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2007 December 31 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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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