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Posts from — October 2008

Why Newspapers Are Dying

The Pensacola Beach Blog has the story of further staff reductions at the Pensacola News Journal. You hear all kinds of excuses for why newspapers are dying, many which focus on the effects of the Internet, but this is really suicide caused by corporate management more interested in Wall Street, than Main Street.

What people miss is the fact that the newspapers that are cutting their staffs aren’t losing money, the papers are making a profit, but it isn’t as big a profit as analysts on Wall Street think they should be making.

Of course, the loss of staff means a reduction in reporting, to the point that the local reporting is being replaced by wire service stories. You don’t buy a local newspaper to read wire service stories; you buy to read about what in happening in your area. The AP isn’t going to cover local government budgets or elections. They aren’t going to cover the school board meetings. They don’t care about high school sports. Even with all of the resources of the Internet you need a local paper to find out what is going on in your little town. Every time they reduce the local reporting, they reduce the need to buy a local newspaper. It is a slow and painful way of committing suicide.

October 31, 2008   4 Comments

RIP Louis “Studs” Terkel 1912-2008

A master observer of life in the United States has died at 96.

Check out his Wikipedia entry as a starting point, and then start reading his books if you want to know what it was like in 20th century in the words of the people who lived it. He collected the stories of regular people, oral histories, their stories in their words. Not famous or well-known people, just regular people.

He wasn’t all that interested in the people in high places, because the real history happened to the mass of people, and those were the stories he told.

October 31, 2008   2 Comments

Can These People Count?

The Democrats need at least 10 more seats to get a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.  The “pundits” keep saying 9 based on the supposed 51-49 seat Democratic majority in the Senate, but LIEberman is one of those Senators and anyone who thinks he will vote with Democrats is kidding themselves.

There are 49 Democrats plus Bernie Sanders and LIEberman.  Sanders is a dependable ally, while LIEberman should not be allowed to hold any position of responsibility or trust based on his preformance and statements.

Even with 60 Democrats elected, I wouldn’t expect Harry Reid to be able to come up with a majority for any bill to the left of Ghengis Khan.  I assume that Harry will continue to respect Republican holds on bills while ignoring those of Democratic Senators, as he has done for the last two years.

Nothing much is going to change without a major change in the Congressional leadership, the powers that be intend to maintain the status quo, as always.

October 31, 2008   3 Comments

All Hallowed Evening

Jack o' lanternWhether you celebrate Celtic New Year’s Eve [Samhain], the evening before All Saints Day [Halloween], or the posting of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 [Reformation Day], have a happy one.

Wikipedia does its normally thorough job of covering all of the bases on the holidays that share October 31st.

I’ll include my remembrances of Halloweens past.

These “harvest festivals” aren’t fooling anyone and they are more in the tradition of the “pagan” Samhain, than the “Christian” replacement, Halloween. You should get with the “program” and have the congregation start nailing their complaints about the way things are run to the main door of the sanctuary. 😈

October 31, 2008   Comments Off on All Hallowed Evening

Halloween Cat Blogging

I’m Not Evil

Friday Cat Blogging

It’s only the black cats that are evil… well, and the fluffy white cats who hang around with evil geniuses… OK, so some people are nervous about calicos… I guess Ted means you have to include the tuxedo cats… but no one thinks brown and beige tabbies are evil.

[Editor: Ted is found at Poor Mouth , and he is proud to be listed with evil cats everywhere. Despite appearances Excise is more of a klutz that evil… I mean: is that face evil?  Really?  You think so?

Friday Ark

October 31, 2008   14 Comments

And The Hits Keep Coming

WFTV reports that Dead People Voting Throughout Florida

“This is what makes Supervisors of Elections lose sleep at night,” said Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall.

McFall said it used to be easy to clear out voter rolls.

“We had two people who did nothing but cut obituary notices out of the papers,” she said. “That’s how we found out someone died.”

But 2002’s Help America Vote act, which made it easier to register to vote, also made it more difficult to remove voters from the rolls.

[Read more →]

October 30, 2008   4 Comments

Today’s Computer Problem

So the printer, from which I ask almost nothing, decides to have a conniption while I’m trying to print out pictures of my Mother’s first great granddaughter.

At this point I think I’m just going to buy a new one, because it just too much trouble hunting down ink cartridges for it locally. I’m going to buy something with the cheapest ink cartridges because I don’t do enough printing to keep the ink flowing in the “economy-sized” cartridges, so I end up only getting about half the ink out before they clog and become unusable.

The computer gods have really been on my case this week.

October 30, 2008   16 Comments

What A Surprise

The St. Petersburg Times is running a piece on the effects of provisional ballots on the election process thanks to that other piece of voter suppression passed by the Florida legislature, the “no match, no vote” verification law.

