Kevin Hayden was polite enough to ask me, I agreed to do some posting over there once a week. I don’t think I can get away with the Florida license plates, and there are too many people with interests in pets, so I guess I will actually have to write about whatever is annoying me at the moment.

The area I live in isn’t totally unconnected to the rest of the planet – Karl Rove has/had a place on the coast, Mike Huckabee dropped by recently, and the Clintons show up occasionally. They go over to the tacky, over-priced, absurd town of Destin or one if its gated adjuncts to con people out of any money they may have left after paying the price for a house or condo in that over-sold area.

Destin was once a working fishing port, but it has also participated in the casual “importing” trend of the late 1920s and early 1930s, and then again in the latter part of the 20th century. Fishing, even charter boat fishing, isn’t always sufficient to pay your bills, but some people pay amazingly well for deliveries from Mexico and Caribbean islands to the United States. Apparently other shipping companies didn’t want the business.

December 30, 2007   8 Comments

Passing the Plate

Florida License Plates

Florida Plate Blogging

Beneficiary

Standard Florida Plate

A weekend feature of Why Now.

December 30, 2007   6 Comments

Invest 95L

Not much of a threat to anyone, but it has to possibility of becoming the last named storm of the year – Tropical Storm Pablo. It’s out in the middle of the Atlantic and forecast to head towards Puerto Rico where it will probably be savaged by wind shear.

December 29, 2007   Comments Off on Invest 95L

Heads Up

There’s a new version of the Storm trojan/worm out and about being spread by greeting card posts.  Don’t click on any greeting cards unless you know the sender and recognize the greeting card site.

They are using Blogspot blogs to send some of this garbage out.

December 29, 2007   Comments Off on Heads Up

Living With Technology

First the good news.

My Mother has been fighting with her cell phone for some time due to what I finally realized was a sticking button. Unfortunately it was the button that you press to answer the phone, and, as a result, people were getting put on hold and the key board was being locked because of the bad button.

Instead of trying to get the thing fixed, she now has a new phone, a clamshell type, that automatically connects when you open it, and disconnects when you close it. She is a happy camper.

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December 29, 2007   8 Comments

More on Benazir Bhutto

Lower Manhattanite at Group News Blog has a two part post about chance encounters While Out and About. The second vignette deals with a common reaction to the rioting that is taking place in Pakistan. His response, is the same as mine. If you want to know about what is going on in Pakistan read some American history for the year 1968: political leaders assassinated and riots in the streets. I lived through it, folks, don’t try to tell me the Pakistanis are different from Americans, because we reacted in exactly the same way. You want to know about repressive police actions read about the police riot at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. Been there, done that – and I still remember.

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December 28, 2007   7 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Did You Know?

Friday Cat Blogging

Yeeoow!

[Editor: In a timely reminder Ringo notes that American media moguls of the day didn’t pay Charles Dickens anything when they printed and sold his work in the US. (Note – this is an old picture because I’m still playing tour guide and gofor while relatives visit and the cats have been hiding in the comforter because of the cold spell.)]

Friday Ark

December 28, 2007   11 Comments

Benazir Bhutto

Pierre Tristam notes in his about.com article on the assassination that before returning to Pakistan from Dubai, Ms Bhutto said: “I do not believe that any true Muslim will make an attack on me because Islam forbids attacks on women, and Muslims know that if they attack a woman they will burn in hell,” she said. “Secondly, Islam forbids suicide bombing.”

But then, that’s the problem with fundamentalists of all types – they justify themselves by claiming that they are forgiven all manner of crimes because their purpose is to purify the religion. “The ends justify the means” is the universal excuse for all manner of human bestiality.

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December 27, 2007   7 Comments

Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men

The birth of the Prince of Peace and the spreading of joy throughout the Christian world:

From the BBC we learn – Unholy dust-up at Nativity church

Members of rival Christian orders have traded blows at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, with four people reported wounded in the fray.

Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests were sweeping up at the church following the Christmas rites of the Western churches earlier in the week.

Reports say some Orthodox faithful encroached on the Armenian section, prompting pitched battles with brooms.

Yes, Sir, there is nothing like Christian fellowship at Christmas time and no shortage of asses in the stable.

December 27, 2007   11 Comments

Stockholm Syndrome

CNN definitely needs to pull Ed Henry off the White House beat as he has completely lost the thread of what he is supposed to be doing as a reporter.

Atrios notes that Ed Henry Can’t Stop Fluffing with a link to Ed’s CNN Political Ticker report on the vital question of the Bush family Christmas presents with this absurd sentence: “It’s hard to imagine a tough guy from Texas shopping for a pocketbook, but President Bush gave his wife a new purse and a silver tray for Christmas, according to an aide to First Lady Laura Bush.”

Why wouldn’t the Connecticut-born scion of a wealthy New England family who was educated at prep schools and universities in Massachusetts and Connecticut buy a purse. A hint, Ed: tough guys don’t wear spandex, and they aren’t afraid of horses.

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December 26, 2007   7 Comments