Imagine a law based on the concept that there are no typos in official records. My middle name appears on my birth certificate, military records [once], and my Florida driver’s license. I hadn’t written out my complete name in more years than most of the people reading this have been alive, but I have to sign in with my total name when I vote these days. When I get junk mail I know when someone has gotten my name from the drivers’ license list, because there is my middle name. I have to stop and remember how to spell it, and I am writing it, not signing it, as it is obviously much easier to read than either my first or last name.

[Read more →]

October 30, 2008   2 Comments

This Computer Hates Me

This morning it was my virus software, ESET NOD32, that decided to abandoned me.  The message at boot read: Virus Scanner Initialization Failed.  The icon in the tray came up red instead of the normal green.

I started off cursing Adobe because that is the only software I loaded yesterday, but that wasn’t it.

I then cautiously went on the ‘Net to search for answers while trying to remember which curses were appropriately offensive in Slovak as well as Russian [ESET is a Slovakian company, located in Bratislava].

After reading about various people who had been afflicted with seemingly the same problem, I started to think about it as a programmer.  Why wouldn’t I load a virus scanner at boot up?  Obviously I would abort the program if I couldn’t verify the virus definitions.  You don’t want to use a program designed to spot viruses, if the definitions are corrupted or compromised.

[Read more →]

October 29, 2008   2 Comments

Florida Political News

The Miami Herald had a couple of nice pieces on politics in the state:

First was Charley’s hope to stop all those angry people yelling at him: Florida’s early voting hours are extended

Some said the long lines were due, in part, to the bill signed by Gov. Jeb Bush that not only limited early voting to eight hours a weekday, but limited those sites to libraries, city halls and voting headquarters.

The result has been packed rooms throughout South Florida that in some cases fit only a half dozen voting machines.

Republicans said they pushed the bill after complaints from constituents who voted in places of worship and to keep elections costs in line.

Republicans complaining about voting in church halls? Pull the other one, it has bells on. Everyone knows it was voter suppression, plain and simple. Apparently they forgot that Republicans also vote.

[Read more →]

October 29, 2008   2 Comments

Thanks A Lot

At bloody 10:30PM they issue a Freeze Warning for the area beginning at 1AM and running to 9AM tomorrow morning.  That’s a lot of help.  With a little notification I would have pulled in my Mother’s plants and put a cover over her water garden with a light under it.

Not much I can do this late at night.  I’m certainly not going to wake her up so I can do these things, and I’m not taking a chance on stepping into that pond again.  I’ve done that during the day installing that cover, so it is almost guaranteed that it would happen in the dark.

Another service broken under the Hedgemony.

October 29, 2008   12 Comments

Early Voting Hours Extended

Via the Pensacola Beach Blog, Governor Charley Crist has extended the hours for early voting in Florida with Executive Order 08-217

I order the Supervisors of Elections to open early voting sites from 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. through October 31, 2008 and open early voting sites for a total of twelve (12) hours between 7 a.m. November 1, 2008 and 7 p.m. November 2, 2008.

It is fairly difficult to portray yourself as the party of “the common man” when you restrict early voting locations, and limit the time to the middle of the work day.  This has been a disaster all over the state.

I assume that this is another Reaganesque unfunded mandate, i.e. the counties are going to be required to come up with the money for another expense that wasn’t in their budget.

October 28, 2008   4 Comments

Aha! A Clue

Update: It appears to have been the Adobe Flash plug-in that “broke” as a result of the recent upgrades to either Windows or Firefox.  I had to force Adobe to give me the latest version, as their site said everything was wonderful with the old version I had.

My computer doesn’t like leaving Seeing The Forest.  This is the apparent culprit in the Firefox “deaths”.

Running Windows XP Service Pack 2 with all patches, including the last emergency patch, and Firefox 3.0.3, when I leave “Forest”, Firefox dies.

The site has a lot of feeds running as well as video content, so I don’t know which one might be the culprit, but if someone else with Firefox could verify the problem it would be nice.  It consistently happens from my machine.

While I normally have several tabs open, I tried it with only one, a local links page, and when I close the tab the browser dies.  It is a warm and fuzzy feeling when you finally get a repeatable pattern that you can test.

October 28, 2008   16 Comments

The War Against Sheep Smuggling

The first US attack in Syria was in June of 2003, and the excuse was “rock solid intelligence” that Saddam and his sons were escaping to Syria.

This time it was a senior member of al Qaeda in Iraq cleverly disguised as a few construction workers and a family.

There are no Syrian troops in the area because they don’t want to die protecting sheep smugglers from attacks by the US military, as has happened in the past.

If sealing the border to prevent the Syrians from coming into Iraq to sell sheep at huge profits is so important, why doesn’t the US or Iraqi government seal the border? Trust me, you can seal a border from either side and the US and Iraq have a lot more troops than the Syrians.  Invading a neighboring country and killing people is considered a major “no-no” in international law.

October 27, 2008   19 Comments